Friday, April 20, 2007

Story of a Road Trip

I was going to see two Grateful Dead concerts in 1993 and a few of us were planning on going up for the shows. I let one guy ride with me and he was going to meet some friends of his at the show and than meet up with me after the second show to get a ride home. I met my friends ,at their house the day before the first concert, where we socialized and prepared ourselves for the concerts.

The day of the first concert we arrived in the parking lot of the arena at around 2:00pm. The reason we always went early was because we wanted to check out the "lot scene." People would set up kitchens and sell food of all kinds such as pastas, grilled cheese, burritos and a wide variety of other options. You could also walk around and find people selling jewelry, t-shirts, hats and all sorts or things. This area was known as "Shakedown Street" and was where most everyone went to meet and see the sights. Here and there around the parking lot you would here music blasting out of stereos or people sitting around making the music themselves. It was like being a part of the circus or a carnival.

We finally made it into the shows and these particular shows were fun but nothing incredible. Nevertheless, we danced, smiled and had such a great time. I remember after the shows walking out into the night air to smell food being cooked, incense burning and saw people hugging and dancing around while talking about the concert. I do remember after the second concert walking out and seeing a school bus that had been converted into a rolling disco with neon lights, disco ball, flashing lights and disco music blasting. The best part about it was that there were people all around it and even on top of it just getting down and shaking their booties to the music.

Well, after enjoying the summer night after the show and all the festivies in the parking lot I decided to head back to meet the guy who would need a ride back to Nashville. I waited and waited until the police started to run everyone out of the parking lot at around 3 or 4 in the morning. I finally gave up and headed South back to Nashville alone.

I was balling that jack to make good time and still feeling so good after a great time with the music, people and the whole scene but I was ready to get home as well. I finally decided to stop at a rest area to use the bathroom, get something to drink and walk around for a minute to stretch my legs. When I got back in the car, it wouldn't start. I tried again and again, I begged with it, I prayed over it, I made deals with it but nothing worked. This was before cell phones were the hot thing and so I made a few calls on the pay phone but no one could help. I was either to far away or they were working or something and thus I had to fend for myself.

So I finally walked over to a big grassy area and layed down to take a nap and to give the car a rest to see if it would work later. After a 2 or 3 hour nap I woke up just in time to watch a VW bus pull into the rest area. When the side door opened 5 or 6 people poured out plus the two in the front seats. They went about doing their business for a bit and than they came over to ask if that was my VW bug. I told them it was, I don't know how they could have known except for the stickers on the back and my long hair, beard and funky clothes, but they seemed to know. I told them what had happened and so down we went to have a look at it. After a few pokes and prods under the hood, one guy said he thought it just got to hot and was cooling itself off. Turns out he was right because it started right up.

They were coming to Nashville for a day or two and than going to continue on down the road and were okay with following me to make sure the car didn't act up again. There was a beautiful young woman who came to me to ask if she could ride to Nashville with me and of course I was more than happy to accomodate. She said it was just to crowded in the VW bus and she needed a break. One of the guys in the group made necklaces, bracelets and peace pipes that he sold at shows.

So we finally headed for Nashville in a two VW convoy. I was relieved to have my car running again and to make it even better I had the company of a stunningly beautiful young woman along with a brand new peace pipe that was a gift to me. The rest of the drive was lots of fun and I went with them over to visit guy in Nashville named "Cowboy." We spent a good day around there just laughing, telling stories of the road and getting to know each other.

Finally everyone had to hit the road again. I drove across town and the crew in the VW bus headed out to who knows where. I never saw any of them after that but that was how we did it back then. We helped each other and made friends with everyone.

Those were truly some magical days.

The concert setlists:6-15-93 (Tuesday)
Set 1: Feels Like A Stranger, Althea, Wang Dang Doodle, Friend of the Devil, Desolation Row, Don't Ease Me In
Set 2: Victim Or The Crime> Crazy Fingers> Estimated Prophet> Spoonful> He's Gone> Drumz> This Could Be Last Time> Morning Dew
E: Gloria

6-16-93 (Wednesday)
Set 1: Cold Rain & Snow> Same Thing, Peggy-O, Tom Thumb Blues, Ramble On Rose, Eternity, Brown Eyed Women, Easy Answers> Don't Ease Me In Set 2: Foolish Heart, Saint of Circumstance> Lazy River Road, Corinna> Drumz> I Need A Miracle> Stella Blue> Good Lovin E: I Fought The Law

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