I still have audio tapes. Very few, but many of them are Grateful Dead bootlegs of past shows. They are not illegal, despite the fact that they were recorded by an audience member with a microphone.
This is due to an idiosyncracy attributed to Jerry himself. He wanted people to be able to share the music among themselves, thus the band allowed bootlegging. The only stipulation was that it should remain a trade system, with no money changing hands.
This evolved into the roped off “taper” sections of the audience, just in front of the soundboard. What struck me was being able to hand security my tape gear while they frisked me (veeeery lightly).
At the Autzen show, the chick frisking me was kinda cute, so when she finished I batted my eyes at her, “You want to try again?”
She growled “get out of here, “ and swatted my ass as her co-workers laughed. I miss Dead shows. There was a feeling I just can’t describe, but it’s akin to spending the day with 6000 best friends you never knew you had, and everyone’s favorite band came to play just for us. It was the best feeling in the world, and nothing will ever replace it.
That’s why I hold on to those tapes. I can’t bear to give up my memories of those happy times. I have a tape of a concert I was at. I think I can hear myself yelling. It’s pretty cool.
However, I don’t know that many Deadheads anymore, now that we are scattered hither and yon, searching for just that groove again. New tapes are hard to come by, and my old ones are slowly deteriorating.
Recently, I just simultaneously orgasmed and started to cry, twice. Why? Because as an inveterate Public Radio listener, I just found out that almost every Grateful Dead concert has been posted to the Internet.
Shows from when I was an embryo are available, but not the last show I had tickets for, which was never played. Jerry died in Chicago that summer, his last show was July 9, 1995.
To all the people who stood in the sun holding a hot boom mic, thank you. Kudos to the site and all who have had a hand in creating it. I have gotten a little of my peace back, knowing there’s a little bit more Jerry left for me to discover, one download at a time.
If there ever were needs for the Internet to fill, it is this, possibly the least of these, for which I will be forever grateful. The Dead’s massive oeuvre can finally be in the hands of the majority of his fans, old and new.
I’ve got a miracle, every day.
Posted by LNews 8-13-2005