Bruce's Blog

a handful of dimes and a jukebox

Concert Tickets

Amongst the many outstanding promises I’ve made to folks, one of them is sending a couple of old ticket stubs from two Grateful Dead shows that I attended to my cousin Adam, the Deadest Head I know at the moment. Actually, Adam has been getting into Jazz of late, for which I applaud him. Unfortunately, the Jazz concerts I attended didn’t give out neat ticket stubs like rock concerts. Otherwise, I’d have a huge pile of those too.

I’m still trying to figure out where the last 40 or so years have gone, but math tells me that they are indeed long gone. I used to attend a lot of rock concerts. In fact, it was a “Yes” concert that got me interested in Jazz. I went to see their show, which was a performance of their new album “Close to the Edge”. It was note perfect. And boring, I felt. Live music should be about something new, not a recreation of an album. Not even classical musicians try to create an exact reproduction of a record, and they are about as far away from improvising musicians as you can get.

So I decided to scan them before I sent them off, and it occurred to me that it might be interesting to scan each one and see what I can find out about the particular show that I attended and see if there’s anything I can find on the ‘net about the concert. In the case of Dead concerts, that’s pretty easy.

Grateful Dead Ticket Oct 27, 1973

The first time I saw The Grateful Dead was Oct 27, 1973 at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis. I remember going to the concert by myself and I don’t think I had a ticket in advance. It’s too bad the price isn’t on the stub, I’d be curious now. I’m sure it was dirt cheap by today’s standards. I recall most concerts in the early 70’s being in the $4-5 range at most.

As most folks know, The Dead have allowed/encouraged taping of their shows since almost forever, and trading tapes has been a long-standing tradition. I remember being treated like a real newbie when, at the concert, I asked a guy who had a bunch of tapes if he had something with “Box of Rain” on it. The guy with the tapes said, “Uh, just buy the album, ok?” and started laughing.  I’m still not exactly sure what was so funny about asking, but maybe I was just easy to tease. 😉

As it happens, the audio for this concert is available online to stream at Archive.Org. Which is pretty cool, really.

Grateful Dead Ticket Sept 26, 1991

The 2nd time I saw them was quite a bit later, Sept 26, 1991 at the Boston Garden with my friend Tom Clark from Stratus Computer. Tom was (and probably still is) the Deadhead’s Deadhead. Tom also had the largest collection of t-shirts I’ve ever seen. Literally hundreds. I went with Tom to see the Jerry Garcia band in San Francisco. No stub from that one. We got in the show working as ushers, which basically involved wearing a tie and holding a flashlight and asking the audience who were doing “The Dead Dance” to keep a fire aisle clear (no seats, standing/dancing only down in front), which I did until I encountered The Hulk, who had come to the show. This guy was easily a foot taller than me and built like a tank. He said, “I paid my money and I’m standin’ right here!” “Right you are!”, I said, as I formed a new aisle on the other side of him. Most Deadheads were much more easy-going than The Hulk. If you read this, Tom, hope you’re well!

This show is also available to stream from Archive.Org.

And here’s a YouTube video of them performing “Jack Straw” from that very show!



“Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell…” — Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter



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