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Poster: orchiddoctor Date: Jan 4, 2007 5:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: This may have been done before

I don't know. But I'd be interested in reading about your first Dead show. What made you decide to go (not everyone was a deadhead before their first show), what was it like--sights, sounds, etc., was it as good as you expected, did it change your life . . . .?

Now before someone jumps on old gramps here and says, "yeah, well we all know you saw them before Pig bit off Jerry's finger" (which is on Ebay, btw,--again!!(, please remember that they played for thirty years and if the shows weren't worth going to in the eighties, no one would have gone. It might also be nice to get a sense of just when folks got on the bus. No one is cooler than another for having been here or there or when. It's all good.

I for one have no idea what the shows were like after 1973, save one experience in Philly in 1976 and one in 1980 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. What was the scene?
I have No concept of the stadium tours, the wall of sound, the parking lot scene, the twirlers, the taper's section. Tell it all!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 4, 2007 5:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

My first show was from the car: 1967, parents dropped my brothers at GGate Park, and I heard them from the street on the edge of the park ('this is NO place for small boys, dear').

First real show was 7 yrs later, BUT another failure: October 74 at Winterland and they were sold out--I couldn't get in. Damn.

Then, SNACK at Kezar, which to tell you the truth, was a long brutal day, and not the right venue (70k; all of them puked, fell, punched or stepped on me at one point...I just wanted to lay down and listen).

Finally, Bob Fried Boogie in Jun, 75: JGB, Kingfish, K & D Band, and the Dead. Great night.

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Poster: orchiddoctor Date: Jan 4, 2007 6:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

Parents! Still, must've been an amazing experience to see all the freaks joining together in the park--before anyone bottled it up and sold it in the media. 1975--had to be interesting to see this allegedly retired band sneak out into the sunshine and perform Blues for Allah! Too bad about the puke, though.

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Poster: deadmax Date: Jan 4, 2007 5:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

Don't think your handle's initals haven't been lost on some of us - BTW.

Spring of 1978 smoked my first joint (it was rolled with those strawberry papers - do you remember that?) and he put on OMSN and I loved it.

Luck was, the next semester - Fall of 78 - I was in a Suite with some locals who were FAR into the DEAD and turned me on to all this music and all these PEOPLE! Keep in mind that up until then I listened to - Barry Manilow and actually liked him and found people that liked him. I still do for his show-stopping performances. ;-)

But my first show was 5-04-79 (i think the day is right) and I was completely blown away by the Est/Eyes and the Stella Blue - I cried - literallly - it was all so beautiful and like SDH said it was like I was home - even tho some of the people were pretty damn strange - I felt like I belonged. Kind of like you guys (meaning male and female).

It was life changing for me because of the "feeling like I was home" thing but I also felt different even from these very different people. But I LOVED the scene! the peeps the stuff the - everything.

I couldn't wait to get back!

BTW - I just found out that a friend of my is referred to as the "Blue Girl" because she is the chick that is swaying during Stella Blue of the Grateful Dead Movie. Just an shameless "stab at greatness" in case anyone even has that movie.

Describing my first Dead Show is like describing a fine wine or a complex pipe tobacco - there are too many layers and different descriptions for the same flavor or experience per the individual but they all pretty much add up to the same thing - pleasure for the one enjoying.

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Poster: orchiddoctor Date: Jan 4, 2007 6:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

O.D.--is that your reference? On Duty? Officer of the Day? Odd Duck? Old Dog? Oh Damn?

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Poster: deadmax Date: Jan 4, 2007 7:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

You wish.

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Poster: harold920 Date: Jan 4, 2007 7:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

My first show was in 1982 at the St. Paul Civic Center. I had gotten "on the bus" while in a halfway house in Minneapolis. I tried to get as much of thier music on vinyl ( I still have a hard time not refering to CDs as albums.) I went with a group of friends (two roommates, a friend, my girlfriend and one of my roommate's girlfriend). Myself and two of my friends danced for the whole show. The girls had sat for the entire length of the show. Our seats were on Jerry and Brent's side. There was a moment during the first set when things in our section were quiet. They went into Tennessee Jed. I yelled my approval, and Jerry looked my direction and smiled. To have a personal touch like that made me a Dead Head for sure. There is an audience recording for download: http://www.archive.org/details/gd82-08-06.sonyecm.norman.7288.sbeok.shnf

I hope you all enjoy.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 4, 2007 6:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

Oh yes, I dismember it like it was just yesterday. 16 years old, just bought my first car, a 1968 VW Bug and took off work the whole day Friday, July 27th 1973 to drive down to Watkins Glen for "Summer Jam." Packed the car full of wine, weed and watermelon for provisions and set out towards what would become the worlds largest concert.

