Grateful Dead: 10/16/1988

This was the last night of a three-night run of Dead shows. The previous night’s show was excellent, and my friends and I all crashed and slept late.

After waking up and having a late breakfast, I convinced Armando and Tim to join me on an excursion to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Immersing ourselves in surreal artwork seemed like a good way to prepare ourselves for the third Dead show.

The museum was very cool, and we were not the only Deadheads who had the idea of checking out the Dali Museum. There were many tie-dyed freaks wandering around, gazing glassy-eyed at the many artworks that were on display. Two in particular stood out for me. There was a hologram of Alice Cooper wearing a tiara, which was very cool, especially since I am such a big Cooper fan. But without question, it was the massive painting entitled The Hallucinogenic Toreador that was the most captivating. I stood for what seemed like an eternity, getting lost in the psychedelic colors that pulsated on the canvas. Here is a link to an image of the painting to provide a sense of context.

The Hallucinogenic Toreador: Wikipedia

After the museum, we made our way back to the Bayfront Center and hung out with the other intrepid music fans until show time. It was decided amongst us that we would drive back to Miami after the show. I was not too keen on this idea and felt it would be better to spend the night in St. Pete and drive back early in the morning, but Armando was adamant that he had to leave tonight to be in Miami in time for work in the morning, so I acquiesced since he said he would be the designated driver.

This particular evening was Bob Weir’s birthday, and as expected, the show was stellar. Our seats were not as good as the first night in St. Pete, but since the venue was so small, it really didn’t matter. The second set was especially hot, with Phil opening the set with “Box of Rain.” The set also included “Terrapin Station,” one of my favorites, and “Morning Dew” to close, followed by “Quinn the Eskimo” for an encore. If you are at all interested, the full concert is available on YouTube, with actual video from the show and not just pictures.

Anyway, after the show, we skipped hanging out because Armando was eager to get on the road. We were facing a good five-hour drive, which would get us in to Miami close to 4:00 am. Once we were on I-75 southbound, Tim stretched out in the back seat and fell asleep, while I sat up front with Armando and had the important task of keeping the music going. But eventually, the hypnotic lines on the road got the best of me and I leaned my head against the window and slipped into slumber. I was ripped from my sleep by the sound of Tim screaming as the car was bouncing and careening off the road. Everything was a blur as I waited for the inevitable crash, but somehow, Armando miraculously got the car back on the road without us hitting anything. Tim was yelling from the back seat, and Armando was apologizing that he fell asleep. At this point, we were all wide awake with the collective adrenaline rush, but after a while, the rush was replaced by a deeper fatigue brought on by the adrenaline crash. This time, Armando consented to our suggestion that we pull over at a rest area and sleep a bit in the car. We cracked the windows and sank into some much-needed sleep.

When we awoke, we were all groggy, but rested enough to make the remainder of the drive. We rolled in to Miami around 8:00, which wasn’t bad, all things considered. It was a long, strange trip, which could have ended in disaster, but the four winds blew us safely home again.

Here’s the setlist.

Set 1:

  • Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  • Never Trust a Woman
  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
  • To Lay Me Down
  • Don’t Ease Me In

Set 2:

  • Box of Rain
  • Victim or the Crime
  • Foolish Heart
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Terrapin Station
  • Drums > Space
  • The Wheel
  • Gimme Some Lovin’
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Morning Dew

Encore:

  • Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

Grateful Dead: 10/15/1988

I had gone to see the Dead the previous evening in Miami, and the morning of Saturday October 15, I got in the car with my friends Armando and Tim and we made the drive up to St. Petersburg for two more shows. The drive was fairly uneventful. We took Alligator Alley across the Everglades and then I-75 north up to St. Pete. The drive was pleasant and uneventful, and we had a steady stream of bootleg tapes that we listened to as we drove.

