- maryeJoined:An excellent suggestion from Hal R., picking up on a thread in another topic: how did you get on the bus? What was that moment that left no room for doubt? Probably no two stories are the same, but they're all probably pretty interesting, so tell all here!
- rschneider1974Joined:On the Bus
My first show was on March 10, 1981 at Madison Square Garden. My father knew someone at Sports Illustrated and he got me maybe 4 tickets in their club box which was high over the blue line on the left side of the stage. Maybe 4 of us drove up from NC and wandered into the box where there was beer in the fridge, a bathroom, couches, and bar seats at the opening into the air of MSG. This was before the days when they put plexiglass between you and the air. It was a bizarre introduction but it sure was comfortable.
We were all thoroughly dosed by the time the lights went out and the Dead shambled onto the stage, a far cry from other concerts I’d been to where the entrance of the band was full of fanfare. They opened with Mississippi Half-Step which, within 5 minutes, exploded something through the speakers, startling everyone, especially the band as they stopped and took a second to re-group, and then entered into a groove that I still remember as one of the most enticing and relaxing things I’d ever heard. I learned later that we’d entered what I consider the beauty of the Dead within the first song.
Somewhere in the first set, an adult and his two college-age kids came in. I ignored them until the intermission when I got the fear that they knew my father and my condition was not reportable. But he became much more concerned about his sons who couldn’t understand how all of us seemed so messed up but without even touching the fridge full of beer. They proceeded to try to get on board and by the end of the night were puking in the bathroom. We paid no mind. There was so much amazing music enveloping us.
I can still hear the songs. “It Must Have Been the Roses,” “Scarlet/Fire,” and “China Doll” are particularly vivid sight and auditory memories, what I call “lean-in music.” I was leaning in so far that I overheard the man ask one of my friends if I was going to be alright because I was leaning so far into the space of the Garden, trying to absorb every note.
I recall the drums taking us down and down and down into a hellish fire of red and orange lights. I wasn’t sure we would make it out.
The double encore began with “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” which I listened to many years later and found to be horrendous, but at the time I was far too preoccupied with the giant black swirls of material flying through and filling the air. And the bats. I was amazed and a bit concerned, but “Brokedown Palace” relieved every concern and left me wanting nothing more than to see the next show.
Of course I still had to get home and that involved heading into some nearby bar with my friends and becoming certain that the floor was flooded with several feet of water and why wasn’t anyone more concerned?? And then having to wait for a bus in Grand Central and having the driver threaten to kick me off if I blew the bird-water-whistle I’d been playing with. Eventually I got to Providence and decided I couldn’t deal with the wait or the bus anymore and so I got off and hitched the rest of the way to Cape Cod where I tried in vain to tell anyone who would listen how different and amazing the show was. To no avail. But I was on the bus. Hundreds more shows, but that one was something.
- ChillaxinJoined:What REALLY got me on the bus?
Probably Dave Lemieux.
- dmcvtJoined:their first album
Early 1967, high school buddy Charlie and I heard about the first Human Be In and decided we should host one for our high school peers... the music video we saw of that growing scene included Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver and Country Joe. Acid had not been made illegal yet but being 14 years old, we had no clue, just wild, observing the emergence of SF counterculture from our east coast suburbia. Jerry had been given the nickname Captain Trips. When the first psychedelic albums appeared that spring into summer, we devoured Surrealistic Pillow, The Dead, then Sargent Pepper's and Are You Experienced. The Dead's album stood out, as it still does today, prototypical, iconic. Never missed picking up asap everything else, still have original vinyl. Was fortunate to have a number of friends into music as much as I was, constantly refreshing what was coming out, the latest records. First real concert as previously noted, my father had to drive us down to the Washington Hilton March 1968 to see Jimi Hendrix and Soft Machine.
- nappyragsJoined:Elysian Park September '67...
I got the first LP from my Pop...he worked at a record wholesaler and label salesmen would come by and drop off boxes of promo LP's with the corners notched...Instantly grabbed by Viola Lee & Good Morning Little Schoolgirl...still too young (according to my Mom) to go out at night for a gig (I was 16)...so mid September (the weekend before my Senior year in high school began) one of the neighborhood kids ran over to my house to tell me that the Dead and Jefferson Airplane were doing a free park gig in Elysian Park...we convinced various parents to let us go and one of my friend's Mom dropped us off...we had her drop us off about a block away from where the concert would be happening, we didn't her freakin' on the freaks....Pig killed it...Grace was an Earth Mother Goddess...And Away We Go! My last shows would've been the December '94 run at the LA Sports Arena...what a dump...