By Friday afternoon the roads up to the venue from Seneca Lake were packed but moving along. With the bug we were able to traverse some obastacles that others weren't able to and eventually made our way on to the Grand Prix racetrack area.
Found a place to set up camp and began hunkering down for the evning with a blazing fire, many gallons of cheap wine and hooters by the dozen.

Just around sunset we heard some music and tramped about half a mile toward the stage to witness one of the best soundchecks ever given. Too late for the Band, but saw the Allman Bros. before the Dead took the stage. Two sets later we ambled back to the camp and slept in the dirt for the evening.

Waking up and puking bile the next morning, we were all in need of medical attention. Around noon the temperature reached an abnormally high 90-95 degrees and we were in serious need of food and water...so we left. Missing out on a huge thunderstorm that cut the show, but reveling in the cool waters of Seneca Lake with the jams blasting out of the car.

After that experience, I always gravitated towards a comfortable theater seat and a JGB concert. It was always a little easier on the liver.

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Poster: JodyC Date: Jan 4, 2007 7:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

5/7/77 Boston. Not really a Dead head by any means. Listened to a lot in my brothers VW rigged up with a cassette player. Thought it was cool they played Sampson/Delila cause we sang it at the summer camp we worked at. Took something about 45 minutes from the venue, thus not much else to remember. I did however, see my best friend from grade school who I hadn't seen since I had left that area about 7 yrs earlier. He too had taken prior to the show. That was a big hoot.I hear the next night was a pretty good show too.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Jan 5, 2007 5:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

I was a devoted Beatles/Dylan fan and had been exposed to the Dead's music sporadically upon entering high school in 1981-82. By early '83 the GD section of my music library was comprised of American Beauty, Dead Set, two sides of Europe '72, and a tape of the Capitol Theater show from November '78 (then circulating in my neck of the woods as a vinyl bootleg called For Deadheads Only). I actually knew very little about the scene and Deadheads, but I really enjoyed most of the music, so when the band rolled through Richmond on October 8th 1983, I bought a ticket about three weeks before the show (shows in Richmond and Hampton sold out back in those days, but gradually) and ended up heading downtown on my own, as none of my friends seemed interested.

Anyway, long story short, I had two amazing experiences that night. One was the realization that there was an entire culture associated with this band that was infinitely broader and varied than I'd previously suspected. The second was, of course, the music. In retrospect this show was fairly typical of 1983-84, and it and Greensboro the next night were pretty much just warm-ups to the Garden run that saw the “St.Stephen” breakout, but none of that mattered one spec at the time- that evening I left the Richmond Coliseum swearing I'd just seen the greatest concert in the history of music.


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Poster: SDH2O Date: Jan 4, 2007 5:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

Well, the Asshole Club was still in its infancy when I began my trip. In 1984 I left home for school in Pennsylvania, not knowing what awaited me there. During the course of the first year I was taken in by a friendly group of Heads who lived on the same floor. I was introduced to the music and the atmosphere by these kind people, but I never got to a show that first year. Forward to the summer of 1985, my friends at home had similar experiences while they were away as well and we knew we had to catch at least one show that summer. We scored some tics to the show at SPAC, packed up my station wagon and hit the road. My first impression upon reaching the parking lot was the incredible amount of people milling about, talking with one another, selling items, looking for spare tickets, admiring custom vans, generally smelling very bad, you know, the usual. I immediately felt at home, like I was at a huge family reunion and all these people were related to me in some way. I can honestly say that I don't remember that much about the show itself, but the memories of the overall scene have stayed with me and are sharp and clear to this day. I noticed the group of what are referred to as Poser Heads (who were there because it was the cool thing to do and taking as many drugs as mommys and daddys money could buy was a status symbol) and got a bad vibe from them right off the bat. I was overjoyed to find myself striking up deep conversations with total strangers, laughing and sharing whatever we each had. When I left that venue after the show, I knew that I had found something I would treasure the rest of my life, the power of the music itself would not really GRAB me until the Fall of 85, but the love of the Dead family was already there and it was a smooth transition to have the music grow to equal importance - an integral but equal part of the overall experience. That feeling is what keeps me coming back here, the feeling of family.