The drive from Miami to St. Pete was about five hours, so we got there with plenty of time to check in to our hotel and make our way to the Bayfront Center Arena. Once there, we spent some time wandering the parking lot, buys wares from vendors and grabbing some food from the entrepreneurial purveyors of vegetarian food. We also connected with friends from Miami, including my good friend Todd, who was determined to join us inside the arena.

Armando, Tim, and I had some great 7th row seats that we managed to score through the mail order ticket sales. We snuck Todd up there with us and no one seemed to care, so he was able to hang with us for the entire night.

The show was phenomenal! Bob Weir was in exceptional form and it seemed like the band was feeding off his enthusiasm. Add to that the fact that the audience was in a constant state of ecstasy, and it made for a magical evening.

During the second set, the band came out of drums > space and went into “Truckin’” and the energy was tangible. At the end of the song, the band went into an instrumental jam, building in intensity like some cosmic crescendo. At this point, my friend Todd screamed out to the band: “Give it to Bobby!” And sure enough they did, segueing into the Howlin’ Wolf blues classic “Smokestack Lightning,” which would be the only time I would experience the Dead playing this one. It was an amazing show that is etched into my memory.

After the concert, we hung out in the parking lot for a while, until the mental burnout of a road trip and a show took its toll and we headed back to the hotel to crash. But tomorrow would be another show, and it would be Bob Weir’s birthday, so we had high expectations.

Here is the setlist from this night’s performance.

Set 1:

  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Sugaree
  • Blow Away
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • When Push Comes to Shove
  • Queen Jane Approximately
  • Tennessee Jed
  • Let It Grow

Set 2:

  • One More Saturday Night
  • Crazy Fingers
  • Playing in the Band
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • Drums > Space
  • Truckin’
  • Smokestack Lightning
  • Stella Blue
  • Turn On Your Love Light

Encore:

  • U.S. Blues

Roger Waters: 11/18/2010

RogerWaters_11-18-10

My older daughter is a huge Pink Floyd fan, so when I saw that Roger Waters was going on tour and performing The Wall in its entirety, I knew I had to make the effort to take her to see it. The closest performance was in Atlanta, about a three-and-a-half hour drive, so I ordered tickets for her and my brother (also a huge Floyd fan) and we made plans to go.

My brother picked us up and we started the trek down to Atlanta. We were very excited, listening to music, and talking. Then my brother got a call which changed the mood. His wife had gotten some test results back from the doctor and they were not good (thankfully, she is OK now!!). Anyway, I was ready to accept that we would miss the concert. I asked my brother if he wanted to turn around and go home. Ever the pragmatist, he said there is nothing he can do tonight, that we should just go to the concert, and he would drive home through the evening and be home by the morning.

We got to Atlanta and the area around the Philips Arena was swarming with music fans. We went to the Hard Rock Café for dinner, which seemed appropriate. I know the Hard Rock is dubbed TGI Fridays with guitars on the walls, but still, I like it. There’s something cool about being surrounded by rock memorabilia.

We went into the arena, purchased some shirts, and found our seats. Looking down at the floor, there was what looked like a homeless person pushing a shopping cart around and getting hugs and high-fives from people up front. We discovered that he had been a plant outside the venue, begging for money, and that concert goers who were generous with him got upgraded to the front. Nice! Never underestimate the power of being charitable to strangers in need.

The concert started and it was visually stunning. The band sounded fantastic, high-definition images were projected onto the huge wall constructed on the stage, huge inflatable characters came to life, it was everything I expected. Even though I was concerned about my sister-in-law, I managed to enjoy the show. My only criticism is that I wish they would have done an encore, something not on The Wall (Brain Damage/Eclipse would have been perfect). But no, the wall collapsed, debris over the stage, and the show was over.

The drive home was long, especially that late at night, but my brother fueled himself with Red Bull, got me and my daughter home safely, then continued on back to his house.

The other day, I found my shirt from this concert buried in the bottom of my tee shirt drawer. I shook out the wrinkles and wore it. I remembered the concert and how much it meant to me to be sharing the experience of taking my daughter to see one of her favorite musicians. I hope she treasures the memory as much as I do.