Life Lessons from the Grateful Dead Concert

Life Lessons from the Grateful Dead Concert

Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something you really wanted to do, because you were tired, or lazy, or scared, or you didn’t want to do it alone?

I almost stopped myself from doing my passion, and in almost doing it I learned a big lesson.

Julia Dead Lot Chicago 1993Many of you know that my first business was selling custom designed T-shirts at Grateful Dead concerts in the early 90s. I followed them to cities all around the country, and attended too many concerts to count. In fact, I attended over 100 shows since my first experience, Englishtown, New Jersey in 1977. There’s me in 1993 in Chicago selling “Jerry’s Acid Park” Tshirts to the crowds at Soldier Field.

It was such an important tribe for me, the Deadheads. I even wound up moving to Dead central, north of San Francisco, where tie dyes are normal daily wear and original Dead members Bobby, Mickey and Phil play concerts all the time.

So why when I heard about the “Fare The Well” 50th anniversary shows in Santa Clara did I not just buy tickets and go down there?

I had my reasons: We didn’t get chosen when we sent in for the mail order tickets, then my husband decided he didn’t want to go at all, we could stream instead on our great media system. Then I wasn’t sure if it would be depressing, cuz Jerry Garcia died 20 years ago and it’s never been the same since. Then I thought about the long drive to south bay through traffic, and the high ticket prices. Then I thought they were sold out. My mind was filled with excuses not to go. Blah blah blah.

On Saturday night, we watched the livestream of the concert and it was incredible. When I woke up the next day, I was feeling totally torn. My husband called me crazy for thinking about faring those crowds. I nearly drove myself nutty with my back and forth.

Do you know that sinking feeling in your gut when you’re convincing yourself out of what you really want?

I decided to go online just to see what kind of seat I could get. There was a great seat for $230 and I read the parking would be $75. I wrote on a Facebook Grateful Dead thread that I was thinking about it.

“$230 for a ticket, $75 for parking, 2 hour drive… hmmmm” and someone on that thread responded “If not now, then when?”

That comment echoed in my mind. The tribe was calling me.

I could feel my ambivalence melting, replaced by that old guerilla Dead-head attitude I used to build a solid 5-figure business on the parking lots of Grateful Dead America.

Julia Shakedown 6-28-15I bought the ticket, got in my car and drove. It took three hours to drive through heinous traffic to get to the stadium. I was still unsure about my choice until stopped at a light right in front of the stadium, a huge crowd walked in front of my car, including one woman wearing a T-shirt I designed in 1995.

I shouted out the window of my car, “Hey 1995 Tshirt Lady!” She turned around and I said, “I designed that shirt!” She gave me the thumbs up and as she walked away I burst into tears. I was really meant to be there.

Once parked, (see pic of me to right in the “Shakedown Street” parking lot. I walked for over an hour through intense crowds before I could get my ticket at will call, and then I fared another long walk pushed and shoved through a tiny gate to finally get to my seats. Ahh. Here’s a picture of when I had Julia at the SC Dead Show 6-28-15finally arrived at my seat.. Section C136, Row 7, Seat 11 during New Minglewood Blues!

I was so blissed out I just danced and sang all night. The young folks around me (too young to have seen Jerry live in the day) fell in love with me. “You have such great energy,” they said. I got lots of smiles and hugs, just for being me.

That’s what it’s like when you’re in with your tribe. It’s hard to express the feeling I had being with 70,000 of my people, singing the words to my beloved songs.

Though the band members are old, they still rocked it out. I cannot believe I almost let laziness stop me from going.

Today there are tens of thousands of Deadheads descending on Chicago for the last 3 shows in 50 years of Grateful Dead history. I’m sitting here waiting for the livestream wishing I’d made the flight out there and purchased a 3 day pass. But instead I’ll enjoy it on the livestream. The sound is actually better on our system than at the show.

Still, I’d rather be with my tribe. I’m glad I went last week but not being there today is a big lesson for me.

I saw the Dead on LSD 1995 TshirtI’m not getting any younger, and I want to stop allowing indecision and waffling to keep me from experiencing life to the fullest.

Tonight as I dance my crazy spin to the livestream, I’ll wear my “I saw the Dead on Lake Shore Drive” vintage 1995 T-Shirt and I’ll be with my tribe in spirit.

And I won’t forget it next time I’m feeling too tired, afraid, or lonely to do what I really want. When you follow your passion, your tribe shows up to take care of you. It’s always worth it.

 

Comments

Comments

  1. Barbara Saunders says:

    Yeppers! I had a great time on Saturday, standing behind a dad (obviously and old timer) and his son. The dad’s hair was white and the son’s red; their cowlicks were mirror images. Great time!

  2. I thought of you when I watched the Grateful Dead show excerpt on Chicagoland TV the other night.
    I wondered if you were here. They truly were quite a tribe. If you weren’t there you shoulda been. I was in the Evanston parade on the 4th and there were many, many Grateful Dead spinoffs marching along from the previous night. Again I thought of you and saw your note about lessons learned from the Grateful Dead. We were all in sync I guess.

  3. I heard a great segment on the Dead on KPFA’s Upfront morning show on Thursday. It was really interesting, and brought back lots of memories. Glad you made it to the concert!

    Blessings,
    Dana

  4. Satya Grace says:

    AWESOME INSPIRING POST! WAY TO GO JULIA!

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