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  • Oroborous
    Joined:
    Set and setting

    Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to articulate.
    That the environment that we and the band were now forced to live in was perhaps the biggest factor in the diminishing returns etc.
    I don’t think they liked it any more than we did, but what were they going to do, other take a break like they should have…
    And of course that environment was created to attempt to deal with the over extended masses. And yeah, overall the people weren’t generally as bad as I may portray, but bad actors and behavior were increasingly evident, and often more heinous, and especially in specific places or types of places etc.

    Daverock, Im guessing in your unusual situation:
    1- yes, probably not your usual run of the mill DHs like some of us here.
    Fanatics with the ways and means perhaps. Ya know, the more invested in something, the more folks will get worked up. For some perhaps combined into a lifetime European vacation.
    I know DL saw some of those 90 shows, as I think he was studying there? I forget…
    2- extra hype and excitement as they hadn’t been to Europe recently
    3- I believe Kesey and co were there and even brought Futhur 2
    4- the return of DS, Attics etc inserted a huge hit of adrenaline to the scene in general, so guessing over there also.
    5- the popularity explosion via TOG/ITD must have had an effect over there too
    6- concerts and crowds in general had changed by then
    7- perspective: you weren’t that experienced in live GD madness etc (that’s not a criticism! I mean how would you be…) and the saying “there is nothing like a GD concert” worked on many levels. So unlike us, who almost took for granted usually hitting as many shows as we reasonably could on spring, summer, and fall tours (say between 5-15 a year average) it must have been a very unusual and eye opening experience, especially compared to 81!

    But of course as first show says, much of this is perspective dependent fo sho!
    Like many of our more aaa “mature” heads here, they got turned off in the 80s because of the environment changes etc.
    if your normal perspective was the Fillmore, even a small hockey rink might become unenjoyable, especially with reserved seating and so many people, comparatively.But If all you’ve ever known is Giants stadium, and never freaked freely in Maine, or Cali, Hampton, or any of the many sweet, smaller, outta the way places they used to be able to play, well your perspective might not think things so bad?
    To me no more GA was the biggest negative factor that effected our show enjoyment. Sure a stadium is never gonna give you the same vibe, but if you were able to hang out where you wanted, which as sound freaks was usually the SB, it made a big positive difference.

    So the slow but steady population growth, later exasperated by the tsunami after 87, which also attracted too many civilian non heads just about for the bollocks, which led to having to play big crappy venues in crappy places, and no wonder folks used to a completely different experience in every way, gave up…

  • daverock
    Joined:
    Sense of place

    Another factor in crowd behaviour may be related to where the show took place. The shows I saw were in London, so U.S. Deadheads had to travel some considerable distance to be there. This must have made it impossible for many who followed the band to attend. I have never read a message on the board from anyone in the U.S. who went to Wembley in 1990. What distinguished those who travelled from those who didn't ? Lack of responsibilities? More money? Youth...
    I don't know if this relevant, but young Brits abroad used to have a terrible reputation for behaving less responsibly abroad than they did at home, simply because they were on holiday. They were renowned for over doing it in Amsterdam in the 90's where some of them flocked for the ready availability of dope. A few hours after arriving, many of them would be incapacitated!

    So...in a nutshell, the shows I saw cannot be regarded as typical simply because they took place in England.

  • mkav
    Joined:
    ORO

    I saw the GD and offshoots when I could from 1975 until, well, today. I was never what you'd call "hardcore" in that I never went on the road, but was, and am, a very avid fan. I guess I'm a little clueless since, other than the sheer size of the crowd and therefore venues, I never really noticed the deterioration in the "quality" of the fanbase that I've read so much about.
    Well, until 1995. I was in Maryland Heights, Mo. for the show after the Noblesville fiasco. The fans in the lot were pissed. The band was pissed based on the letter they circulated, nd their general demeanor.
    The 7/6/95 show was lackluster (great setlist, though)...partly due to Jerry's health, but I'm also sure due to the band's state of mind.
    I appreciate the perspective of those were more intimately involved with the entire scene than I was, over time. Thanks for posting.

