I’m so glad I got to experience the Grateful Dead once again. No, I’m not an official “dead head”, but watching the fans and experiencing such a peaceful crowd dancing completely OFF BEAT & literally to the beat of their own drummer was quite a vision. I’ve been meaning to write down my observations, and was reminded to follow through, here you go:
I share a nickname with “Mountain Girl”: I just found out that the house we are renting was formally occupied (Dead heads please take a seat) by Mr. Jerry Garcia and his Love, Mountain Girl..I feel weird referring to her as a girl, but I was corrected when I kept calling her “Mountain Woman”. I can’t help but wonder how Mountain Girl earned that moniker. I had a nickname similar, only it was created by middle school boys after the mountains that developed on my chest.
So this entrance into Grateful Dead culture, reminded me to post my photos and observations regarding my experience attending a Grateful Dead Show in Santa Clara. I wrote something to be published soon, but here’s a little preview.
Unintentional high: It was hard to photograph people as I unintentionally became intoxicated – it was a combination of what I’m pretty sure was a toxic level of Patchouli oil I was forced to inhale, in collaboration with a contact high due to the smoke cloud hovering over Levi’s stadium.
Fashion Rules: Ya know the rule, that you can’t wear a t-shirt with the band your seeing to their concert? Well, that rule does not exist with Grateful Dead fans – you can even buy a t-shirt at the merchandise table and wear it over your old “vintage” Grateful Dead concert t-shirt.
Handbag Rules and Fashion Crimes against Women: Levi’s stadium did everything they could, to make all fans unstylish. Can you imagine that you could only bring in a clutch (men, it’s a small bag without handles)? And no offense, but I imagine many female fans of the Dead don’t own clutches. These rules were created by someone who has never attempted the feat of holding a clutch all night – while it is the most stylish handbag, it’s also the most useless. What about a Fanny Pack people? Isn’t the Fanny Pack the “official” bag of The Grateful Dead and its fans? The “bag” they did allow..Clear plastic bags.. lower end then the ones you get at CVS.
On Wearing Shorts on Stage: At first, I was a little perplexed as to why Bob “Bobby” Weir wore shorts on stage. I meant this is a huge deal – 70,000 people filling Levi’s stadium, and he’s wearing cargo shorts. But I get it, it’s kind of charming. I find the “hippie” fashion preparation for all these musical festivals to be fun, but extremely contrived – I mean who the hell wears flower crowns in every day life paired with the perfect yoga body? I loved that not many fans thought about their looks, they just were having fun and enjoying the nostalgia. As a fashion lover, I actually appreciated this piece of authenticity and didn’t even make snarky comments about the inordinate amount of tie dye.
Dead Heads Still Spin in Gypsy Skirts: I keep name dropping, here I go again. My friend the multi-talented Neal Casal, who gathered an impressive ensemble (including Mark Levy (the Congress) on Drums & Adam MacDougall (Chris Robinson Brotherhood) on keyboard) of musicians to create the break music at the Dead shows. Neal’s music was so good, the stadium remained filled during “intermission” (I know, it’s not the theater), and I got to witness first hand Dead Head spinning action. I tried to be a participant, but let’s face it – I failed due to poor fashion planning (my leggings were so tight, I should’ve worn a cool hippie skirt). The crowd took in every moment, and you could see the joy in their faces, re-living such a huge part of their past. Read more about Neal and the break music here:
Children at the Shows: I was surprised to see children at the shows, selfishly it would seem hard to have fun with all that responsibility. But now I get it – think about the backstory? Years from now these kids will be able to add to any story, “when I was at The Dead Shows in Santa Clara at 3, I decided music was my life” – Perfect quote for a Rolling Stone interview, right? I guess taking my kids to a Neil Diamond cover band as their first official concert doesn’t have the same cache.
Dreads: At Dead Shows you see a lot of dreads, usually they are so long, indicating a lifetime of commitment.
Members of the Tribe: Did the Messiah finally come? At first, I was confused, did I enter some sort of hippie, Rosh Hashanah service? Because, I’m confident (with my 100% JEWDAR) that 90% of the crowd went to my sleep-a-way camp, teen tour or my semester in Israel – you all looked familiar. Let’s just say, I’ve never spotted so many Jews in Northern California.
Fashion Award: My favorite man look at the shows in Santa Clara was another member of Neal Casal’s music ensemble. His gorgeous long dreads combined with low waisted, simple and slight bellbottoms, a cool hat and solid t-shirt worked. Unfortunately for me, I stalked him from behind and shot his photo, not knowing my friend Angela would forward him the photo, and my stalking ways would be revealed. (he takes good care of those dreads, I can tell)
Cute mom in a little music festival look.
Neal Casal & the Talented Musicians behind the break music
Tie Dye. Maxi dresses. Hair flowers. Vintage Dead Concert T-shirts. This was the “look”.
Blurry photo, but check out the length of those dreads.
Haute Drop-Off right here in Santa Clara.