That Time My Shoes Got Stolen At A DEAD Show
Updated: Aug 14, 2021
You know, I've been thinking about The Grateful Dead a lot lately. I've been jonesing for them, actually. Goin' on tour. Followin' them around. The characters, the memories, the towns. I can recall something about every show I've been to. Something musical, spiritual, comical. Somehow, it's all filed away in there. Take Raleigh, summer of '90 for instance. That was zany. It was my first venture onto Southern soil. Goodness, was it hot! It was like nothing I had ever felt as of course this was before my time in the magical land of Atlanta. I got separated from my friends and eventually settled in to a great spot on top of the hill nestled into Carter Finley Stadium. It was weird, like a practice track or something. The hill leading down to the "floor" was green and beautiful...and empty. It was being kept that way by the security guards who were keeping us off of it. The security guard standing right in front of me was about my age. I kept looking at him. Something wasn't right. He was awfully...giggly. It all came together when he told me he was tripping. No. Way.
As the first set chugged along, you could feel the vibe percolating. That vibe being the ultimate Deadhead credo; always outdupe, outthink, and outrun security as much as you can, all the time. We wanted to be on that grassy hill and we wanted to climb over that chain link fence at the bottom of it to go dance on the floor. The people in the bleachers closest to us were egging us on chanting "Go! Go! Go!" and I remember thinking, Oh man, I'd better go get my shoes, we're running! I went to the spot where I had left them. They were gone. Hmmm, am I in the right place? Did I misplace them? Egads! Did somebody steal my shoes? (Very un-Dead-show like, but hey, it would be their karma to pay.) The sudden roar of the crowd told me all I needed to know. I abandoned the search, turned around and saw everyone running. So I joined them. Barefooted down the wet grassy hill I went. People were sprinting, bodies were flying and the next thing you know I was sliding in a Supergirl pose face first down the mountain. When I finally slowed down, I felt someone pick me up and start running with me. I never saw who it was. See, we're all in this together. I made it to the fence, and up and over I went. Yay! Jailbreak!
The band played on. In fact, they had been playing the whole time. Except nobody was paying attention. Everyone was looking the other way toward the hill, cheering, watching hundreds of hippies, colors flying, barreling down that slope. After we got over that excitement, we abruptly ended the first set with a mysterious power surge and then a complete and total outage. The band threw up their hands, took off their instruments, chuckled and walked off stage. Halftime. God only knows what happened in the second set of that one. All I know is that the next show was in D.C. where it poured down rain and I met that beautiful boy named David...