  • 1stshow70878
    Joined:
    Oro

    Nice essay Pedro!
    It is about perspective I suppose.
    I had so few shows compared to everyone here but that timeline felt the same. Luckily I had nice venues so the ugliness just wasn't that noticeable. That said I knew I was done after my '94 show and even had the weird feeling that either Jerry or I wouldn't be around much longer. Somehow I'm still here, lol.
    Cheers

  • Oroborous
    Joined:
    Like sands through the hourglass…

    Saw a few shows between Jan 79 and at the last one, 29 years ago tonight!
    Not sure I remember as much free stuff early on, more so over the years for sure.
    Same with the folks that Daverock described.
    Basically no hangers early on, but by the end the ratio was phuched, with too many posers and way too many people who came just to party, (or worse, bye/sell bad drugs,) wether for only Shakedown street or the show itself.
    All I can say is I’m glad there were no phones yet…these folks were clueless enough! And I try not to be prejudiced, but I will always unfortunately have an aversion to extremely unwashed dudes wearing nothing but a skirt…

    And I’m not singling out touchers either, as there were always plenty of nice new young people coming along who were really into the music and wanted to learn the ways and means from us veteran heads etc,
    No, these folks I speak of were not heads!
    I have younger cousins who came up then who saw hundreds of shows and ended up working in and around the organization that are nothing like the clueless hordes that overtook us.
    Unfortunately, the sudden popularity brought a literal explosion of too many and the wrong kind, to an all ready fragile environment that could in no way sustain itself. It saddens me all these years later to think back to it while it was happening, experientially. The thing you loved more than anything, slowly dying right in front of you and not much you could do.

    You could feel it building slowly through the eighties, probably similar to how my “generation” of heads noticeably grew and thus felt to originals during the late seventies success, but it hadn’t gotten too bad yet.
    85 was perhaps the peak of how big it could get and still be fun etc.
    And boy was it fun ; )
    I don’t recall it in 90 as much as Daverock describes—probably perspective, and after 87 which became so unbearable I skipped fall tour (that and the venues they now played because of the population explosion)—so maybe after 87, we were just desensitized and 90 didn’t seem so bad? I’m also positive the venues I was at in 90 helped a little.
    But then you could still have some choices…
    Luckily, I recall things did settle back somewhat, though never like when I started, or before I’m sure, and by the end it seemed completely ruined.
    Too many people, most of whom didn’t know or give too shits for us, our culture, our host places, (or even the music )we so lovingly tried to keep alive all those years.
    Popularity, this kiss of death, like that Eagles song, the last resort “call something paradise and kiss it goodbye”

    All these years later I’ve had a long time to reflect on it, and get better acquainted with the music of later era (91-95) shows. What I’ve found is, it wasn’t so much the music that turned me off near the end, it was the set and setting etc. I grumbled then because I wasn’t seeing what I wanted to see, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just perspective…
    No, I now think where and how I experienced the Dead then had much more to do with my dwindling enthusiasm at the end.

    And I’m not talking about being electric, I mean in any psychoactive state or not, having to go to big, expensive cities with all they are, instead of kind small and/or awesome outta the way places like Maine, Roanoke, the Rocks or all the sweet little places: Greek, Frost etc Even Hampton BITD…
    Yeah, big, horrible venues in big horrible expensive cities, with uptight cops, overrun by selfish clueless rude wannabes, and worst of all, shitty sound!
    Although the dead’s legendary crew always did a damn fine job with what/where they were forced to work, let’s face it, sitting up on the side of a giant stadium hearing only half of an overly stereo mix if your an Audiofile tech is torture!
    We went to try to experience the MUSIC the best way we could, wether in the front row, or in front of the soundboard. Later, when GA unfortunately was not allowed, or only existent on the floor of huge stadiums, we’d just hope we could find a spot directly back but in the middle to try to get the best stereo sound we could under the circumstances, and hope some non DH regular civilian type concert goer didn’t show up half way through the first set and want “their” seats…
    Yep, I’ve loved the Dead probably more than is healthy lol, but getting in your thirties, and becoming a returning poor college student, having only horrible big crowded places to go to, it’s no wonder I wasn’t able to better grasp and enjoy the new music.
    Now, all these years removed, in the comfort of home etc, most of those negatively influential conditions and their memories are gone or smoothed over as age will do, and I’ve been able to finally get to know and really enjoy much of the later music. Im not suggesting that things weren’t changing musically too, just that I haven’t found things to be as dire as everyone seems to just off hand suggest.I blame that on the internet…
    But Add the setting changes, to the human practice of comparing now to “the glory days” and it’s perhaps too easy to just write it all off as undesirable.
    Im mean even if things hadn’t gotten so outta hand later on, it was never going to be the same for me as the early years in the front row, or say in 85 hanging out at the SB, just like that probably wouldn’t have felt the same to someone who experienced the music and scene ten years prior to me.
    As awesome as say front row Rochester in 1980 was, I’m sure it was nothing like hanging at the Fillmore west etc.
    So comparative experiences and personal change will always be an influential factor, but upon much further review, I’ve found the unfortunate changes popularity fostered a much bigger negative factor than just the music.
    I’ve said before, I’ll say it again, they should have taken another hiatus after Brent died! Or, if not then, after JG had the second health scare in 92.
    Sigh…
    Well, at least it was a Hellava run while it lasted!
    Singing, thank you, for a real good time!

