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Fare Thee Well Show at Soldier Field

I remember a dream I had when I was 15, shortly after Jerry Garcia died.  I dreamt that I had died and could do anything or go anywhere, and  I was immediately transported to a Grateful Dead show.  In the middle of a Franklin’s Tower jam, if I recall correctly.

Well, the Grateful Dead are officially wrapping things up with one more gathering together on stage.  Trey Anasasio will be joining them, in addition to original members Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir.  Check out some decorated envelopes from the mail order.   This marks their 50th anniversary.  Unfortunately, I did not get my order in before they closed it after receiving a flood of requests.  Not every mail order request was completed, but I found a great response to a fan on reddit:

Hi Friends,

I received my rejection letter today. I was hoping against hope I was still in the running as each day it was closer to the outlet sale. But alas it was not to be.

I know if you could have filled everyone’s order you would have, and I just want to thank all of you for the time and effort you’ve put into this. I am old enough and was fortunate enough to see the Grateful Dead when Jerry was still at the helm so I can’t really complain. I’ve seen so many posts from younger fans who are hoping that these shows will give them a small fraction of the joy that the Dead brought us. It’s very reassuring to know that the Dead’s impact and inspiration is still going strong after all these years.

As your letter says, here’s to keeping the spirit of the Grateful Dead alive and staying positive in all situations.

Thanks you and wish us all luck next Saturday!!!

Regards, ~svgklingon

I’m not going to give up.  Tickets go on sale this weekend and I’ll do everything I can to get tickets.  And even if I don’t get tickets, I’m considering going for the lot scene.  The audience is a huge piece of the Grateful Dead experience.  Although I never got to see them together with Jerry, I continued to attend shows of the remaining members in groups like Rat Dog, Furthur and Rhythm Devils.  Often times, I was unable to find a friend to go with, so I’d go alone.  Yet, every time I went I made new friends and ran into old acquaintances.  Nothing beat that scene.

As I mentioned previously, I just finished Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead and in it, the authors suggest that the Dead audience was the original social media.  It connected tons of people using mailing lists, tape trading and the selling of goods on Shakedown Street.  When the internet became popular and connected everyone electronically, there was a flood of new music for me to download.  Being a techie, I was quick to get to work downloading MP3’s and SHN files of my favourite shows.  The website, archive.org, provided me with everything I could possibly imagine.  I could find old shows in better quality format than my tapes.  Not only that, but I found better quality recordings.  It was amusing when I’d download a show and it would be the exact recording that I had heard previously.  I’d hear a familiar voice in the audience and I knew I’d heard that recording before.

Do you think I threw out all my old cassette tapes now that I had what appeared to be the entire recordings of the Grateful dead on computer and CD?  Heck no.  My tape cases were hand written, contained custom drawings by myself and friends, and they sit in a custom-built, felt-lined wood case I had a friend make me in shop class in high school.  They still sit in my parents basement up north.  Speaking of which, I better get those back.  I am willing to lose some of my old baseball cards, but those tapes have a lot more value to me.

By the time I got to college, I had couple 200-300 CD wallets STUFFED with Dead shows.  I’d burn duplicates and give them out.  I met friends at school by blasting Dead shows on my room-mate’s stereo.  He was very into rap, and turned me onto it, too.  He had the kind of stereo you’d expect a rap fan to have, massive speakers (Klipsch, I believe).  He quickly became a fan of Grateful Dead music and I believe he might be an even bigger fan that myself now!  Looking back now, I can see just how many people I connected with because of the music.  And actually now that I think about it, no one ever complained about the music.  Even though it wasn’t their favourite style of music, the recognized the talent and respected it.  Plus, it’s hard to shit on someone’s music when they saw how passionate my friends and I were about out.

It makes me wonder about a lot of Dead Heads out there.  Many of them take up trade professions, but there are also a few celebrities, according to wikipedia.  A lot seem to be in politics and what is up with marketers?  Go marketing!  I guess it could have something to do with the amazing artwork that Deadheads have been creating.  And, of course, there is Steve Jobs.  I read his favorite album is American Beauty.  I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more heads coming out.  Back in the day, they may have been labelled  “dirty hippie”, but we are starting to realize they are often great leaders.  They have greater risk-taking behavior than the nerds that are creating the technology which drives the web.  They are creative and visionaries.  I think back to my high school years, and recall thinking to myself “in the future, I’ll be working from home, possibly on the beach, listening to the Dead, being judged on the content of my work, rather than my appearance.”  I made that dream a reality, so maybe my other dream is within reach.

Hope to see you in Chicago.


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