"I had my first rock and roll experience at a performance of The Grateful Dead in Oakland (in 1986, he was 82 years old).... Rock music had always seemed a bore to me, but I can tell you, at that concert, I found eight thousand people standing in mild rapture for five hours while these boys let loose everything on the stage. The place was just a mansion of dance. And I thought, "Holy God! Everyone has just lost themselves in everybody else here!" The principal theme of my talk was the wonderful innocence and the marvel of life when it recognizes itself in harmony with all the others. Everyone is somehow or other at one with everybody else. And my final theme was that this is the world's only of answer to the atom bomb. The atom bomb is based on differentiation: I-and-not-that-guy-over-there. Divisiveness is socially based. It has nothing to do with nature at all. It is a contrivance and here, suddenly, it fell apart."
The summer I attended my first of over 75 Dead shows, in '74 I also had my first experience with the writings of Joseph Campbell, with his "The Hero With A Thousand Faces." A few years ago I read the above quote from Campbell, and it rang in words as true as it had in my heart that night long ago in Philly.
my pc background screen is this pix of Jerry from a show in '90.
My first two shows were August 4-5, '74 at the Spectrum in Philly. Jerry had that bittersweet voice in those days. I followed the band whenever I could for decades, catchng up with old friends at different venues and watching entire families grow up in the scene. Many for the shows are a blur now, but not the memories of the happy times and positive vibes. There are so many great experiences but it was the hope for a happier world that seems to be the aura that remains, just like Campbell noted. A few shows stick out now and seem important. The first two, obviously and a killer, simply killer show was on News Years Eve at the Winterland in `78. My mom, who was a cop in Palo Alto, snagged a ticket for me as a Christmas present!! Way to go MOM! I was tripping the whole night and thought I had died and gone to heaven. My face hurt for days from the grin on my face
One of the best of the late years was the night in Raleigh in July '90 during the electrical storm that caused an hour black out during a torrential rainstorm. It had been 100 degrees that day and the rain cooled the place off and when the band returned the sky cleared up and 5,000 of us in the infield stomped and twirled in the mud for hours.
During the black out hundreds of us surfed down a 500-foot hill in the mud. The next year I worked a job with two guys who said they had been on that hill mud surfing the same night! They are my dear buddies now, and we all were at the best shows we saw of the late years for a 3-night gig at the Omni in Atlanta in '93. During the weekend at the Omni Hotel there was an Amway convention and that weekend around these parts is legend as the weekend where LSD met Tupperware and kicked its ass..
Last show <sniff> was in March 95, Jerry looked bad and I called all my friends who were Deadheads warning them to get to a show this tour, `cause from the looks of Jerry, he wasn't gonna' be a round much longer... he wasn't either.
I miss those days, but I have carried with me the spirit and grace of humanity that touched me from the music and people. Right now I am listeing to an old boot from a show from the Swing Auditorium at San Bernadino, CA from February 26, 1977,
My mottos has been for over thirty years: "Wake up to find out that you are the Eyes Of the World."
and Follow your Bliss.
I want to thank Jerry Garcia for sharing his gifts with us. He made my life better for being in it and I hope yours too. I wont forget the happiness he brought me and all I can do is try to pass those great feeling on.