Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Well I have told a few stories about Jim Ryan, and it is time to tell one about my younger (9 years) brother. We used to hang out a lot more than we do now and we have always had good times together in each others company. I influenced him in many ways growing up, like I turned him on to rock when he was just a pup, bought him his first guitar (he plays bass now and very well I should add) took him to his first concert at Winterland in 1974 and remember the lineup to this day, Rush opened the show, and then the Tubes, and finally Kiss. A strange show for all involved, with the exception of Rush who had basically just formed, both the other bands had big theatrical effects and The Tubes had an elaborate stage show. Anyway I am getting off track, that was the first show I brought him to and we attended many,many more over the years. But in all that time he never saw the Grateful Dead until a June day in 1990 when I had an extra ticket and dragged him along. He was way more influenced by Rush,Mettalica,and hard core metal at the time. And it was on...
We arrived at Shoreline Amphitheatre about 3 hours before the show and as I lived a mile away at the time we had started getting primed up early. When we got to the Turkish Market, I mean the parking lot the atmosphere was already a giant party as usual and we started roaming the grounds looking for acid. It was not very long before we achieved our mission and had several different batches of blotter assembled and ready in case some of them were not any good. And none of them ended up being bad, so needless to say, about an hour before the show we were starting to come on to it. We were sitting around my car next to this huge patch of lawn and this guy in a wheelchair busts out this giant parafoil kite and starts to fly this damn thing. Now this thing was just what we needed to see as we started tripping, a giant fluorescent wing spinning and weaving, nice, and all of a sudden this huge gust of wind jerks this guy up out of the chair and on the grass being towed by this enormous kite. I couldn't help myself as I started laughing and giggling like only lsd can make you do. I am bent over with tears in my eyes laughing at the situation and meanwhile Johnny starts to go help this poor guy and I start telling him to leave the guy alone, that he doesn't need or want any help, but Johnny wanted a hand at flying that big mother. It was gonna be one of those days!
I had given my bro a flask that looked exactly like a pair of binoculars and we had that thing full of Southern Comfort and we headed for the gates thinking we were being so sly. Not.
First thing the security went for? You got it and so did they as we watched close to a fifth get poured out. But we were so high by then it probably wouldn't have mattered.

Now for those who know and for those who don't, there is NOTHING like a Grateful Dead show, so many people so much tye dye so much fun... We tried to buy a couple of sausage sandwich but burst into that maniacal laughter when we heard the counter call out "gimme two Italians,LOADED" and being two Sicilians with a head full of halucinogens I don't think we ate much of them at that point. We wound our way slowly up to the lawn and just as we found a spot out comes the Dead and I hear the sounds of Shakedown Street starting the show. With the lsd starting to really take hold it is sometimes hard to concentrate, I mean all the colors just came alive as I started peaking. And Johnny is pretty much dumbfounded by the event going on not only up on the stage but at the crowd as well, the tye dye and funny hats and right about this time a guy walks past with eyes painted on his eyelids and John took one look at this kid and hysterically starts laughing and follows this kid around pointing at him. And poof I turn around and John was gone!
At that point I could have cared less, I was home. I was with my phamily and all was good with the world that day, for me after the first 20 shows it became my religion, I went to Dead shows and gobbled lsd as communion. And I am positive at least half the people in there were as high or higher than myself, it always amazed me that so many folks could drop acid and be able to drive off the lot afterwards (myself included) though I only had a short distance to go to get home. After drums/space things calmed down a little and I knew before long this would be all over soon, until next time. I finally hooked back up with Johnny as the show ended and he told me of his encounters in the last 90 minutes as we started back for the car. Though the lot,which to those who have never been to a show is like a big party/open market with drugs of all kinds and tye dye shirts and oh yes the food. We had parked about as far away from the show as you could get which meant that we would be the last ones out and since we couldn't consume those hoagies were starting to get good and hungry. We walk past this kid hawking 95% organic burritos and all sorts of other goodies, but I already knew what I wanted. One of those whole wheat 37 grain bread sandwich with avocado and cheese and sprouts, mmm, I could taste it. We made it all the way back to the car and started away and this kid walks up with a box of sandwiches as I think "score" and pull a few bucks out of my pocket. And I bite into the thing and am revolted to find out that instead of avocado and cheese it was hummus. Smashed garbanzo beans that is horrid on a good day much less when coming down off of cid. I spit this shit out and started looking for the kid with the box to no avail. Now if you have read any of my other stories this is the part when thing get fuzzy and I end the story. So I will do so now, everybody got away safe and that wasn't the last Dead show John and I would attend together. I miss those days sometimes.

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