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Poster: BlueMtnMan Date: Jan 4, 2007 7:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

It was the spring of '71 Duke University. They were having an all day or all weekend fesitival at the football stadium. Saw NRPS, Paul Butterfield, maybe some others. I had been into the Dead the previous three years or so, but was in no way prepared for experiencing the Dead live. Totally blown away, not that I wasn't 3/4 the way there to begin with. That was the weekend I moved from fan to head status.

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Poster: bigbossdan Date: Jan 4, 2007 6:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

SPAC in 85 was my first show as well. I grew up in the Albany area and had seen one other SPAC concert (Yes) before the Dead came to town. I was just finishing 11th grade that year, but at that tender young age I could tell the difference between the two crowds. There were twice, perhaps three times as many people, and it was an all day affair, instead of everyone showing up an hour or two before the show. At the time I had been listening to tapes of shows for about a year, and remember being excited about Bertha, Stagger Lee, FLOS and Truckin... Didn't recognize gems like Supplication Jam. I remember the crew next to us kept passing this pipe carved from an antler, and we laughed as Phil chided the dude for hanging off the balcony. Little did I know that Jerry's admonishment during that scene would be one of the few times he would address the crowd other than with his smile, guitar and lyrics in the 26 shows I saw after that date.
I wish that I had follwed up this first with a second at Hershey the next night if for nothing else but the monster DEW that was played that night. I'm still burning that cassette up in my car.

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Poster: orchiddoctor Date: Jan 4, 2007 6:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

That's what it's all about!

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 5, 2007 3:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

