In Summer 2015, the “core four” of legendary rock ‘n’ roll band “The Grateful Dead” did a series of five concerts (two in Santa Clara, California, three in Chicago, Illinois) to close the book on their storied career. With brother Dan, we fantastically scored tickets and made the journey to all five shows, travelling by road in various vehicles and staying a various hotels, campgrounds, crash pads.
And, I had a notion to roll like it was still 1990 and that I kept a massive scrapbook of ephemera and eschewed technology (aside from a few logistical purposes) and took a little cork “sardine can” Lomo camera with expired film to capture a few hazy images.
The results are very pleasing because well, they are not crisp and clear in any sense, rather fuzzy and weird like me at the time… I was coming out of the long hard stretch, well I didn’t realize how far I still had to go but that’s neither here they are there. #rough
This assortment contains selected snaps of people in-and-around the shows and on the road trip. Worth noting that with our gaggle of pals, we also stopped at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado on the way back from Neil Young and “The Promise of the Real” at this legendary venue in some cold bewildering rain. Again, neither here nor there.
Note: there’s another collection of an “prairie time lapse” meaning a photo snapped every 15 minutes for driving across the US prairies capturing the redundancy and consistency of the landscape.
Another collection may follow with shots almost psychedelic in glorious hazy sloppiness from inside the concert venues – eventually, maybe.
In 1989 (iirc), my beloved VW bus criss-crossed states at a frenetic pace with long drives to Kansas City for Drum Corps, California for punk concerts, over the Rockies to Denver for The Who, a Vancouver trip or two in there, couple of Moab and then was wrangled into the epic trip starting in Utah to the US Northeast and swinging back down through the Midsouth stopping by universities and colleges of all times so a fellow named Kaimi could pitch his idea of selling flag T-shirts to various bookstores.
The deal was: he would pay the bills, do much of the driving and other logistics and I was just along for the ride and providing the wheels.
Resulted in many harrowing nights in places like New Haven, Cambridge, New York City (where we weren’t allowed through Lincoln tunnel because of onboard propane and required a complicated turn around in the midst of traffic), a break down in Connecticut – replacing fuel pump with a random mechanic in his driveway. I remember driving on a graceful parkway then seeing a horrific accident unfold in the pouring rain storm. Sneaking into all sorts of university dorms for clandestine hi-jink, being mysterious “aliens” from the west marauding in this renegade van. Seeing a wonderful girl I knew from Utah working as a nanny in Connecticut (rip Janel H.), making friends with the father of the house (he let us sleep in the basement because I was reading Jack Kerouac), buying beer with fake IDs and never a second glance, (racks of it drinking back while crossing midwest and through Penn), stops at Wrigley Field in Chicago (no game :(!), Sun Studios in Memphis (met a fine lady there), watching Kaimi spin spin spin with endless energy. Oh, staying with his family around Washington DC and going like a “show and tell” item to his younger brother’s high school class (to much acclaim :)). The van getting broken into and ransacked while parked in Washington DC to see the Smithsonian. Must’ve been a couple of other significant roadside attractions along the way.
Pal Jerrod aka Spanky was also on board (as kinda Kaimi’s svengali) and brought his guitar so, along with my bongos, we did some busking here and there ++ saw Fugazi play at All Soul’s Church, DC and REM play at Merriweather Post, Maryland, just missed secret Rolling Stones at a frog-something-named-bar by Yale. Rambled campuses and saw how the system of private patronage in the East works – they ain’t no smarter, just better connected / mostly. Skullz and Bonez.
I had no schedule nor expectations except to just go go go and so we did. And, behold I have evidence.
Brother Dan and I went to Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary (and final) shows – 2 in Santa Clara, California and 3 in Chicago, Illinois. We roadtripped the whole she-bang from Vancouver, BC to Olympia, WA to Pacifica, Santa Clara, then Las Vegas to Provo where we switched vehicles and rode with some pals across the midwest (camping in an epic storm in Nebraska along the way). We hit all 5 shows and enjoyed the community and music.
Other stops included Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael California and Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado to see Neil Young and Promise of the Real. We parted ways in SLC as i had to head to rescue a broken RV in Mendocino (unsuccessfully as it turns out) and Dan headed back to BC.
Along the way, stopped at various craft breweries, made loads of arts and crafts (including an massive scrapbook of ephemera, road poetry, set lists, newspaper clipping and other sundries) and a series of photos by Lomo camera. Also documented a series of two-fer photos of us enjoying beers or joints or scenery and the company of conspirators. Several of these became a “memory book” i created (via an online publishing service) for Dan as a wee present. When visited his home, i snapped quick shots of the pages (note to self: take better ones next time). Here the are the lousy pics of an otherwise lovely book – for my amusement and your curiosity.
Acoustic, Bluegrass inspired, ukulele, electric bass and Djembe drum band playing “I know you Rider” at Grateful Dead 50th anniversary Fare Thee Well shows in the grassy knoll outside Soldier Field, Chicago. July 4th 2015.
Outside Solider Field in Chicago, thousands and upon thousands of Deadheads descending the surrounding parking lots, grassy knolls, museum steps and all points to commune, share music, hugs, sell items, and soak in the atmosphere which included this lovely little group of musicians.