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Still Grateful After Thirty Years On The Bus

It was thirty years ago today that as a thirteen year old kid from Long Island your's truly went to his first Grateful Dead show at the Nassau Coliseum on Jan 10th 1979. That was the day I hopped on the bus and still haven't gotten off. That show and the thriving scene around it made a huge impression on me. The Grateful Dead seems to be an on going longterm obsession of mine and I can't see it going away any time soon. Hell, it's been a part of my everyday life ever since that first show. Sure I can't go off on tour anymore; I'm a family man and have more responsibilities than when I was younger, but I make it to as many hip scenes as I can. My way of living it is by going to a few shows and then downloading a whole bunch and living it through the live recordings. Thank God for the Tapers and the internet. They bring the music to me so that I can at least have some of the experience of the show.

That Grateful Dead concert thirty years ago turned out to be the first of many I would go to over the next sixteen and a half years until Jerry Garcia's death. This first show wound up being SOME show when looking at it in retrospect. First of all it was my only Dead show with Keith and Donna in the band. By the time I'd see them next (November), Brent Mydland would be the new guy on keyboards. But if you take a look at the setlist or listen to a recording of this show you'll see how lucky I was to catch it. I didn't realize it till I saw the setlist and listened to it on tape maybe eight to ten years later.

Here's the setlist compliments of 01-10-79 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y. (Wed)
1: Promised, Dire Wolf, Mama Tried> Mexicali, Tennessee Jed, L. L. Rain, Stagger Lee, El Paso, Row Jimmy, Passenger, Loser, Music
2: Shakedown, Miracle> Bertha> Good Lovin, Dark Star> Drumz> Wharf Rat> St. Stephen> Around E: Johnny B. Goode

As you can see I caught such gems as Dark Star and St Stephen, both rare occurrences in the years to follow. The first set was average but solid featuring some classic tunes like Dire Wolf, Tenn Jed, and Loser and a good sampling of Weir cowboy songs in Mama Tried> Mexicali and El Paso. Passanger would also be a song that dissapears from the repertoire soon after this. The second set was when it got real heavy! Obviously I'm a Dark Star fan (see name of my blog). The opener Shakedown, Miracle> Bertha> Good Lovin is sweet. Then comes a pretty intense spacey Dark Star with a kind of Blues For Allah'ish jam in it...Drumz> Wharf Rat> St. Stephen> R&R E: Johnny B. Goode. Strong second half of the set with a St. Stephen for my FIRST Grateful Dead concert...Wow! And that would prove to be my only St Stephen, but I would catch quite a few more Dark Star's after they broke it back out in '89.

When I look back at this show and think that it was thirty years ago I just can't believe it. I was sold at that point, hook, line, and sinker and continued to go to shows through the end. And now I continue to see any Grateful Dead related activities like Phil Lesh and Friends, Ratdog, The Dead etc. I'll be heading out soon to see at least 4 of The Dead Spring '09 shows, and as I prepare to go to the Nassau Coliseum, once again, I can't help but notice how things have come full circle. What a long strange trip it's been. Hope to see ya there, for a real good time.

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