I've told aspects of this story, but it's one of my favorites of all of them in the attics of my life, so . . . Getting ready to turn 15. Hungry to experience marquee worthy live rock-n-roll. Bill Graham had been running the Day on the Green series at Oakland Coliseum. Big lineups with the biggest names of the day, like The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Frampton, The Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, pretty much the core of what has since been lumped into the whole genre of mainstream classic rock. Graham had thought about what he would coordinate if he had the chance to put a show together with whom he considered to be the very best live acts in rock. And that was how the two Days on the Green on Saturday October 9th and Sunday October 10th, 1976, with The Who and The Grateful Dead came about. Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday present, and I told her I wanted tickets to one of them. She complied. I knew The Who pretty well. Tommy was one of my favorite albums, and I fantasized about being a pinball wizard myself. However, I was almost completely unaware of what The Grateful Dead were. To a large degree, I had heard of them, and that was about it. Dad begrudgingly drove me and my friend Dan to Oakland that overcast Sunday morning. Showtime was 11 AM, and the gates were opening at 9:00. I clearly remember how grouchy Dad was, and we were pretty silent during the 20-25 minute drive from Pleasanton. We got to the parking lot where hundreds of hippies were in line, armed with blankets, ready to stake their claims of real estate on the same land that the A's and the Raiders called home. I can barely imagine what he was thinking as he dropped us off, but he left us there against what was surely his better judgment and drove away. The gates opened, and like a pack of thoroughbreds at Louisville, people charged into the stadium. We took a spot that was right about in the center. As years have gone by, that is actually a regret I have about that day, because it would have really served us better to have sat in the bleachers somewhere so we would have positioned ourselves to actually watch the band at work. Being young and fully uninitiated in the experience of being at a concert, I lacked the stamina to be able to stand for the three hours of a Grateful Dead show and see what they did. Perhaps it was for the best, though, because what I did take in that day was almost exclusively auditory in nature with virtually nothing else to augment what it did to my psyche. That is, nothing else besides the little chemically enhanced sugar cubes we bought from a girl in the stands. Which reminds me: I did have some prior knowledge of The Grateful Dead because of reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe about a year previously, therefoe it seemd plainly appropriate to dose, something that was also a new experience for me. Beyond the music, other memories of the Grateful Dead concert that day are murky. You have to remember, too, that after a full Dead show, there was also The Who, and they were still pretty much in their heyday. Keith Moon died before he got old, so to speak, and he was flaying away upstage center, with Townshend doing his trademark scissorleaps in the air, spinning his strumming hand, arm fully extended, while Daltrey alternated between almost ceaseless 360 degree wide diameter marches around the forefront of their setup and lassoing his mike cord when he wasn't singing. Entwistle, of course, was motionless. But I do have a somewhat faint memory of the enormous pastel colored scrim that outlined the stage. Stage right (the left side of the image that the audience saw) was a foggy San Francisco scene with the fog transforming into clouds over the stage, reaching over to stage left where the clouds morphed back into fog again, only on that side it was London. During the opening band's show there was a phone booth on stage, and that was replaced with one of those red wooden English booths for the closng act's set. Beyond that, the only other thing that sticks in my mind was a stroll we took through one of the lower concourses while the acid was starting to hit us pretty intensely, where we encountered someone on stilts who was dressed as Uncle Sam with whom I felt strangely compelled to shake hands. I, of course, had never heard U.S. Blues, but looking back years later, it made sense, even though at the time I couldn't say why I had the need to grip his palm. For a long time after that day, I was of the belief that The Grateful Dead were undoubtedly the most influential band in all of rock-n-roll. I could hear a little bit of what I had heard them doing in what I heard any other band doing. It finally dawned on me, though, that really the opposite was most likely: they had, in fact, incorporated so many different styles into what thay did, that their sound was really a hybrid of whatever they had been able to drink in during all their formative years of listening and playing. What I did know for sure was that the music they played that day just sounded so . . . right. It was just perfect. Loud and crystal clear without a hint of harshness, even during the long intervals when it threatened to embark into territories of sheer madness. But for the most part, the jams sounded like the music that had already been playing in my own head for years, if that makes any sense. And while I didn't actually know any of their songs, it was as if there was already a familiarity about them to me. Maybe I had actually heard Mama Tried in my childhood. My Dad did listen to country music when I was little, so it's not entirely unlikely that it had played on the radio during one of those jouneys in the car that he used to take us on. But when they played El Paso, that really threw me for a loop because that was a song I actually did know, and it really was a country and western standard. A rock-n-roll band playing El Paso of all songs, one of those wonderful ballads from my childhood, only their version was so much more fully realized, with Garcia's Spanish-tinged leads, and the vocal harmonies so powerful and dramatic, the tale of a cowboy on the lam after committing murder in the name of his true love-this was great musical theatre of the mind and the journey that day was hardly begun. Another vaguely familiar song from the glory days of AM radio came along a while later: "Dancin'---dancin', dancin' in the streets . . . Dancin'---dancin', dancin' in the streets . . . " This was truly amazing. So simple, so primitive, but oh so sweet. And then they embarked on the first really long instrumental exploration of the show. We went down unpredictable pathways with the music taking on a jazz fusion kind of feel that seemed to carry on with perpetual motion. Eventually it slowed to a dirge as the band segued into another song. Years later, when I heard the line "I know she's been, I'm sure she's been true to me," I had that same feeling of familiarity which I had felt through that first show while I really came to know Wharf Rat, and when I finally got a copy of the show a quarter century later I learned that it was, indeed, the song they played out of the Dancin' jam. But out of Wharf Rat, the band picked up the tempo again. Another direction unknown, another sestination unforeseen. They took us along with them, and we followed fearlessly, until . . . "Dancin'---dancin', dancin' in the streets . . . Dancin'---dancin', dancin' in the streets . . . Dancin'---dancin', dancin' in the streets . . . " Vocals faded as Bob said over the music, "We're gonna take a short break." Although when I received Europe '72 for Christmas that year and "brown-eyed women and red grenadine" sounded like it might have been part of the second set that day, which I eventually learned it was, the one line through the whole show that stuck with me above all else was "If the thunder don't getcha, then the lightnin' will!" I had no idea what it meant, and I was really none too sure of what they actually said, but when they played The Wheel, that really sealed it for me. I became a Dead Head at that point, even though I didn't even know at that point that there was such a thing. Later listening edified me as to the wonders of nature that were Stella Blue and Sugar Magnolia, which also entered my ears for the first time that day. Encore time: they made a final impression on me, as they said on the Last Days of the Fillmore album by showing me "what it's all about," Johnny B. Goode-style. A hard act to follow, but The Who earned their pay, too. Two concerts for the price of one, essentially. By the time Mom and Dad got over to pick us up at the end of the day, the acid had long since peaked, and we were very much sane enough to handle the ride home with my parents. Even my Dad's continued sour demeanor couldn't possibly kill my afterglow buzz, either. That night, I ran a hot bath, and soaked with this strange, colorful, wonderful, endless music playing continually in the ears of my memory and my forever altered mind. http://www.archive.org/details/gd76-10-10.hollwein.vernon.11670.sbeok.shnf
This post was modified by BryanE on 2007-01-05 11:26:16

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Poster: cosmicharlie Date: Jan 5, 2007 4:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

