The River

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

I was there

Is the title of an review of two live 1978 shows by The Grateful Dead at the Dane County Coliseum, Madison, WI, and the Uni Dome, Univeristy of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls. It's a firsthand report that needed to be quoted in full on The River:

I attended this concert. It was my first Dead show and I didn't know any of the songs and yet I was spellbound. The concert was inside a covered ampitheater normally used for hockey. Since it was February, the rink was protected under plywood and the audience was left to wander about in a giant undulating mass - no seats, no rows, no mosh pits. Seemingly unknown forces moved us like waves across a tide pool. Sometimes we would be close to Jerry and then the next wave would move us past Bobby and Phil.

So what? After listening to this CD I recalled the force which moved us around - the roadies were opening and closing doors to let in cold air. On the CD Mickey and Bill can be heard asking for air and the audience immediately cheers to the rush of frigid Wisconsin winter. The response is a welcome to giant gusts of sub-zero across our faces. The roadies did not time the cool downs to match song resolution and jam transitions and thus the audience can be heard cheering for nothing audible.

This magical CD captures the nuances of wind, ice and audience and a memorable winter day with the Grateful Dead.

P.S. It snowed during the show and when we left all our cars were under a foot of white stuff.

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