, author Ken Kesey commented on this phenomena: “[the Dead] weren’t just playing what was on the music sheets, they were playing what was in the air.When the Dead are at their best, the vibrations that are stirred by the audience is the music that they play.” And if you couldn’t get a ticket to the show? When the Dead were in town, parking lots outside of their concerts were transformed into small villages, with vendors selling tie-died shirts, burritos and of course, drugs.This subset grew in number, soon giving birth to a community with its own set of rules and even slang. S., where the demand to see the foursome live gave rise to stadium rock.
With the proliferation of drugs at Dead concerts, it was not uncommon to spot fans who had overdosed.The Dead were the first rock band with a group of fans who formed a 12-step program to keep the lure of drugs at bay during concerts, where temptation is everywhere.Interestingly: That gesture was still in play in 2007 when newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw a party and invited former members of the band to play.Outside stood a pony-tailed, grey-suited gent holding a sign that read, “I Need a Miracle.” A staffer on the inside recognized his clarion call and sneaked him in.As Jerry Garcia once said, “our strong suit is what we do, and our audience.” The Dead played a different song set at every show, sending “regulars” on the road to the band’s next gig—since no two shows were ever the same.
The Dead also not only allowed but actually fans to tape the concerts, eventually setting up a “taper’s section” for them.
documentary and aptly described by one hippie couple in the doc, who met at a show and had been following the band for three years, with their baby —conceived at the first show—in tow: “It’s one big happy Dead kinda thing.” It was not happy, though.
As Jerry famously sang, “every silver lining’s got a touch of grey”—more than a touch, actually.
Fans of the band Phish—Phishheads—as well as Bruce Springsteen are a formidable force, but in terms of unbridled loyalty and devotion to the late Jerry Garcia and his bandmates, Deadheads are without peer.
after attending a 1971 New York City concert that “regulars greeted other regulars, remembered from previous boogies, and compared this event with a downer in Boston or a fabulous night in Arizona.” And the band took notice.
Many of these vendors never attended a single concert, but would camp out, hoping to earn enough money to pack up their painted Volkswagen bus and follow the band to their next stop.