It was December of 1990, and my buddy called me and said - "Hey Flip, you want to catch the Dead at the Oakland Colosseum for New Year's Eve?" I said - "Tim, you're nuts. Nobody gets tickets to that show at this late date without paying scalpers." He said - "Are you sitting down?"
Well, we flew out to California and checked in at the 85 year old Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. We were given two fat envelopes that contained full laminate passes for the 12/30 and 12/31 shows and a notice that the band had paid our hotel bill in advance. How do this "deal go down?"
Tim and were both in the ski industry, and we were there to sign a contract to use the official Grateful Dead graphics on K2 skis and snowboards. We got to the venue mid-afternoon, wandered around the stage looking at the gear, and met with Kidd, Phil's tech and the person in charge of merch. We signed the deal, ate dinner with the crew, and then walked out to hear the show. Babatunde Olatungi and Bela Fleck were the opening acts.
I like the 12/30 show better than the 12/31, but it was such a treat to be able to feel like we were part of the inner circle for two days. The skis and snowboards were produced, and are now collector's items. This was one of the high points in my twenty-three years of Dead concerts - from Cleveland in October of 1972 (right after the Europe tour, and damn they were hot) to the my final sad show at Highgate in 1995 where I said to a friend as we walked back to our car: "One of these days Jerry's body is going to give out on him."
I play in a GD cover band, keeping the legacy going, and while there were many shows that I remember well, those two nights in Oakland will always be special.
Hampton 89 Dark Star return!!!!!! I was transported to another time and place... I still think about it frequently..
My first show was at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, just outside NYC. It was my sophomore year at The University of New Hampshire and my buddy Peter and I drove down in a lil' Volkswagen Fox for an overnight stay and an incredible concert outdoors. It was quite an experience and I wish I could go back to do a few things different. I would have bought a few more t-shirts in the parking lot and experienced the scene a little more. The show seemed to last forever in a good way - we were on the 20-yard line and the stage was in the end zone. Not bad.
I had 4 older brothers and a sister who were all heads, never was I going to be a head, I was 20 feet from Jerry & Melvin for the whole show, blew my mind, the vegetables did not hurt. Soon come my first Dead show and the rest as they say was History. She takes the dark out of the night time and you know she paints the daytime black.........
That roller rink is a liquor store on rt 347 now. My first show was 9-18-87. So good I went back 137 times
I wrote a chapter on it for my book. Hope you can check it out
1st show was Jerry, on the evening news, talking about how the planets were going to align. I think I was seven or eight. Something about that name Grateful Dead caught my attention, not the news, as playing outside was more important at the time. I though Jerry was kind of a cosmic person. It's been unfolding like a road map melting into a dream with a waterfall over my back ever since that broadcast of that small T.V. on the back of the Mars Hotel Album.
The first musical show was in 91. I noticed an opening at one of the gates at the Coliseum as the gaurd had to attend to some person tripping out. So, like a lead goose I grabbed a bunch of people to my right and left and in a V formation lead us up the stairs to an opening into the venue. I expected to see a bunch of people in the stands. Instead there were deadheads with mile long streamers running on the track. While the field was filled with dancing and daisy chains of people passing glass and all sorts of things around to see into the future. This was cooler than the 84 Olympics.
We were the only people in the stands! Last Row. To the point where I thought the boys were pointing to us at the back row.... nah it couldn't be, as it was just "One More Saturday Night" for everybody. Well Thank God for the for the 15 or twenty minutes of an unexpected venture into the cosmos. It was a fun night.
My first show was 10-1-76 at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Several shows during this wonderful timeframe have been released, but I believe 10-1-76 merits its own release. Another show worthy of Dave's Picks consideration is the last night of a 3-night run at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago shortly before In the Dark was released (sorry I can't give you the date-I'm at work). They played a good part of the album that night, plus a Bo Diddly beat permeated the show, earning it the nickname "The Bo Diddly Show". It was awesome!
For me somehow form and formlessness became SEAMLESS at Hampton Roads 1984. During Playing in the Band. Tho altogether 84 was not a great year. The Other One at KC 85 was just a raw power moment. Being right in the orchestra pit didn't hurt the cause.
Summer Jam at Watkins Glen. 12 hour ride from Rhode Island in a breaking down 65 Ford on acid. Closing down the NY State Thruway both ways. The overrun town with all the cool citizens. The Dead set on Friday night. The magic amphibious bus. The wells for water. The resultant mud from the wells. Watching the dancers in the mud. An unfortunate parachutist. Trading a pack of Marlboro's for 10 Black Beauty's. Beautiful people. Did I mention the Frog acid? The Band and the Allman Brothers. Those were the days......
I had been to a few shows and listened to more than a handful of tapes, but when a local radio station (in Richmond VA) announced that a band called "Formerly the Warlocks" would be at the Hampton Coliseum (not much over an hour from Richmond) for 2 nights next month, I hesitated but finally decided to get tickets. The first night (10/8/89) was far and away the best concert that I had ever attended in my life (and I was 37 YO at the time). The second night was better. I was on the bus to stay from then on, regretting that it had taken me so long to reserve a seat.