Hey now, that sunday was my first show also, I lived in Livermore most of my life and worked every summer in P-town at the Alameda Co Fair since 1972 thru 2006 so far. I may know you, I went to that show to see the Who. Went with Keith Golden & his sister. Did you go to Amador High?
Anyway, I was very burnt out from a night of partying and went to the show hung over, don't remember much of the show but remembered marveling over the hippy scene there and wandering around the green. I have that show on CD and I do remember Dancin in the streets and the glut of people dancing off the stage area. I went thru the whole show straight-did'nt realise the medicinal effects of pot on a hangover. The music did mellow me out though. I was @ 28 at the time and worked at the Round Table in Livermore.
Do you remember the Richard Nixon figure on a pole with his arms streached out in a victory/peace sign? It was a taper ruse, there were hidden mics in each of tricky Dicks hands as I found out later. I did have a great time though I've forgotten alot about that day

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 5, 2007 7:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

Cosmic Charlie- Do tell! Ain't that a kick in the head? I went to Amador freshman and sophomore years and was a sophomore at the time of the show in question. I was in drama club and was part of the marching band, the celebrated Amador Golden Dons. In other words, I was pretty much a total geek. I had a few different carny jobs at the fair and usually got myself hired as part of the clean-up crew after the place shut down at night, an unenviable task, but it would put a few bucks in my pocket to keep me occupied during the summer. I think I remember the Round Table. We went to the movies sometimes in Livermore, saw The Sting over there, but not much else. In fact, a lot of my spare time goofing off was spent hanging with some friends who worked at the movie theatre in P-town at the Safeway strip mall. Late nights after play rehearsal and such were spent eating french fries and drinking cherry-lime rickeys at the Carnation restaurant out by the interstate or drinking coffee at HoJo's. I haven't been in the area for more than 27 years, so I don't know if any of that stuff is even still standing. I don't recall seeing Nixon or a facsimile thereof at the show. As I said, I really went for The Who, myself, and walked away otherwise converted. But weren't The Who a force to be reckoned with? My goodness, what a band! I surmise from the fact that you're posting here, though, that whatever effect the Dead had on you that day certainly made you want to come back for more. I still think that even though I hadn't a clue as to what was going on that it was one of their best I ever saw, Well, heard, as I also said in my blog. Is/was Keith Golden any relation to Liz and Gina Golden?
This post was modified by BryanE on 2007-01-05 15:39:57

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Poster: cosmicharlie Date: Jan 5, 2007 10:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

Bryan..
I believe the Golden's lived off of Promenade Way/Trenton Circle which was directly north of where Stanley Blvd does a right turn into Pleasanton. Hmmm...Liz....she would have been in her early 20's, I think Keith was a couple years out of high school. Yeah, in 76 I was an all night bldg attendent in the Young California Bldg,

then in 1977 thru 1999-10pm to 10am shift(12hrs!) here >>
I was the guy who watched over an outside area called the (International)Village-it was directly west of the Flowers & Gardens area. I'd let carnies and the clean-up crew mellow out there, it had old terraced Ivy around the perimeter. Lot of vendor stands there.
Was your supervisor named Ken Pinto? (a short-fat jerk)
I remember a tall older carnie named "cowboy"
Well, I don't want to bore others here, but those were cool times!

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 7, 2007 2:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

The Liz I knew was about a year older than I and I was in high school at the time, so I don't think we're talking about the same person. I don't remember the names of any of those crew people or carnies or really any of the exhibits, either, but the fair was definitely the place to be way back then. I'm sure it still is.

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Poster: cosmicharlie Date: Jan 7, 2007 3:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

well, if you were on the night clean-up crew anytime from 1977 on, chances are i saw you pushing a broom. Some called my area the Mexican Village, I got stoned with lot's of you'z then. (i was NOT Security Eye Patrol though) lot's of cool shows came thru the summer fair, the last being Tea Leaf Green in 2006
This post was modified by cosmicharlie on 2007-01-07 23:07:20

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 7, 2007 7:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

'77 was the last summer I worked. If you can remember any Anglo guys in their mid-teens w/one of them possibly even wearing a Skull & Roses shirt sweeping up the trash overnights, then guess who! We'd have to hang around the Cook Shack to pick up our pay, then we'd straggle out of the fairgrounds, sleep through the day, show back up at 11-11:30 the next night and do it again. Sometimes the mescaline was around to keep us going until daylight. What a life. Mexican Village rings a faint bell in the recesses of my memory.

