I love the music of the Grateful Dead. That much is plain to see to anyone who knows me. I begun to listen to it when I was around 15. I had purchased Europe ’72 and American Beauty through Colombia house (12 CD’s for a penny, remember that?) on a whim not knowing really what to expect. Soon both albums were a fixture in my home stereo and I had copied them to tape so I could listen to them in my car. Within a few months I was recording the shows on Scarlet Begonias Radio, broadcast on my local radio station. This music was better than anything I had been exposed to. I didn’t realize or understand the concept of improvisation and energy in music until I started picking apart the jams. I know it’s overused, but the music touched me. I wanted more, and surely would experience it live soon.
I was a freshman in high school when I passed up my one and only chance to see the Grateful Dead.
“Hey man, you should come to Highgate with us! We’re leaving Thursday morning.”
“I can’t. The math final is at 2pm.”
A math final. Yeah, I know.
At the time, I wasn’t concerned. I was sure I could see the Dead again. Plus, I had tickets to my first real concert later on that summer, and that would be awesome. It was a HORDE show in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The date of that show: August 10th, 1995. As much fun as I tried to have, I couldn’t believe I had missed my chance. There was a moment of silence and I came to the bitter realization I missed the bus. The fact that all those people were silent- I couldn’t get over it. I wasn’t the only one who loved this music. This wasn’t even a Dead show, but there were fans here. There were fans everywhere.
I will always feel a tinge of sadness when I think about what I missed out on. Though I try, no amount of Bob, Phil, or Further shows can make up for it. I’m not really sure why I’m writing this. I guess I just felt I wanted to put it out there and maybe hear about others like me, or others who saw them for years. Either way, feel free to comment, so long as it’s positive.