Dead & Dylan at the Metro Dome in Minneapolis,
Drove up with a few friends, wreaked my car before the show, hitched a ride back to Alpine. Sat in the back of a 69 ford pickup with 8 other people & a cat and couldn't have been a better introduction to the Dead, music and livelihood. I been chasing the music and everything Dead related since. Was at Jerry's wake at the Polo field, and still live in the same frame of mind as being lucky enough to walk into the Hardrock Hotel, Riviera Mayan, while on vacation with my wife and see the Further performance without even knowing that they were in town. (La Bamba)The magic has been amazing and I'm excited to see what happens next. So many stories about the the band, my life and how no matter where I am we are always ready for the music.
April, 1978. Milwaukee. 4th Row. Schroomin'. $0.25 Pabst Blue Ribbon; $0.75 Heineken. The band was tight, the night was right and we all got what we came for. Oh what a night!
Just ordered your book. Excited to check it out!!!
My first live Dead show, and it was FREE! It took place literally across the street from my best friend Bob's house. We had just finished our senior year at Temple's Tyler School of Art, but had not had our graduation ceremony yet. The day of the concert we walked over to check it out. We didn't have tickets; they were really expensive for the time: $6.50, and they were not being sold at the gate. So, while we checking out the scene, who turns up but the maintainence men from Tyler School of Art to unclog the Temple Stadium toilets. Since they knew us, we ask them if they can get us in, and they hand us each a toilet plunger and they lead us in. There were several groups: Hendrix, The Dead, Steve Miller Band, Cactus, and I think maybe Country Joe and the Fish. The three piece Steve Miller Band was great, The Dead played a one hour set with abbreviated versions of Casey Jones, Mama Tried, Hard to Handle, China/Rider, New Speedway Boogie, New Minglewood Blues, and ended with a standout Turn on Your Lovelight with Pigpen. As the day went on, it turned gray and started to rain. Philly's fascist police chief at the time, Frank Rizzo, hated "hippies" and had an 11PM curfew in effect. Hendrix was about an hour late coming on stage, and we were all worried that they would shut down the show before he could play. He eventually got on and played a full set. So, I guess I owe The Dead $6.50 plus interest?
My first show was October 11th, 1983 at Madison Square Garden. I was 12 years old and supposed to go with my friend and his older brother, but at the last minute their mom decided they couldn't go due to misconceptions of the band (mostly the name I imagine). Instead I went with my mom and uncle. I loved it and despite my musical tastes taking lots of twists and turns over the years, I've remained a huge Dead fan ever since.
My first was 11-8-79, followed by 5-4-80, followed by THIS ONE. I was a freshman at Syracuse University and was supposed to be at Freshman Orientation, but I blew that off and hitchhiked alone to Rochester without a ticket. The one and only Brad Simmons picked me up in a U-Haul truck with all his furniture in the back. He was a Junior and was supposed to move into his apartment that day, but that could wait. It was a hot day; I remember cold beer.
We drove to the show as fast as the limiter on the engine would allow: a sedate yet maddening 50 mph. When we got to the show and pulled into the parking lot, I remember a few cops watching us drive in and following us to where we parked. They must have been thinking "Everyone else is hiding it in their socks, but these guys had to rent a U-Haul?!" After a quick look at Brad's futon, couch and laundry, we were released.
I got a ticket, went in, and immediately lost Brad. No worries. I gave myself up to the moment and just wandered, danced and experienced a spectacular show: monster versions of Sugaree and China>Rider, Estimated > Terrapin > Playing > Jam > Drums > Space > Iko > Dew > Sugar Magnolia and an Alabama encore. I remember being about 30 feet in front of Jerry when he dropped into Morning Dew. Everyone, all packed ass to elbow, lost it.
During the drive back to Syracuse in the U-Haul, I asked Brad "All they always that good?" His response was immediate and sure: "No!" And this was from a guy who had caught the entire first half of the East Coast '77 tour, but took a much-needed break on 5-8-77, even though he had a ticket. Ouch!
wow!!! wish I had been there
my first was dec 26th 1969. got acoustic Jer and Bob, acoustic Dead and then a smokin" electric set. from Monkey and the Engineer to Lovelight with lots in between. didn't realize how lucky I was at the time. wish I could see that show again! luckily I can listen and relivve it in my mind.
Most memorable concert. Celebrated my 22 birthday with friends from SUNY at Albany. Eighth row center.....great show!!!
First Show: Barton Hall @ Cornell University Ithaca NY 5.8.77. Yup--FIRST show. Didn't really dig the Dead until then. Was knee deep in Zappa, Yes, ELP etc, but always open to new music. Went to school with a bunch of Heads who had already been to 100 shows, and if you "don't have two copies of every Dead album then you don't have a record collection." So went with them and opened up a whole new world. Especially when they were saying, "I can't believe they're playing this--oh they rarely play that!
Awesome psychemusic experience made me a fan for life!
Watkins Glen was a great 3 band concert experience indeed. However, the Dead started the show in the early afternoon which just didn't seem normal nor proper. The set was shorter than other shows because "The Band" and " The Allman Brothers" needed their time. What seems to have circulated most widely is the recording of the soundcheck. At that time the boys were loose and having fun as compared to the actual afternoon concert.
