Friday, April 15, 2011

Grateful Dead War stories: The Harmonic Convergence

Inspired by a recent post on dead.net by Oakland local, Blair Jackson, I've written one of my favorite Grateful Dead "war" stories from the road.  From 1986 - 1995 my wife Annetta and many other friends joined me in "grateful dead jet setting".  From Eugene to Berlin, Paris, Memphis, New York, Philadelphia and Las Vegas, the circus never stopped.

Here's my story of the weekend of August 14 - 16, 1987, in Telluride, Colorado.  The Grateful Dead had never played Telluride before or after this weekend in 1987.  Some "New Age" prognosticator had deemed this time, particularly the Sunday of the weekend, to be the time of "The Harmonic Convergence", so we all converged on Telluride in Southwest Colorado.

Telluride is at the base of a beautiful box canyon.


  •  What is particular toTelluride are several things: 
    • It's exclusive
    • It's expensive
    • Bill Graham had a place there
    • It's not necessarily open to hippies
All of these issues presented big challenges for the growing empire of Deadheads throughout the states by 1987.  When the Dead and Dylan played a series of 6 shows the month before, Bill Graham, the Dead's principal producer, and Grateful Dead Productions, warned "the ticketless masses" to stay away from Telluride if you didn't have a ticket.  The capacity was limited to 10,000 I believe, though I was never sure of how Bill Graham Presents counted...

We were fortunate to have tickets to see the Dead outside Denver at Red Rocks Ampitheatre - 1 of the most beautiful places in the world to see anything.





Our war stories are always happy ones: at Telluride in 87 we got to town Friday afternoon without a place to stay. Yes, we had sleeping bags & a tent in our car, but we're really not campers. On the road into town we met a woman who had a sign: room for the weekend! Right on. Her cottage about 3 blocks from the Town Park, where the Dead would play Saturday and Sunday in the afternoon,  was barely 2 bedrooms; there was no door for our bedroom - $200 for the weekend, a steal by Telluride prices - just an Indian bedspread. It made me think of Berkeley in 1967.  Our hostess, Laurel,  had a wonderful big dog, Burke, who liked us, so we were made in the shade. The $200 was her approximate winter heating cost, so we really made a positive impact on her life. It was the most romantic weekend - our second honeymoon, having been married August 2 the year before (and having missed Red Rocks, our intended first honeymoon in 86). Our time in Brokedown Palace as we lovingly called this place was one of the greatest honeymoons we've had.



Nothing compares to the wonder of the Dead road experiences.



5 comments:

Mark said...

Truly one of the best dead road shows ever...with Olatunji leading a sunrise chanting and drum circle on the day of the convergence on the concert site.

gregoire said...

Yes, it was the last time I really saw the Deadheads going out of their way to clean up. One fellow was picking up cigarette butts along the sidewalk before Saturday's show; another bunch just sweeping up. Wonderful weather. And we slept through Mickey & Olatunji's morning event: we were converging just fine!

Unknown said...

Absolutely magical, several of us flew in from Eugene, and a Merry Prankster from the Bay area. 21 months sober, the Wharf-rats were my thing, and I'll never forget the sunlight on the boys on stage and also being 'shown the light' when Buddhist Monks explained that 'Yes, It was a window to the Age of Aquarius, and yes it is true that Rocks and Birds talk to you." And Bobby and Jerry played like they did in the early days.

Unknown said...

Absolutely magical, several of us flew in from Eugene, and a Merry Prankster from the Bay area. 21 months sober, the Wharf-rats were my thing, and I'll never forget the sunlight on the boys on stage and also being 'shown the light' when Buddhist Monks explained that 'Yes, It was a window to the Age of Aquarius, and yes it is true that Rocks and Birds talk to you." And Bobby and Jerry played like they did in the early days.

robbi cohn said...

please add copyright info to the pic of bobby and jerry....©1987 robbi cohn/dead images

thanks!!

robbi cohn