- ForensicdocelevenJoined:Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.....
Got on the bus June 26, 1974. Never got off......................
Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age......
Revelation and the nature of truth must be viewed in reference to the structure of language.......
- 1stshow70878Joined:Red Rocks '78
Guy across the hall freshman year 1975 at Colo. State was from Cali and wise in the ways of The Dead. Bought some albums, heard some tapes but didn't have the bus come by until 7-8-78. A legendary show and not something you can just dip your toe into. Enraptured by Jerry of course but the sheer power of the band and the sound in that setting was transformative. Only got to eleven shows and missed some key opportunities. Found taping in the early '90s thanks to David Gans GD Hour show on radio which really added fuel to the fire. Thanks Deadnet for keeping it alive.
- gratefulgregor14Joined:On the Bus
My first show was 6/17/75 at Winterland. Thought the Blues for Allah was a bit spacey, but by the time Sugar Magnolia came around I rose outta my seat , started moving my feet, and clapping my hands. 11 shows later I had Thee Profound Revalation again at Winterland on 10/21 78. With more fun than a frog in a blender, I realized during Ramble On Rose that This Song, It Ain't Never Gonna End. I was a Deadhead for Life, and proud of it . Gonna see DeadCo in June, and Wolf Brothers in Feb. Looking forward to both.
- WeidrichJoined:What got me on the bus was a…
What got me on the bus was a friend didnt have the ten bucks for the ticket he promised he would pay for so I was asked if I wanted to go and buy his ticket with ride to the show and back - I said naw , I like van halen and led zeppelin , they said it will be a party if nothing else, I was 8 days from 17 and thought why not its ten bucks - it was an afternoon show and the forecast was rain, it poured all morning - but it cleared right before showtime and the parking lot was allright and the show was hot best ever for me 7-2-87 up tempo, and tight - unfortunately it won't go down as a special show because high humidity and rain the recordings are only so good - the best version is on youtube as a local tv station filmed first 4 songs - there was a step back there was a phil zone with signs and chanting jerry even addressed the phil zone and broke the fourth wall , and a mexicali hat dance warm up by jerry that show if you use archive .org try the unmixed version the crowd is louder and the crowd played the band all that pent up emotion wondering if the thunderstorms would pass in time it was real bad that day before the show rain thunder lightning whew the hydroplanning on the thruway - I was deadicated that day
- OroborousJoined:Twas a Dark and Stormy Night....
....not really, actually it was a process, but that sounds better, lol.
Knew of the Dead a little like most kids in the late seventies, but not very well. I was really into Hendrix and Zeppelin, and had already been exposed to The Beatles. They were the first Band that we really got to know. Frampton Comes Alive was the first album I ever bought, but by late Jr, High I was way into Zepplin and more so Hendrix. Meanwhile, my best friend John’s sister was dating this Guitar player Dave Homel who played in a Dead band. He started indoctrinating John and I, probably late 77, feeding us bootlegs and sitting us down for “sessions”. About that time Terrapin cane out and we heard that, and that was so weird and different I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I remember playing some of that song for my folks cause they were into classical, and they really liked it. I was still more into Hendrix/Zepplin, but the Dead were becoming more important as the months went by and we listened to more tapes and albums.
At school there were only literally a few actual Dead Heads, but I was getting to know them at parties etc, and because they were different and didn’t care what others thought etc, so that misfit/outcast thing resonated with me big time, these folks were pretty cool! So all this socialization combined with increased listening got me where my top three were Jimi, Zep and now the Dead, but the lightning bolt hadn’t hit yet.
In those days we’d go to almost any concert we could, Rock and roll at least....so I’d seen many shows but the Dead hadn’t come around locally to Buffalo yet, and my parents wouldn’t let us go to Rochester yet “all that way for a concert?”, so I didn’t get to see them right away even though I was really itching to finally see what all the fuss was about. Then three things happened, the first being I started to learn guitar and Dave was showing me some Dead tunes, so I started to see how different the Dead was in a really musical way. The second thing was the first lightning bolt.
