Saturday, November 3, 2007

Chena to L.A. GD

Salt Lake City, Utah.  Wasatch Mountains.  Wasatch Range.· Hiking Time --- 2 hours 17 minutes
· Temperature: 21ºF (-6ºC)
· Trail Time in November: 3 hours 21 minutes

(starting Oct. 1)
· Weight Loss Goal -- 24 pounds (11 kg)
__________· So Far -- 7 lb.

Saturday again? For real? Or for fake? Is all of this life just a dream? This week has flown by. Spent last night out at Chena Hot Springs. I was the third wheel. Yay. It wasn't that bad, they're good friends o' mine. Mike, my former EMT partner, and his wife, Julie, went along. Actually I was the invited one so twas I who was doing the going along. Apparently there was supposed to be a fourth person but she canceled. I've got the feeling they were setting me up with someone... and they'll keep trying. That's not something I particularly care for... but then again, if I knew who it was and she's rather good looking, then I could decide whether to make it easy for them. Unfortunately I have no clue so I've gotta play this hand carefully. Anyway, the swimming was nice. But I don't think I really did any swimming. In the pool at Chena, it's more like a lounging. Lazing and lounging. Loved it! Woulda been better if it was a cloudless night and the Northern Lights danced overhead... but ya can't have everything. Oh well. It's definitely a freakin' cool place to be when the lights are flashing across the Heavens. These great hot springs are right down the road, sort of... about 60 miles east of Fairbanks down a dead-end road into the wilderness. So accessible they are but I haven't been there in months. Should really get out there more often. Sooooooooo relaxing just soaking in the hot mineral waters. Oh yeah.... niiiice!

This morning the drive back to town was in near white-out conditions. The snow wasn't coming down at an enormous pace but holy cow, the wind blowin' it around like mad made the drive back sooooo long.

I had my mind made up that as soon as I got back, I'd gear up and hit the trail almost immediately. And a fan-freakin'-tastic hike it was. Okay, there wasn't anything really that amazing about it. But how dang sweet, yet again, to be puttin' one foot in front of the other, gettin' some exercise on a snowy trail, through a snowy landscape, cool air on my face, warm fingers in gloves, warm head under fleece cap. For some of the hike, the peacefulness without music was so intense. In the falling snow, not a sound could be heard. At other times GD tunes filled my ears and made this stroll a slice of Heaven on Earth. Yeah... sweeeet!

Hiking Music...
actually just Set 2 on the trail...
but I've now listened to this show
twice in the past few days...
and a third time right now.

Grateful Dead with Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Vince Welnick, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann.  Songs by Robert Hunter and John Barlow. Encore by Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Star a.k.a. The Beatles.  No Ron Pigpen McKernan or Brent Mydland or Tom Constanten or Donna Godchaux or Keith Godchaux or Bruce Hornsby or Brent Mydland.

Grateful Dead -- 12/16/94
L.A. Sports Arena
Los Angeles, California

1st Set
Hell In A Bucket, Cold Rain And Snow,
Minglewood Blues, So Many Roads,
Childhood's End, Eternity -> Don't Ease Me In

2nd Set

Eyes Of The World, Samba In The Rain,
Estimated Prophet
-> Jam -> He's Gone ->
Drums -> Space -> The Other One ->
Wharf Rat -> Good Lovin'


Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

*Almost the whole show with Branford Marsalis!*

What a three week span,
from the end of November through mid-December:

Salt Lake-> Denver and back.
Salt Lake-> Oakland and back.
Salt Lake-> Los Angeles and back.

From what I remember of it, that was pretty tiring with a lot of gas money spent but a whole bunch of Dead shows seen. All worth it!

At the time I was not working -- slumming it, sort of. I was all set to start work right after Christmas up at Park City. My mailorder tickets were in hand and all I needed was to find some people to go to some shows. Somehow I convinced my faithful tour buddies Jennamarie and April to head down to LaLaLand for a few days. One problem for them was they were both enrolled at the U (the University of Utah) that semester. Usually it takes no effort to get them to go but this time I had to really really really twist their arms... but they gave in. The middle two L.A. shows were doable for them, on a Friday and a Sunday, provided we leave right after the Sunday show. That following Monday morning they had to get to class without fail -- finals were starting! For that, I commend them even to this day. What a tight squeeze but my girls said what the heck and off we were!

