This is the newest stub in the collection, and I figured I would post while the memory is fresh.
Sometimes, something magical happens at a concert, and that was the case with this show. First off, it was almost 35 years ago to the day that I saw my first Grateful Dead concert, so there was some definite nostalgia happening. But it was also special because I went with my youngest daughter and it was her first time seeing a “Dead” show. She was very excited and she pointed out that although I had taken her to some great concerts over the years, this was the first time that it was just the two of us, so it was really great father/daughter bonding.
We drove to Greensboro, which is about a two-and-a-half hour drive. We got there early and decided to grab dinner first. Hops burgers place was highly recommended, so we went there. It supposedly has the best burgers in the country. Don’t know about that, but the burgers were pretty damn good!
After we ate, it was a short drive to the Coliseum. The first thing I noticed was that parking was $20! Talk about sticker shock. That was less than what I paid for many of the concerts I’ve seen over the years, but I paid my dues and we got a nice spot right near the exit.
In keeping with Dead tradition, there was the typical parking lot bazaar with vendors selling all kinds of stuff: some legal, some not so much. I bought a couple tee shirts and my daughter bought a nice hoodie. I marveled at the throngs of people who were still desperately trying to keep the legacy alive.
We went inside and our seats were on the side of the stage: not bad, but we could not see the screens that made up the background. We decided to move to some open seats, which ended up being fine because no one else came to claim them. The move afforded us a great view of the band and the colorful light show.
The band sounded great. John Mayer did a nice job playing lead guitar, and the rest of the band sounded relaxed and together.
So here is the magic moment. My daughter’s favorite Dead song is “Friend of the Devil.” The Grateful Dead played it the first time I saw them and I was hoping, for her sake, that they would play it this evening. The first set ended, and no “Friend of the Devil.” I told her that it was highly unlikely they would play it, since I have only ever heard the song played in the first set. She seemed OK and was really enjoying the music and the dancing. Second set ended, which was an amazing set, but still, no “Friend of the Devil.” Then Bob Weir and John Mayer brought out acoustic guitars for the encore. I figured “Ripple,” but no, they played an amazing acoustic version of “Friend of the Devil.” I could see the joy and excitement bursting from my daughter’s happy eyes. I felt like they played it just for her. It was truly one of those special concert moments when the unexpected happens and it makes the live concert experience something transcendent.
Anyway, here is a video clip of the encore from the Greensboro show, a moment that will live on in my memory as one of the best concert experiences ever.