  • Graceful_Dead
    Joined:
    Thanks DAVEROCK and question

    Your description of crowd behavior in days gone by is very interesting. I had a big gap in my show attendance, from later ‘70s to FTW 2015.

    I’m intrigued now by what seems more and more prevalent behavior:
    people walking around passing out stickers and other trinkets at no charge.

    How common was this in the 90’s?
    It may not have really gotten going until graphics arts software became widely available.

  • daverock
    Joined:
    1981 and 1990

    MKAV- they were great shows to be at, those in 1990, but I did sense a kind of disconnect, if that's the right word, between the people in the audience and those on the stage. The Deadheads at that time were quite domineering. Quite significant, perhaps, that the British press at the time spent as much time reviewing the band's following as they did the band itself. In a sense, the Deadheads, if that's what they were, became more of a media event than the band itself, and to some extent served as a misleading distraction. The behaviour of the crowd seemed incongruous with the music being played.
    We had to leave half way through the second night as my girlfriend couldn't stand it. It wasn't the music she objected to, it was the people in the audience pushing and shoving.

    It was very different at the two shows I saw in 1981, at The Rainbow in London. There was still plenty of dancing and high times of course, but it felt as though it was more in response to the music. In 1990 the music was more like a background to a party. In 1981 it was the party.

    Very subjective, all this of course! The first night at Wembley, 10/31/90 I was right at the front in the stalls, so there was less people between me and the band. Amazing watching Jerry so close, singing Black Peter. That couldn't have had the same impact if you were up in the balcony, where, if the following two nights were anything to go by, people could have been singing along. That first night was great - my favourite of the three.

  • mkav
    Joined:
    @DAVEROCK

    Sounds like you caught some good shows with some kind fans. Always talking, singing , dancing at Dead shows.
    I started going to Dead shows in 1975 (Legion of Mary)...I was probably median-aged at the show. Still attending, and I'm STILL median aged. It's amazing and wonderful how the various iterations continue to attract "youngsters" just hearing them, and to "oldsters" who still are hooked.
    I hope they won't fade away. In say, 10 years or less, there will be no original members left, but I'll bet the music will never stop.

    By the way: they were most definitely listening to AND feeling it.

  • mkav
    Joined:
    Sphere

    I'm counting on your being right about this. Going for one show: 8/9/24. Can't wait!

  • RoadTripper
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    Joined:
    Sphere

    go to the Sphere and you wont regret it. easy to say because we live in Nevada. it is worth whatever price you pay.