From Salt Lake City to the heart of Los Angeles it's about 700 miles if I remember correctly. In a normal vehicle that would be a fairly easy 10 hour trip. Going by old VW bus it took slightly longer, more like 12-13 hours... it was a haul! Sometime in the afternoon on Thursday we left and headed for I-15 -- Provo, Cedar City, Las Vegas, and the burning shores of California beyond. We didn't get quite that far before ending the first half of the journey about an hour south of Vegas. In the small casino town of Primm, Nevada we got a room for the night. Now if only memory recall was better this many years later. Not even the name of the casino where we stopped can I remember. My mind is just a blank on that night. The next morning I remember we got breakfast in the casino -- but not one of those $1.99 buffet deals, no, we sat down and ordered, a good yummy breakfast to hold us over until parking lot chow at the arena later on.

Cruisin' through the Mojave from Nevada to SoCal is always a breeze and I remember flyin' right down to the beach for our very first stop (other than gettin' gas somewhere along the four hour or so drive from Primm.) Cowboy Chris at the wheel, the bus to LaLaLand... and when we arrived near the coast, I had no idea where to go but I knew the ocean was west, yes, west indeed. So west I went and we landed, I don't remember where, Hermosa or Redondo Beach, down that way, kinda south of the arena but hey, we had the afternoon to kill, no worries! I think I decided to find our way on up to Venice Beach where I'd been before but Jennamarie and April hadn't been -- a cooler spot to waste a few hours doin' basically nothing. As evening approached we busted out the Rand McNally road atlas and figured out how to get to the arena for the show.

So easy it was to get in and parked, I recall that clearly. Same ol' deal for the same ol' band -- same ol' parking lot scene! Ahhhhhhh.... home, in a way! The previous December I had made a similar trip down to SoCal which included San Diego shows, so this was my second time here at this joint. Eventually we made our way inside, probably soaking up the lot atmosphere as much as we could before closin' up the bus, gettin' tix in order, etc. I do remember where we sat for this one. The GD Mailorder folks gave me some pretty nice seats, about mid-court back from the stage and like, I dunno, seven or eight rows up from the floor. Jerry side.

And the show itself? I'm messed up because all these years later, without seein' a setlist it's really difficult for me to give details of a show I was at. Perhaps that's normal? I dunno, but what I do remember about this show -- Branford!!! When he walked out on stage I think my level of bliss just exploded. It hadn't even crossed my mind, I know that. The previous December he played with the Dead here, the SECOND time I got to see him up there with Jerry and the boys. Now a third time? Wow... just foolish to even try to put in words how great that was.

Bucket opened the proceedings on such a high note. This is the quintessential way to open a show in the 1990's, I tell ya what. The place was absolutely rockin'! Flawless and with Branford adding to the sound... YEAH! Jerry was right on with the whole band really kickin' the crap out of this nights opening song.

I don't necessarily like that they didn't go straight into the next tune, Cold Rain and Snow. Instead of segue and just a ton of non-stop dancin', we got a breather before those familiar notes started up a minute or so later. Not bad that was but the Minglewood that followed seemed to kick the show up a notch. Branford stepped up to the plate and belted that song out of the park, baby. The crowd was soooooo into it, so into his bein' up there; what a freakin' treat and a half! And according to Bobby, "these Southland Fillies start lookin' good" 'cause ya know it's "T right here in L.A. now, where the little girls know what to do."

What came next was... once again I'm at a loss for words. New tune So Many Roads wasn't exactly lyrically perfect by Jerry, it's really nice ... but oh my God, the emotion at the end, sittin' here now listening for the third time since that night ....... I can't describe it. Unbelievable. Brought the crowd to its knees. Moments like that seem to multiply the impact of Jerry's early departure from our lives. He left way too soon when he still had so many So Many Roads to sing. Not many would be like this one, that's for sure. Without a doubt that was the high point of this show.

A couple more relatively new songs came next, the better of the two (with all due respect to Phil) being Eternity. At twelve minutes long, the band really gets to open up here and jam. It's a subdued jam and remains within the bounds of the song, but still, and especially with Branford, just gorgeous!

Don't Ease was lyrically a little sloppy but brought us to Halftime on a nice high note. It might have been brief but yet again, Branford shined! Not a bad first set. Not bad at all. What would Set 2 have in store for us?

EYES!!! 21 minutes of juicy Eyes goodness! Branford knew this song well as he's done it before with the Dead. Beautifully played on this night, with his sax filling in an extra sound that's not usually there. In addition, Jerry was mostly right on perfect and so this was just delicious! But once again they didn't transition into the next song. Ugh! Oh well, still just awesomely played!

