Blue Heron in flight

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Happy Birthday, Jerry!

Boston Music Hall - Dec 1, 1973

It is Jerry Garcia's birthday today and I was thinking about him and what a wonderful influence he had on my life. I have been searching my way back machine trying to remember my first show... I had been a deadhead since boarding school in 1971 but didn't see a show until the next year at the Academy of Music in New York. In March of 1972 the Grateful Dead had an eight show run. I got into one of them but don't remember exactly which one. I know that it was not the Bo Diddley night.

I think I snuck in with Richie Patrick but my memory is really foggy. My sister's fiance was the head of security for the Academy so he may have let me in. I did not equip myself very well, was not my shining moment, being one of the young idiots yelling for whipping post. But I will forgive myself after all these years for my youthful idiocy and exuberance.

The next show I definitely remember was the Philadelphia Spectrum in September of 1973. My memories are also hazy here but I remember the cops were really scary. Rizzo was sicking police dogs on dead heads. I think I took a train with Doug Garn and Charlie but maybe it was somebody else? 

Shows were a blur.

My first great run that I totally remember was Boston Music Hall, end of November, beginning of December, 1973.

I drove up with Hank M., Gabe M., Richie and Paul S. There was some snow on the ground, it was cold. My sister was living on Gainsborough St. at the time, I think I stayed with her for a night.The dead were amazing as was the old facility. 

Lots of frisbee, pre concert volleyball, the whole shebang. It was so fun back then. And the music was simply amazing. I assumed we smoked a lot of weed, and I know that we got psychedelic somewhere along the way. Remember walking around Boston after the show, the modern buildings in surreal counterpoint to the classic and earliest buildings of our republic.

I think these were the shows where I finally got it and felt like a honest to god Deadhead. I was on the bus, big time. The joy and happiness was indescribable.



So what do I remember about the nights? Not a hell of a lot. Fifty years back. The dark star was a jam, no vocals as I recall. I remember really loving the Weather Report Suite and the China Cat Sunflower and come to think of it, never heard a bad one live for the rest of my life. Always made me happy. God, did they really open with Morning Dew? Where was I and why can't I remember? But I am sure I loved it. Always had a soft spot for Brown eyed women.

I wish I had more recollection but I don't. Paul had some really good tapes, taping was just becoming more available, it was dead bootleg records before that, always recorded horribly and at the wrong speed.

I moved back west shortly thereafter, caught the first Wall of Sound show at the Cow Palace and some of the Spring 74 tour.  Jerry and Merl and Etta James at the Santa Barbara County Bowl.

These guys provided a huge portion of my life's soundtrack and I appreciate every one of them. Love you Jerry, Love you Keith. Love you Ron. Love you Vince. And thanks.


Sanoguy said...

No love for Bob???

Blue Heron said...

Wasn't his birthday.

Sanoguy said...

Was it Keith and Ron’s et al birthdays?

Blue Heron said...

No, but they all happen to be dead. As in, no longer with us.