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The bus came by. We got on. That's how it all began. Almost as soon as the Fare Thee Well shows were announced, folks started planning to meet in Chicago. They met. They connected. Things were never the same. And now, further! Or maybe Furthur.
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infinity and beyond indeed.... Positive thoughts and energy for the Sarge.... is it pie time yet?
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Hey now brother. See you're first on the new bus. Much nicer than the old one. Thanks for putting the coffee on. Sarge is sleeping in the back, opiates can take their toll especially when mixed with them bones. Thanks for asking btw. I'm certain the tribe will find us, we are everywhere. Thanks to geoalwaysthesentimentalonemeister for the new bus name. We have to honor the past and prepare for the future....you have taught me a tremendous amount George, thank you. marye, thank you on behalf of the rabble for giving us space and the freedom to be the freaks we are, thanks for the new bus as well. You are always welcome here. Sarge, don't bogart that bone my friend, pass it to Boo Boo.... Hey Boo Boo some pie please.... Hey Jerry we still miss you.... Hey JeffSmith....Onward? We still need a driver, I retired after FTW, Sarge is rehabbing and Miami is MIA.... Love is real Not Fade Away....mmmm bop bop .... bop bop
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Did somebody say new dus???? Hey Sarge, gimmie the keys and we'll take this baby out for a spin...you packed extra bones right? Hang on tight boys and girls as da wheels on ba dus go round and round... Hope All the Daydreamers are enjoying the summertime... Love to you ALL!
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that's what I'm talking about... welcome home Miami glad to have you (wo)manning the wheel. Keep on truckin' mama....
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Can't believe it's been over two years since Sunshine Daydreamers started hopping on this bus! What a long strange trip it's been! Onward indeed! LikeToHike's got my vote for new bus driver. Look forward to more white-knuckled, free-wheeling, cryptic, sleight-of-hands bus trips through the cosmos. (I know I've already said) ONWARD!
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LiketoHike behind the wheel, Oat Jeff directing us onward, and rrrrgggrrr keeping us sane, whoo hooo I'll take a slice of that blueberry peach, a la mode please
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Watcha talking 'bout Willis... One thing is for sure liketohike will keep us safe.... Hey Boo Boo this pie is making Sarge pie eyed.....is that normal?
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9 years 4 months
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that's not the pie, its the autumn haze, the pie makes him drool
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9 years 1 month
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funny...Sour Diesel is what ba dus runs on...imagine that
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9 years 5 months
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can run wild with the aforementioned gas...inspiration an be found anywhere. Good to see Daydreamers here and there, welcome to the Sunshiner's new lair; May all who stop to shake hands and sing, Hear the music, the ripples that ring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-voI8q4j87U&feature=youtu.be Happy Birthday Terrapin, and welcome aboard one and all.
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13 years 4 months
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To coin a phrase. When my nephew was recounting his adventures in the pit at Wrigley (a month ago already?), he was talking about the time between Scarlet and Fire. Lacking better terminology, he said, “We were in the caret”, as in the > symbol used in setlists. I know all of you have been “in the caret” at some point.
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10 years 1 month
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Perfect! Well said nephew of Graceful_Dead. Oh, to be in the caret! Onward. . .
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13 years 4 months
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It soothes my soul to see so many old faces....ummmm make that avatars back here. This forum has been invaluable in offering me smiles, laughs and some much needed support over the past two years...Have a great weekend, I'm going back to the >, it is indeed a sweet spot.....kinda like the Philzone...
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9 years 1 month
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Hey Now Daydreamers dis dus is rockin' and rollin' down the road...quickly approaching August...you know what that means.... The Days Between! We miss Jerry on this Bus, yes we do... Who's going to Meet up at the Movies....raise your hands/paws... Have a great weekend all...enjoy the last days of July.
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I know... Meet up at the movies is on my radar, funny thing it's on August 1, 2017....funny coincidence? Ohhhhh I get it, it's to celebrate mkav's wife's birthday, boy that is sooooo thoughtful of them.... HEY MRS. MKAV HAPPY BIRTHDAY! from the dog and me..... the Days Between, I can feel some songs coming on the horizon.... the wheels on this bus sure do go round in circles indeed!
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9 years 5 months
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Liketohike, Liketobrivebadus, and liketosmile, We be celebrating the past, honoring the present and anticipating the future, as all of it makes up the magic carpet we find ourselves on. So many ways to communicate, so many ways to share, so many ways to smile. Good to see you and you and you on board...pets, parts, and participles, the rising sun being blue, the sky a vivid yellow, ba dus crammed with laughter and song...and donuts, always those pesky donuts and coffee too. Got a spot for all...we miss Jerry but remember his smile. Destinations unknown by some, imagined by others, and a planned by those whose wheel stopped revolving long enough to score tickets. All share in the journey, all welcome aboard. Know that these wheels slow down for caret crossings, stop on a diner's dime, and have been known to circle back as needed. Price of admission is a hoot and a holler, or a flashing peace sign and smile. So pay at the door, pay it forward, put it on the tab, it don't matter a bit. Your seat is reserved always and forever. Allllll aboarrrrrddddd!!!
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9 years 4 months