Still have my ticket stub from '73 although my Summer Jam T-shirt long ago fell apart into the rag heap. So it goes.
It was a beautiful early summer’s eve, it was the delightful outdoors setting of the Hollywood Bowl, and it was the Dead, a band I’d grown to love through the recordings, but as everyone knew, it was playing live where they shone.
And it was the end of high school for me, forever.
The concert was fabulous, though the windowpane might have been an influence. We were back from the main stage a fair distance, a couple of tiers from the floor level. The Dead played many of their classics, they wound up the crowd, pulled them in, pushed them away, pulled them back at higher volume.
Except for my brother, who didn’t drop acid (since he was driving, thank the stars), we were all soaring, particularly one of my friends, who was swaying so much to the music I thought he was sure to fall over the small wall he was standing on, dividing us from a lower level.
One of the great contrasts in that concert was that I was in ecstasy over the music, yet rabid over some security goons who punched a couple of people from our level who’d dropped over the wall to get closer to the scene. The goons were apparently college football players who’d been hired for security and they popped a few people pretty good directly below us, and those confrontations happened a few times. So, when we weren’t flying to the music, we were yelling at the security to back off.
Those guys had armbands that said “Peace Power,” but peaceful it wasn’t.
The concert marked the last performance of Pigpen before his early death. He didn’t sing at all, and just played some listless notes, never going into the big blues persona he carried so well. Thus began the curse of prematurely dead Dead keyboard players over the succeeding years.
We, however, lived, and returned to my friend's house, where his parents were gone for the night. We had bought an entire case of Peanut Butter Cups, one of my favorite candies, and we ate them all. Sweet.
Sat Nov 18, 1978 Uptown Theater Chicago
A great friend and I heard the GD were coming to town. We were just 16 and way out in the burbs. But we plotted and planned. We went the first night on Thur the 16th. It was kind of strange and fun. But it peaked our interest. So we independently decided to go again. And on the weekend we called each other and blammo we got into my ‘68 square back VW and headed into the city. My friend had scored 4 hits of some green dragon. We ate it as we drove. It kicked in as we pulled into the parking lot. And right away a head there had some Mr Natural tabs. I got two more just in case. We got out onto the street ticketless. Started asking for tix. Another head was selling hits in line and got busted by undercover cops right in front of us! What a freak out! We were having a hard time finding tix. It was getting dark out and cold! We were really feeling the green dragons. Then all of a sudden this disco Dan type guy in line with his dancing debutant date got out of line. He had two tix from radio station WXRT and sold us those 7th row center seats. We were “Jerry saves” kids now. We got inside. My buddy went to the bathroom. He Bought two Rising Phoenix tabs just in case while in there. I mean the Uptown was 1940’s shiek adorned out with the coolest accents and red velvet walls. Then we saw a good friend alone with balcony seats. Told him we can get him down to 7th row. We did. We waited an eternity for the band to come out. They did. Holy shmit. That first set put us on a serious edge. Or was it the extra hits we ate? Either way four hits in our mouths. And the set break nearly broke us. But we persevered. And they played scarlet/fire. They played a late ‘78 miracle. And that other one into a meltdown was way crazy. It was for sure the moment in Scarlet/fire that I was telepathically communicating with Jerry. I mean he was comforting me and sending me into a psychedelic spiral. They did a Olin Arrenge Jam out of drums that I was not even aware of. Not for decades did I learn that.
Yah, that show was it. If the GD were within 500 miles of me I saw them. Didn’t care what was going on. Sometimes I’d get bored and a friend would say hay, the Dead are playing in Philly or Berkeley and I’d find myself in a car or a plane heading to a show sans tix and no longer bored. And yes, on the plane I’d meet heads that had extras, why? Who cares that’s the way it went on the road to find out the next show. For certain a trip to the Greek theater in berzerkeley 1982 had a playing/uncle John’s into drums that was one of the best things I’d ever heard the band play.
Oh, outside the Uptown a homeless woman was sitting on the curb. 9 months pregnant with a sign on saying anybody want a baby with an arrow pointing at her tummy. With my suburban life I was like completely shocked. What kind of a band attracts people like that? It just added to the pageantry of wonders surrounding the Grateful Dead. But, it was the area. Not the band. She was not in a good way at all. It was a challenge after the show trying to drive home. But we did. And it helped me have the confidence in life to get through the strange. 101 GD shows under my belt. More various band member related shows. Donna to Jerry Bob Bill and more. The bus just keeps moving further. Happy trails campers. And avoid the opiates kids!
Free concert Central Park Bandshell, May 1970. No rhyme or reason . Just was, for the obvious.
Best time I've ever had. Met all the right people. Showed up as a kid on tour, left as family.
Providence June 26, 1974
First show was Boston Music Hall December 1 1973, but we were relatively clueless and I didn't get it yet. At Providence, it finally kicked in. THAT'S the night I got on the bus. First life changing Grateful Dead experience.....
Second was Augusta October 12, 1984. Minds boggled and restored our faith in the Dead, for ten years after that we were chasing Augusta..............