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Poster: orchiddoctor Date: Jan 5, 2007 6:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

1967 was such a pivotal year socially in this country. Viet Nam was just flaring up, issues such as civil rights were making headlines, and the music that we teenagers listened to was undergoing a major upheaval. 67 was an important year for psychedelic music, with releases from The Doors (The Doors, Strange Days), Jefferson Airplane (Surrealistic Pillow), the Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (and Zappa's parody, We're Only In It For The Money), Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Cream's Disraeli Gears, The Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request and The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced?. In the midst of all of these better known lps popped up a relatively obscure disc entitled simply "Grateful Dead." Simply--it was also endowed with strange hieroglyphics which allegedly said all sorts of intense things.

Here I was on the east coast, 15 years old, straight, middle class, listening to the Beatles, the Stones, Simon and Garfunkle, Dylan--the usual. But I had this strange friend in high school, someone who was very much in touch with the west coast scene. As all these "psychedelic" lps materialized in the basement of Sam Goody's, hidden from decent people, John would lead us to the rack and thrust in our hands the latest disc of West Coast madness. "Surrealistic Pillow," "Are you Experienced"--all of these were opening new doors of perception, taking us away from our middle class roots into a world that we could only imagine--a world of hippies and dope and freedom.

One hot June night--June 10, 1967, a day that shall live infamy--a few of us decided to grow balls and head down to MacDougal Street and find out what this was all about. Our friend had scored tickets to this Grateful Dead bunch (or maybe we just paid at the door), and we were going there no matter what the consequences. Mind you, this was 1967, and weed was not as pervasive as it would be a year later. Still, our guide had a few j's. We choked On the first one, and slow smoked the second as we boldly marched west along Bleeker street, checking out the hippies and beats. The magical herb was kicking in as we hit the corner of MacDougal and Bleeker and turned right towards our destination, the Caf? Au Go-Go.
Now, if you never went there, it was New York's answer to the Matrix, a tiny subterranian which Phil describes in his book. The stage was only about 50 feet from the back wall, and it held only around 70 people, so this was going to be loud and crowded. To enter the Caf? (which was under the Garrick Theater where Frank Zappa and the Mothers held court as the house band), one had to descend a flight if stairs. The walls were saturated with a Jackson Pollack-like swirl of dotted day-glo paints and the smell of incense climbed up the stairs seeking air as we went down to suffocate.

After a while, these really grungy looking guys who had been hanging out in the audience made their way to the stage. This guy who seemed to be their leader--the Captain Trips from the lp cover-- quipped with the audience and they launched into Cold Rain and Snow. I remember this from the lp--it was my favorite tune at the time. Marijuana filled the room (where was that pesky fire marshal anyway?) and everyone was dancing up a storm. Then this skinny teenager sang a song, and then this rather obese, greasy creature who had been playing the organ stepped up to belt out a tune. We knew that this was the Pig Pen (somehow the article preceded his name then), and he did his version of Schoolgirl--seemed to last a long time, which was fine with me. Other songs were played, including the long one from the lp which I didn't care for (it clocked in at well over 2 minutes 55). When they lit into Viola Lee Blues, however, everything changed. Everything. Maybe it was the dope, maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the dancers, maybe it was the entire universe opening up and giving us a glimpse into its mysteries--I don't know, but suddenly, everything changed. Forever. It was, as they would call it, a tribal stomp, a jam that went faster and faster until we all fell down, band and audience, in unison with the great orgasmic release at the end.

They took a break; we all wandered out onto the street--band included--and everyone talked freely about what had just happened. You could hear Garcia's delighted cackle above everyone else's voice. I recall taking with Piggers for about all of five seconds and all he said was thank you.
Back down we went for a second show, like staying on a roller coaster for a second go round. They didn't disappoint. In fact they took up where they left off, Garcia playing long leads on several blues numbers until, finally, it was Pig's turn to testify. They did Midnight Hour for what seemed like forever, Pig Pen lifting us back up every time we seemed to lag. Finally, after learning all about love Pig style from the Reverend Ron himself, we let the band go and headed out into the late New York night know that our lives had changed forever.

After that, I practically lived in the Village(it was only a twenty minute subway ride away), seeing and hearing everything and everyone I could, especially the Dead whenever their circus was in town. It's all gone now, layer upon layer of subsequent cultural upheavals replacing the old until nothing was left but photographs, memories, and, thank God, tapes.

Reply [edit]

Poster: cush11 Date: Jan 4, 2007 9:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This may have been done before

I stand on the 5th amendment! I truly don't remember, but I've been doing it ever since... I grew up in SoCal, the first date, and I'd have to lookit up that I could pin down would be the big Festival at the orange County Fairgrounds in '68. I had heard a few before that though... Where? When? Any witnesses???