After a decent Samba (always great for dancin' I think) came the best SoCal song, Estimated! Bobby entertained on this one, doing his patented front-of-the-stage lunges towards the audience. The crowd always gets a kick out of Bobby's antics. Silly Rockstar wannabe! Estimated steamrolls forward until they blow it clear out of the sky and trudge into an this incredible Jam that just teeters teeters teeters on the edge of complete chaos. Holy crap! Absolutely amazing how they didn't just give up and decide to bring it to an end, letting the guys on drums take it from there. Nope, they somehow were able to pull He's Gone out of it. Another total Wow moment! Not quite as Wow as the end of So Many Roads... but wow!

He's Gone moved into a pretty cool session from Billy and Mickey on Drums... but Space with Branford, that was something to look forward to! And it did not fail to impress, that's for sure.
At the end of Mickey playin' with all his toys, a little bit of sax was the first sound I heard with everyone else following. Together they formed... formed what? All there is is this huge amalgamation of sounds, going any which way, doing anything at all. Then when the drummers come back out, time to start listening intently for what'll come next -- The Other One. Mmmmm! It's compact and to the point but oh so nice... and it's criminal, just downright criminal that there is no Soundboard of this show in circulation. I'm seriously thinking someone needs to be banished from this planet for that. Criminal!

Fortunately, a (mostly) well done Wharf Rat helps ease the mind as this show slides ahead into the final few songs. More mmmmm for this one. Musically perfect at times and lyrically it has some really nice emotion. Jerry most definitely pleased the crowd with that one. Good Lovin' then closes out the set with Bob Weird at the mic, hamming it up a little, givin' us a little screamage. It was way too short, though. I mean, it wraps up this LaLaLand wing ding on a nice note and all, but I don't think anyone really wanted it to end!

"Hey, let's hear it for Branford Marsalis, alright?!" Yes, Phil, a big hand for Branford! Believe me, we appreciated him bein' there! The encore, on the other hand... not the best. Did Jerry need a new prescription for his eyeglasses 'cause it appears he had a terrible time reading the LSD lyrics off the teleprompter. The band sounded great on it but lyrically -- sloppy. Oh well. Still, thank you, for an excellent night in L.A.!

Whew. Yeah. Walkin' out of the Sports Arena I remember well because of Branford and the incredible high I was on after seein' that show, my third show with him. Not as outstanding as 9/10/91 back in New York, but still freakin' sweet. The whole lot, it seemed, from car to car, from Head to Head, was so alive with such an electricity!!! And then holy cow, out of the blue, I run into two friends of mine from the [San Fernando] Valley, a couple guys who I had met on tour years before... but sadly for the life of me, their names I cannot remember now. We had been hangin' out for well over and hour and didn't have much time left because the arena security started ushering the leftover straglers out of the lot. Since me and my two friends I was with had no plans at all, the friends I ran into said to follow them back to their place. Hey, what the hell, right?! We were in SoCal, after seein' the Dead, high as a kite on such a great show, nothing to do with the whole next day free, free to do anything at all and no show that night either, anything was possible! So off we went into the night and into the hills. What I thought would be a place to throw down a sleeping bag on a living room or basement floor turned into hippies, heads, and others practically raging until dawn. This house wasn't just a home for sleepin' and goin' to the bathroom, this was a San Fernando Valley party spot. With a ton of people in and out all night long, lots to drink and various other assorted party favors, that was an interesting night to say the least. What I thought would be a fun following day hangin' out around L.A., doin' whatever, seein' whatever, turned into sleeping until noon before finally heading out. Half a day shot but a damn fun time it was, much of which included the unknowing of what was next. One of the many incredible parts of this, and yeah, I'm really gonna (sort of) bust out a much-used term -- one of the many incredible parts of this Long, Strange Trip.

One final thought -- it's so rare that I listen to a show I was fortunate to be at. Listening to such a show, at least this time I know for sure, it really helped bring me back and able to feel a lot of what I had forgotten... or more accurately, a lot of what had melted into one huge memory of Dead bliss. All the shows combined, they've melted into a dream, it seems... but then there's a time like today when I'm able to separate and experience it again, sort of. Very cool.

Sound Quality: above average Audience recording.
No flaws to note. Crowd noise at a minimum.

12/16/94 L.A.
is over @

for listening & downloading.


Countertop said...

Thanks for the memories. Good story, and while I didn't experience it, I certainly did many other times.

Just wish I had all my old ticket stubs. Those GDTS tix were killers with the sparlly stuff and what not on them.

Zooomabooma said...

I mailordered quite often and I tell ya, each time I sliced open an envelope from GDTS, it was like Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Secretaries Day all rolled into one! And that would still be true even if they just sent plain old tickets... but the special mailorder tix -- yeah, they were cool indeed!

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated