October 11, 1983
last "St. Stephen": 01-10-79  - "Sugar Magnolia" tease before "Touch"
Set List:Wang Dang Doodle
Me and My Uncle
Hell in a Bucket
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
I Need a Miracle
Touch of Grey
Johnny B. Goode
Attendees of this show
Chapter one; Vivid memories or euphoric recall - You decide. hoppin' the bus, droppin' the paper, the bud bombers (16 ouncers), the fuckin' deadheads. Got the tickets and hopped on a jersey bus to get to the show. The deadheads had arrived and that sleazy element that I loved about the city was replaced by something else - not better, not worse, just different. I was with my boys and one of them didn't have a ticket so he scalped a 10th row seat on Jerry's side, much better than mine. He wanted to stay with the gang but shit was startin' to melt for me and I wanted to be up front when the whole mother liquefied. We swapped paper and I was flyin' solo on a NYC night.
Chapter two: I don't recollect walkin' in to the garden but I vaguely remember amblin' down the aisle. I strode past row in a very natural, unassuming stoned daze that went unnoticed by all includin' myself until I struck a crowd of freaks called the front row where I remained for the duration of the party.
I pulled one of the three bud bombers I had out from the very loose pants I wore to the show and pulled out a tommy joint (Tommy was a legendary jersey dealer known for his fat joints he'd sell for a buck). It was juggling act drinkin' the bomber, passin' the joints and pipes around, and deflecting the purple lizards and red spiders flying around me. I gazed in a circular motion about 10 feet in diameter and thought, "what a great fuckin' opening act".
Chapter three: Please forgive me for those who worship the holy dead but I don't remember them walkin' out on stage. I am really not a bad person. I do recall being so close to Jerry that I saw his missing finger - Christ it looked good when your mind's full of blotter. When they broke into Jack Straw I had a moment of clarity. Women and wine weren't being shared but beer and weed were plentiful in our little front row family. There were moments of shadows, moments of light and my foggy brain was serving blurred memories. St. Stephen was the pinnacle - clear as a bell and remembered like it was yesterday. I did not follow deadhead jargon or history and had no idea the last time it had been played. I just liked the music and man, what a great fuckin' song, tripping, drunk, stoned, sraight or lyin' dead in a grave - what a great fuckin' song. After St. Stephen my world wasn't as muddy and I remembered who and what was being played.
Unfortunately when the music disappeared, so did my mind. I walked out in a stoned daze like a sheep in a herd of cattle and blindly picked my way to port authority. Funny thing, I walked past port authority the same way I walked past the 10th row at the Garden. My mind finally told me I shouldn't be here and better get out of dodge - being from jersey this is beat into your subconscious even deeper than the acid that was tryin' to make me push ahead. Miraculously I made it back to the bus and met up with the boys. There was one other thing I remember later that night - packing a bowl full of mushrooms and smokin' it in a bong in a jersey park. What a fuckin' night - put that in the Grateful Dead archives and smoke it.
We all wanted to hear this song so bad...it was like our birthright...they kept teasing us with snippets all summer...so extreme was our desire that a friend even ran up to Jerry as he was getting out of his helipcopter at Poplar Creek with a note: please play St. Stephen. We were in the hall, and everyone started screaming at the top of their lungs, so loud I couldn't hear the music at all for about 10 seconds (though maybe it's hard to hear when you're screaming your head off). All that pent up energy coming out all at once. I read another post somewhere that said the band actually looked scared...yeah, Baby!!!
Absolute bedlam and/or pandemonium as the first chords of St. Stephen were absolutely drowned out by the most raucous crowd. IT was an evening of unadulterated joy. 30000 people having a simultaneous orgasm.
What a night. Joy abounded.
we were in the basement of Wolfgang's listening to it on the phone, since some kind soul had called from MSG with the aforementioned notes.
There was this dude outside the garden singing"i need a dime for a ticket to see the dead"I gave him 5 bucks cause it was so original. I saw him after the show..he was speechless.he got in and saw the history and mystery of the grateful dead at msg.....one of the best shows...EVER!!!!!
I recall buying a ticket outside for $10. Jerry had a amplifier blowout in the first set and Weir stated "Jerry's amp just barked it's little heart out" They had to replace something in the amp, so there was a long pause between songs.
I was so hot from dancing that I cut my jeans into shorts during the break.
I have never, to this day, witnessed such an eruption of joy during a show as I did when they played the first notes of Stephen. The only other time that came close was when Phil broke out Box of Rain at Hampton.
After the show, I ran to a pay phone in Penn Station (no cell phones back then) and called my buddy Mark in New Hampshire to tell him about what had happened. He was in New York for the 2nd night which was also a great show.
One of the beautiful things about the Dead was there ability to bring so many different types of people together. It wasn't just the freaks. People from all cultures, religions, professions were together experiencing something.
You didn't have to be a Deadhead. You just had to open your mind and love music.
I recall the Philly Spectrum '86 shows as an example. I was on the floor when they broke into Half-Step. I was next to a few dudes that were obviously not on tour and not Deadheads. They looked like they worked out every day, jock-types... short hair, tight shirts etc...
These guys were so totally into the music. They and I were so different and here we were, rockin' to the Dead !
The Band had a way of bringing people together like that, it was beautiful.
Not sure if you remember this dave but as we drove into the city in your jeep we were screaming at people on the streets tonights the SAINT STEPHEN... After knowing the sound checked while in Greensboro.I actually thought we would get it in greensboro.History knows we did not but riding around NYC screamming at strangers as if they even cared. Tonight we get the Stephen. Sure enough.
I remember it mainly because it was the first time I actually drove in NYC. I recall driving through Times Square with a bunch of heads in the Jeep and I remember you were with us John.
I love NYC and I love the Garden. So many great memories.