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Was a good show on a fine tour but, outside on the road the police were on the hunt for heads, fortunately I left late in my '70 VW camper, but we saw so many folks pulled over it was sick, it was one of two years in a row they pulled that crap, so bad the Dead's newsletter that came with mail order tickets warned of the situation. We are headed to the show, hopefully no presence after....... Happy Birthday wishes to Ms. Mkav and also to a certain retired Dus Briver......
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13 years 4 months
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So at the Burgettstown show this June, whatever lot we parked in, the local 5-0 had drug sniffing Rin Tin Tins, we were tailgating and minding our own business, this Narc comes by with Lassie who starts sniffing me n my buddies. Well all we had was in the closed car, they proceeded to the hippies to our left, a sweet lady and her friends. Said dog sniffed her, whimpered, cop asks her to empty her pockets, she pulls out a lighter, bones and a bag of herbage. He grabs her, cuffs her and takes her away. Ain't that a fucking shame. Hey Boo Boo, thanks for remembering! 7-12-89 was indeed a great show.... Hey Sarge, no more Vicodin!
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Thanks to your heads up regarding the situation at Burgettstown we avoided the heat, but they sure did have a strong presence cuffed and dragged away for a few bones, WTF and all the real criminals are wearing white shirts and suit coats.... and we can't forget birthday wishes and thoughts for the one we miss........ Dereck and the Dominos released on vinyl today and Jerry's Reflections as well
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Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs on vinyl? I'm on that like white on rice..... it's my favorite album of all time, if I had only one to bring to a desert island, that's my pick....
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9 years 4 months
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Music Direct gets the first allotment from Mobile Fidelity, so the earlier presses and ships a day or two before anyone else, I pre-ordered and it shipped today, Happy Friday, oh yes!
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15 years 6 months
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Made the leap over to our new home!! Have a good weekend Folks! It's about 108 down here...no worries!
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17 years
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mrs mkav (who is Mary, so maybe she is THE mkav?) says thank you to all the birthday well-wishers, and back atcha Rich.
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9 years 5 months
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Is this where I get on?
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9 years 1 month
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It certainly is...dis dus stops on a dime...as Geo has pointed out, and it's known to circle back to pick up those we may have missed. Climb aboard and take a seat...Hey Sarge...pass the bone to Kurt Dawg...and keep em comin'. Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we're so glad you could attend...come inside, come inside...
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Happy 75th brother.... nothing left to do but smile, Smile, SMILE!!!!!! :-)
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16 years 3 months
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Hey Now Marye - we took the plunge today. It's nearly sold out too, in less than 1/2 a day. Only unanswered question is the show dates (three shows over four days). Doesn't matter...we're stoked for 6 days and 5 nights of intimate Dead, on-the-beach. Should be pretty cool. Any SD'ers bringing their flip-flops?
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9 years 4 months
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Did any body go the movie last night? Our local theatre needs a sound system update, ceiling speakers don't cut it.
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13 years 4 months
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Tell them to get some KEFs.... or better yet, Bose :-)
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9 years 4 months
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yes, bose,with a stereo input......
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10 years 1 month
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All the best to those of you gravitating toward Morrison to help celebrate Jerry's 74th! Gonna be a high time at Red Rocks tonight! Onward!
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13 years 4 months
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Jerrys 75th my man ONWARD! :-)
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10 years 1 month
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Still miss Jerry!
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13 years 4 months
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I know (said disaffectedly David Gans style)
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15 years 6 months
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Just listened to the Jerry birthday show on Sirius this afternoon...AMAZING!!! Just my .02!! :-)
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13 years 4 months
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I am putting finishing touches on a presentation about the Dead phenomenon, and realized I have never seen an estimate of the number of Dead Heads that exist. Has anyone seen anyone try to SWAG this?
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17 years
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interesting question...what do you define as deadhead? i know plenty of people who like the dead, have more than a passing knowledge of the dead's work, and may have even been to a few shows, but probably would not consider themselves "deadheads". Would you, for this purpose?
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I feel ya, mkav. Maybe its like a weighted FTE measure to account for people who are Dead-curious. The alternative, strict, way to go is to say, you are a Head when you are ready to declare that as an identity. And thanks Rich for, well, you know, being ... rrrgrr But the simple questions is, does an estimate exist? it should be a census category. But I now believe we're now off the endangered list.
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13 years 4 months
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Very round, unsupported number in that article on the UNC prof.I guess we will have to develop our own methodology.
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Valid point Tom. How about this... will anyone who is a deadhead please raise your hand.... now all you have to do is count them.