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  • Rich Kassirer

Sunshine Daydreamin'

Me, circa 1981

In our youth we spent some time doing the Grateful Dead thing. Not the full-on, traveling show to show across the country, but we did strike out from time to time from our home base in Boston to visit with friends and relatives – and maybe catch a Dead show that happened to be in their area. Sometimes the journey getting there was just as fun as being at the concert. And since we’ve been discussing the Dead a bit in this issue, it seems like a good time to look back on some of those long, strange trips.

Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, Maine, 9/17/82    My sister, her boyfriend and I left Boston and traveled the two-plus hours, certain we could buy tickets when we got there. After some initial trouble finding a seller, we split up, me going it alone and planning to meet them inside. I got a ticket. They didn’t. I had an awesome time inside, they had almost as good a time partying in the parking lot. Concert highlight: “High Time’’ (I’d never heard it live), “Women Are Smarter” (love the tune), and a great “Morning Dew.” Also, apparently it was the first-ever time “Throwing Stones” was played in concert.

War Memorial, Rochester, NY, 4/9/82 My sister and I met up with my cousin Steve, a huge Deadhead. We partied like it was 1977. Can’t for the life of me remember how or why we decided to drive 7 1/2 hours to Rochester. Concert highlight: “China Cat/I Know You Rider’’; “Satisfaction” finale with “Brokedown Palace’’ encore.

The Coliseum, Hampton, VA, 4/9/83  I had a friend who was going to school at Virginia Tech and figured we’d go visit him and then see the show. Got down to VT only to find out that Hampton was almost 5 hours away. And we didn’t have tickets. As I learned, that is not actually a problem on a college campus. So we made the trek and had a great time. Concert highlight: New tunes “West LA Fadeaway,” “Brother Esau.”

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY, 6/18/83  My friend Rich and I drove to meet Jeff, who was coming by bus, in Albany. We got to the station and Jeff was nowhere to be found – we thought. We had an elaborate plan in case there were issues (no cellphones in 1983!) which we deployed. After a 40-minute mission to find him, it turned out he was at the other end of station the entire time. We made it to SPAC in plenty of time. Concert highlight: It was a beautiful day, but as night started to fall, there were thunderstorms in the area… the Dead played “Scarlet Begonias/Fire on the Mountain” as lightning went off in the distance. At the beginning Brent teased the tune “I Can See Clearly Now (the Rain Is Gone).”

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