Why this when there are HUNDREDS of shows online to choose from. Well, back in the day they weren't online and about the only thing that circulated were average sounding tapes. But not this. This was a SOUNDBOARD. And it was practically my first intro to the Dead. My real first intro, like many my age was "Without a Net", which is fantastic in it's own right, but it was a BIG release. This was smaller. It felt a hell of a lot cooler, and my god the packaging. How fucking awesome was the packaging? Anyways. My family used to own a furniture company. It was in Bedford, VA and we resided in Forest, VA...or at least we did during this time. Bedford is about exactly 30 minutes away, and for 2 summers I drove there everyday to work on the 4th (5th? Which was it?) packing up all the furniture all the people who worked for us made. I worked with a guy named Punkin', who could be recognized as such by his amazingly round beer gut. It stuck right out there like a perfect globe. Punkin' was good people...REAL good people and I learned a lot from him about how to be in the world without going crazy or being an asshole. RIP my friend. You bought me beer. You imparted knowledge. You smoked cigarettes with me. You taught me how to eat a tomato with just salt and pepper. You are a part of who I am.
So Punkin' and I packed furniture and listened to country music. BAD country music. I heard it all. All the bad Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, and whoever else had a hit that year. Crap.."Achy Breaky Heart" broke that year... and it nearly broke me. Basically, by day I was drowning in this crap, but the ride home was where I got to forget about it all.
30 minutes starting off with "Franklins Tower" or "Must Have Been the Roses" and by the time I got home I had forgotten all about the heat, the monotony and most of all the TERRIBLE FUCKING COUNTRY. It saved, at the very least, my sanity.
I'll through this out there too. Even though there is no way to accurately quantify this, I think I have listened to this album more times than any other album I have ever owned. EVAR.
I miss those rides. I miss the heat. And the monotony. Sometimes I even miss Punkin'. But those days are gone. LONG gone.
That part of the country sucks ass if you're looking for something to do, but my god is it beautiful. Add some good ol' Grateful Dead on top of that and I'd say you've got the makings of something that's almost perfect....and it was.
So, on what is sure to be a fine Fall weekend, roll down the windows, drop the digital needle on this baby and just roll with it....that's my plan..and it would probably be Punkin's too.
We're down to the final TWO folks. It can't get any worse...or can it? Mwah ha ha...hahaha..hahhaahaha..cough...dammit.