Yesterday I left off with meeting the guy who might have an extra ticket so here goes...
This dude looked like he would be more comfortable in a nice restaurant overlooking the bay in Sausalito, but I was intrigued and chatted him up. He looked like a cross between a J. Crew catalog model and someone looking to join a volleyball game on the beach. Damn, those might be the same thing, but who am I to judge? It seemed that his friend was supposed to meet him but hadn’t shown up and was already an hour late. This is not a lot in bay area transportation time, so he told me that he would meet me in an hour near the entrance if his friend still had not shown up. It wasn’t going to be a miracle, though. He wanted to the $20 or $25 face value of the ticket.
Score! We parted ways, but I sort of kept my eye on him as much as I could, staying in the area. I had an hour to kill so I found a burrito and a beer (or three) from some nice folks in a psychedelic school bus. It seemed like it was going to be a long night, so I figured a full belly was a good idea. I was all of 21 and thought I knew the world pretty well in those days, but even though I was still plenty naïve about a lot of things, I knew to make sure my body was ready for what might come my way.
The hour passed and I saw him standing alone where he said he would be. My heart began to race because I knew I was going to get in the show. There were rumors going around that there was going to be some great special guest appearances due to the death of Bill Graham just a day before we headed out. In fact, I can’t even believe I’m just remembering that fact now. When we heard Graham had died, we weren’t even sure the shows were going to happen.
So here I was about to get super lucky and get one of the most in demand tickets to a Dead show in recent history (for those days). Halloween shows were always special, from what I’ve heard, so I was jazzed to see the guy standing by himself. As I got closer, I saw a pretty, young lady approaching him as well. I thought, “Oh shit. There goes my ticket.”
She looked at me and I looked at her. I was not a single guy in those days, but thoughts were crossing my mind. If I had to lose my ticket to someone, maybe I could make a new friend? Probably not, I concluded quickly and the yuppie deadhead (who may have never even heard a Dead song prior) with the extra ticket had an “Oh shit” look on his face. He did not look happy to see me at all.
“What’s up?” I asked the guy.
“Well, uh…I didn’t think you were going to be back,” he said looking squarely at me while trying to smile at the girl.
Either he was full of shit or just not very aware of his surroundings because I hadn’t strayed too far away. “I’m here. I’m guessing you promised the ticket to both of us?” More sheepish looks, but I was a bit faster than he was. I looked at her and said, “How about we flip for it?” pulling a quarter out of my pocket. “No hard feelings either way.”
She said that was fair and fine with her, so I asked her to call it. She called “Tails” and I flipped the coin. I must admit that watching the coin flip through the air was a nervous moment. I didn’t really want to have to roam the lot for three or four hours at night in Oakland in October. Even though I had my leather jacket, it was still cold and damp and Dead shows went on and on sometimes.
Luckily for me, the coin was heads. The girl gave me a hug and walked away with some haste, probably off to try and find another miracle. I gave the guy the money, popped a tiny floppy disk into my mouth and tucked it up onto my gum like I always did, and headed into the show. The guy got away from me somewhat rapidly, not sure why, and I was on my own again.
It was show time in a matter of minutes and lights went down in the Coliseum. I had a hard time finding a place to seat as it was packed to the gills. Thanks to the data, my eyes were having a little trouble at first adjusting to the dark, so I just kept climbing higher and higher into the upper part of the arena. When I got to the top row, I found a seat kind of by myself in front of a couple of windows that opened into a broadcast booth at the top of the stadium.
Being the curious fellow that I am, I looked into the window and there was an older guy in there, chomping on a cigar watching game 7 of the Minnesota/Atlanta world series that was happening that year. Jack Morris was on the mound against John Smoltz and there was no score in the 8th. I didn’t know whether to watch the Dead or watch the game and the data was coming on fast. What was a baseball lover to do?
While I am very fond of the Dead, baseball kind of won out there for a bit. The old guy noticed I was watching the game and even moved the set so I could see a bit better. I wonder if he realized I was seeing the baseball move in a way different way than he was. The Dead had opened with “Sugar Magnolia”, and it was a scorcher from then on, but to be honest, there was not a lot to see other than the crazy lights throughout the arena while the band played, so I watched the game as much as I could.
To be continued...
See you tomorrow.
Until I find another picture that will work...