Monday, September 01, 2008


All The Years Combine - 9/2

20 years ago today was my first Grateful Dead show - 9/2/88. My first show could have been in the Fall of '87, but the only tickets I could get were behind the stage. I didn't want to see them for the first time from the back, so I decided to wait. Fall '88 came around and they're back at the Capital Centre again. I was determined to get decent seats this time. Me and about 2 dozen other people camped out overnight at Landover Mall to get tickets. I was the 10th person in line and was let in as soon as Hecht's opened. By the time I got to the window all they had left for 9/2 was behind the stage. This time I snapped them up though, in addition to decent tickets for 9/5. 9/3 had already sold out. Caught up in the excitement, I stopped at another TicketCenter on the way home and picked up tickets for 9/6.

I went with my college roommate, Steve. We had a blast. The music, the people, the parking lot scene - everything was just fascinating to me. But the big turning point for me came between sets. We were sitting on the floor on the concourse watching everything go by. The lights dimmed. There were a couple minutes of tuning. Then they launched into "Scarlet Begonias" and the whole concourse just became one big dance party. It was like people just stopped whatever they were doing...talking...running around....eating...everybody just stopped and started to dance where they stood. I had never seen anything quite like it. Not a few people. Not a dozen or two. Literally hundreds of people dancing in the hallway. Arms flailing...people twirling...jumping around all over the place. I remember handing Steve my nachos and running off to join the fun. That's the exact moment I became a Deadhead. I haven't looked back.

One year later (9/2/89) and we're catching The Jerry Garcia Band at Merriweather. Much more low-key than a real Dead show, but still lots of fun. I've yet to go to another Merriweather show that was this crowded. We got to the show about 5 hours early and the lots were already full. Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman opened. I wasn't all that familiar with a lot of Jerry's solo stuff at the time (JGB didn't play any Dead tunes), but it was a fun night. By now more of my friends were going to shows (including some co-workers) and it became a real event when the Dead or Jerry were around. I kind of miss those days when everything was still new and exciting. This show (along with the 9/1/89 Merriweather show) were officially released as part of the Pure Jerry series of live releases from (although it appears to be offline today).

9/2/96 - Nothing better than a little outdoor P-Funk on a hot, sticky summer afternoon. I don't remember many details about this one, other than thinking how weird it was to be at a seated P-Funk show. We were hoping there would be a ticket drop for great seats, but it never came. Towards the end people just started wandering up to the stage. I soon found myself against the stage, shaking George Clinton's hand. Fun night. I need to go see them again soon. It's been too long.

9/2/04 - The Phobes/High Dials @ The Black Cat. I wrote that one up before.

9/2/06 - The Blue Method @ Zeno's. Eh. Some bar band we saw on our annual trip to State College. I remember them being pretty good. Kind of funky/jammy from what I recall, but it was quite a while ago. I remember having a good time, but everything's always a good time at Zeno's.

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