No, it’s all feeling.
When I obsess, then whatever the object of the obsession is gets airtime, basically 24/7. I am one of those people who can play a CD on repeat for a month.
I can even play one particular song on repeat for a month. Especially if I am going through something challenging.
These are a few of my shit show go-to bands:
Zoe Muth and the Lost Highrollers – she always manages to put a little sass in my step. I wear my cowboy boots when I listen to her.
Ryan Adams – sad, depressing, agonizing, put me in a dark room, I’m never going to feel better, music.
The Blackberry Bushes – the first song on one CD begins with a vocal intro, not musical. When I hear the very first word, I am transported back to the doom and gloom. But they sure helped me then.
So the theme of this era…
A return to the very essence of who I am…
A return to the time in my life when I was filled with joy. A return to a life that fulfilled me, nurtured life-long friendships, and had me traveling all around the country.
The Grateful Dead.
It’s safe music. No lyrics that are going to toss me over the edge (like a sad country song) or remind me of something incredibly painful or beautiful in the ending relationship.
Joy. Fun. Excitement. Community. Silliness. Love.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I’ve ever NOT listened to them, but less so when surrounded with people, my family, who don’t like, appreciate, or understand the genius behind this “Rock Group.”
For example, my ex-husband hated them because they represented a culture of drug use.
Okay, yes, sure, they did, but there was so. much. more.
Many of my friends, the majority actually, are not enraptured by the Dead. That’s okay. But when I meet a fellow Dead Head, there is an immediate affinity, a knowing look exchanged
I’ve gone the roads of classic country, 90’s gangsta rap, Elvis, Dolly, and many other detours, but the GD foundation has never been shaken.
One time, back in Boulder, I made the fatal error of letting a friend borrow a LOT of my bootlegs tapes to copy. I never saw them again.
So then I’ve relied on studio albums – CDs that I could purchase – which is fine and well, but not like a good ole live show.
And then, years behind the rest of the world, I have just discovered youtube. There are actually hundreds, maybe even thousands of live shows, right at my fingertips.
I am beyond obsessed. I constantly have a show playing on my laptop. It’s the biggest treat in the world to open my computer to deal with something painful and daunting like auto insurance, and suddenly I’m hearing Jerry singing Stella Blue and I smile.
And let’s talk about watching the shows, basically from onstage, instead of the floor (because I never sat in seats.) It brings a whole new perspective on the whole thing.
If you don’t care about the Dead, then watching a bunch of middle-aged men basically stand still in muted colors, playing guitars, probably won’t do much for you.
But if you do care about and love these boys, then you can understand the thrill of seeing them up close and personal.
And the very best thing right now is watching Shows that I attended. Seeing those, from the insider’s angle of the stage, brings so much more feeling to my experience of a Dead Show.
It give me chills.
And brings me peace.
I miss that era of my life. It really was fantastic. It shaped who I am today.
I feel so much love for those with whom I shared the beauty of road tripping and falafel in the parking lots and spinning in the hallways, and connection – with myself, with my comrades, with the other Dead Heads, and with the world at large.
It’s hard to explain, unless you lived it.
I lived it.
I listen and watch and memories flood in, many of them sort of “insider” snapshots like, “Oh that’s right, Bobby went through that barefoot phase. Jerry’s wearing a sweater?!? Micky Hart is just fucking weird looking.”
I gaze adoringly at Phil’s red, white, and blue wristbands.
I love to play Guess This Song when the first cords are played.
When Bobby starts his screaming, I laugh – like it’s an inside joke.
When Jerry speaks, I notice. I am stunned. Because I toured through the era of him, them, never speaking onstage.
I understand the significance of The Greek Theater. I can say that I’ve been to New Year’s shows.
I’ve had miracles.
So when I start to get sad, or spin out, or feel despair, I imagine myself in the parking lot running around with a shit eating grin and more ecstatic anticipation of the night to come than even the very best date in the world.
When I put on a Show, I think about my connection with other humans, I remember that there is an entire world of other beings feeling the same love and goodness that I do.
I get my feet back under me.
And I get to listen to some fucking bad ass music.