I was at John’s one Beautiful sunny April day in 1978 and we were listening to Skull Fuck, and all of a sudden Johnny B Goode just hit me! It was a favorite that I knew because everyone played it, and of course Jimi crushed it. I’d heard this version before, but for what ever reason that day it just blew me away. I made John keep playing it over and over. So now I really had the Jones, “I’ve git to see this band”, but alas, still no local shows,
Finally, one day after pops picked me up from Skiing I just barely heard something on the radio about the Grateful Dead and turned it up just in time to hear something about them coming to Buffalo? So immediately after we get home I call John and because of Dave he’d heard about the upcoming show at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre of all places and filled me in. Everything was word of mouth back then, there were no cell phones or internet, and the Dead were truly “underground” as they used to say.
So I was supposed to get a ticket via Dave but they couldn’t get me one because they had to get tix for literally like a whole row of folks, all in the balcony, so I was crushed. But as would become a repeating X factor of serendipity in years to come, I managed to score a third row ticket from a guy at school. Tickets were probably less than five bucks but he wanted twenty because it was third row at Sheas etc which I gladly paid. Not sure how many driveways I had to shovel but no way was I not going! It’s funny decades later the guy who sold me the ticket was still apologizing for scalping the ticket as he became a “full” card caring Deadhead himself. Of course the show was worth every penny, but the added bonus of busting his balls and joking about it all the decades later were worth every cent!
So finally on 1/20/1979 I fully was on the bus, and 41 years later I consider it one of the greatest days of my life! Seeing them live was like turning on the proverbial light bulb, like “oh, now I get it!” Great show too, Dark Star and TOO, a little Serengeti like drums. I remember they played a lot of songs that were on Steal Your Face that I knew well by then. That and Skull Fuck were huge influences. Oh, and typical Dave, “hey buddy, you want to sit up here with John and everybody, I’ll take your ticket and you can sit up here?”.......yeah, thanks Dave but I don’t think so, I think I’m just fine in the third row, lol!
I still like Zepplin a lot, and will always dig Jimi, though perhaps not as much, but no one will ever come close to the Dead for me. Was fortunate to see 109 Dead shows and dozens of solo shows over seventeen years before Jerry passed, and still go when it’s convenient all these years later, but nothing will ever compare to that first one! Nothing!
Thanks to the boys for all those wonderful years/experiences etc, all of it incomparable!! Truly a band beyond description! And thanks to Dave and that whole gang for teaching us, and thanks to Chuck for that $20 ticket! It all rolls into one, and melts into a dream” and what a dream it’s been!
- Born Cross Eye…Joined:Truckin'!
In early 1971 I was listening to my new discovery, FM radio. Most radio stations were just so-so, not really interesting, "adult-type" of so-called easy listening. AM radio on the FM. Then I tuned in to a distant one just above (or right of) 92.1 it was at 93.3 and the calls were (and still are) WMMR Philadelphia. I wasn't too sure what I was listening to, but I thought it was another Steppenwolf song, I liked the organ but the whole song was a slower tempo and I liked it, then the announcer came on and said "... Truckin' by the Grateful Dead from their new album American Beauty."
Backing up a bit, back to 1969 and Woodstock, I read about the event in Life magazine and enjoyed the photos and read the list of bands who were there. Some I heard of, others I did not hear of (yet). The Grateful Dead were listed. The name stuck in my memory. What sorta music did they play?
When the triple album was released in 1970, I didn't have the money to buy this cool thing. The Grateful Dead were not on this album. I heard about the movie, but the GD were not in it.
A little bit later, I heard a shorter version of Truckin' on my local top-40 AM station. The sell.
I went to the record department at my brand new local department store and I saw the big American Beauty album and the price tag was too high - $3.98, then I went over to the 45 singles rack and found Truckin' backed with a song called Ripple on the B side. 49 cents - the buy!
Not too long after that, I bought American Beauty with earnings from my new newspaper delivery route job. Later on, I bought Workingman's Dead.
My 1st rock concert and my 1st Grateful Dead concert was June 10, 1973. But that's a whole other story.
Looming above the Grateful Dead in favorite bands at the time were The Beatles and The Who - they were more important to my interests at the time.