It’s been a week since the shows and “WE” are all feeling the withdrawal and the shock of never feeling that feeling again. On the June 28th I put a Steal Your Face in the rear window of my car, as if it were a AAA sticker… just in case I needed help as I trekked up north.
I decided to road-trip solo to Santa Clara for the Sunday night Grateful Dead Show – and return to LA within the same 24 hours. Days before a ticket magically fell in my lap at a pitch meeting while at the SoHo house. I am not a member there, nor do I go there often, and the lunch was with an ANTI-deadhead. Which makes this so much more of a meant to be moment.
A Deadhead, Ian Kessner, excited about his mail order came to our table beaming with joy about his friends and family ticket success and how he had extra. Who would have known this ticket was meant for me and the true gift I was actually given!! NOW, I was worried about meeting up with Ian, but it all worked out! I am here!!
The parking lot was nothing reminiscent of a historical Dead show, which is half of the experience. And may of us were skeptical of Trey.
But there were signs of familiarity and the GDF.
The Steal Your Face, from the song “He’s Gone” is the most recognizable Grateful Dead Art.
Over the 50 YEARS Deadheads have been creating their own street-art with customizing the Steal Your Face and making their own bootleg shirts – which by far are more coveted and collectable. I missed so many GRATE graphics, but here are a few I captured.
Blurry, but who could leave out Jerry.
Now we are in the the States.
The Idaho Guy even had custom stickers.
I had to put this amazing one in. A perfectly soft vintage Dancing Bear Tee.
WB loves the Dead. The funny thing about Steal Your Face, in an interview, Jerry Garcia said: “None of us liked it. I’m sure even Phil and Owsley didn’t like it that much. I think part of it was that we were not working, and we didn’t have anything else to deliver.”
Fare Thee Well 50 merch.
The scene was a family affair. Dad has seen over 70 shows and brought mom in. Now the 4 kids (1 is a Phish fan) and best friend tag a long have taken the trip from the east coast. Dead commitment.
Modern day hallway scene. No drums, no spinners, but a charging station.
I didn’t bring Arrow, but there were plenty of babies.
There was the PIT.
And then the magic. However, if any of you pushy, territorial, blanket holders are reading this – learn that PIT means PIT and you don’t bring a picnic blanket.
So – I floated around in the tye-dye sky with the happy PIT and people.
Now don’t we all look (and definitely feel) 20 years younger.
Santa Clara was over and I had caught the fever – where you just want to forget life and tour with the Dead, but there are only 3 shows left and I had no plans to go to Chicago.
With a change ticket fee and a scour through Chicago’s Craigslist, I had my miracle. Two commemorative Pit tickets for Saturday and Sunday. I landed at 4:30 and went straight to the Field.
The entire city of Chicago was ready and welcoming.
I nuzzled up to some Hedge Fund Deadheads. The ones that drove BMW’s to the shows.
I should have known the same territorial, blanket bully’s had traveled to Chicago. “I see you’ve got your fist out – Say your piece and get out – Yes, I get the gist of it But it’s all right”.
I usually wander during break or space and drums but this time I wasn’t missing a moment. Pit sit break.
These aren’t the regular drums, but they did come.
Just like the balloons.
Sunday came my grate-est miracle. Since Santa Clara I had been asking my old Art Institute of Pittsburgh friend, Eric Swogger, to meet up with me. Shall we go, you and I while we can? In a text during Saturday’s show I said there have been 2 things in my life that I have consistently loved to do. First is the Grateful Dead and second is college basketball – and KU basketball has let me down many times. He agreed (to both) and jumped in a car at midnight to drive 7 hours to Chicago. He met me for Sundays show on a crutch after a recent ACL surgery! Eric reminded me how I brought him to his VERY FIRST Grateful Dead concert. Four nights in a dust bowl at Alpine Valley, WI 88′. – And NOW to his (and the world’s) VERY LAST show and where Jerry’s last performed 20 years ago!
Sunday was like a Sunday. We slowly strolled the Phan-Art Experience.
I have no idea who these people are…but I do!