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The first review I did after night one in Santa Clara, I made a joke that based on current events legalizing Gay Marriage and being in the San Francisco area, Gay people arranged to have a rainbow arc over the Stadium at the end of the first set. Within hours the story of man made rainbows was everywhere. Well, this weekend, the production crew spent $1.5 Million dollars to completely stop wind in the Windy City. Barely a breeze for 4 days… The Grateful Dead, when working together, are the most powerful force in the universe. Even nature holds its breath when they play.

I woke up attempting to put together some type of synopsis about the events of the past 48-72 hours and it all seems so far from me right now. Like I’m reaching for the Gold Ring but it just slips away… So much time and energy has gone into it all since January. So much commitment over the decades… So many miles in the rear view mirror… So many incredible people… Places… So much laughter… So many tears… My emotions seemed to be waiting bedside when I got up this morning. It’s as if they were preloaded and set to be released but not before being given the chance to interfere with the potential of blocking any coherent thought I may possess… Conversation isn’t as natural as it seemed yesterday as decades of experiences wrapped in magic pass through my head like the finger of The Maker is turning the pages of the scrapbook in my mind.

I woke up Sunday morning with a sense of impending doom. I felt like I had a funeral to attend. I did what I did every morning, checked the safe in my room 5-10 times to make sure my tickets didn’t disappear. I met my pal, Eric, for breakfast and it seemed a little harder than usual to have a conversation or even string a few cohesive thoughts together. I tried everything in my limited power to make the clock move slower than it had been running since I got here on Thursday. After breakfast I went to the Congress Art thing to look around. I stopped at Robbi Cohn’s booth and just looked at pictures. I had every intention of making a purchase. Robbi, in her gentle way, said I was welcome to step behind the table to take a closer look. As I sat there, I was completely immersed in images of Garcia. I couldn’t hold back the tears so I did what a lot of men might do. I ran out of there like the Sheriff was after me. Emotions were running a little high…

I got a message from David Gans inviting me down to the Sirius tent for the preshow broadcast. I sat in my room and reflected on everything that’s transpired in the past few months. Between the time of his invite and the time I arrived, multiple people far more relevant than me stopped by the tent that served as the studio. David said he might not be able to get me on the show with the influx of real GD Celebrity and I understood as I have absolutely no inflated sense of my relevance. He said to hang around if I could and I’m glad I did. Carolyn Garcia stopped in with Trixie and that’s when everything turned around for me. Trixie is even more beautiful in person and when I look at her I see Jerry’s contribution to her genetic makeup and that just makes me happy. When Carolyn spoke, she emitted a certainty about nothing really ending but new beginnings that were being created. She talked about all of us continuing to do beautiful things together as a community. It changed something in me. It completely altered my internal energy and vibration. I started feeling like this was really not the end but a whole new beginning for all of us, together. Thanks Carolyn! David did end up putting me on the show and that was pretty wild for an absolute nobody that has been listening to The Grateful Dead Hour since the 80s.

As I took in the scene, interestingly enough, Peter Shapiro walked by. We’ve communicated by text almost daily since our initial encounter. I introduced myself and in an instant, you could hear the song “Dream Weaver” playing all around us as we shared a bromantic moment filled with Love. Some folks hug you out of obligation or as if they really would rather not. You can tell a lot about people by the way they hug you and Shapiro hugged me like I was a relative at his kid’s Bar Mitzvah. I hugged him back like he was a relative at my kid’s baptism. Heart to Heart and sincerely. The energy created cleared a sizable circle around us that no human could possibly walk through and live. Lucky for me, my brother Eric Schwartz from Lone Star Dead Radio, was there to capture the moment.

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Peter Shapiro caught plenty of heat throughout this ordeal leading up to this past weekend. He took it like a leader. It’s time to recognize Shapiro for what he accomplished. Peter Shapiro is full of Love and cares more about our community than any other promoter that could’ve got the job. For those that said he was in over his head on this one, You were wrong. Peter Shapiro and Madison House put on one the greatest Grateful Dead experiences our community has ever witnessed. An event of that magnitude has more moving parts than most could ever imagine. The way fans were treated in and around the venue was unmatched. You had to be a real asshole to have a problem or get in trouble there. The displays, the roses, everything was ALL Dead ALL Weekend. The technical aspects of the show were tremendous. Sound and staging were awesome and the visual feast and lighting was brilliant! Fireworks and then… More Fireworks!!! I don’t think anybody alive could have done a better job than Peter Shapiro and the team that he assembled.

I wondered if Jeff Chimenti slept with the sound guy’s girlfriend though… If he did, Bruce must have been in on it too… Sound Master wasn’t interested in hearing much from Bruce and Jeff at all. Saturday Night it seemed like there may have been some hope for the guys tickling the ivories but it was short lived. It’s too bad, Jeff was having a blast and he’s an outstanding keyboard player but you wouldn’t be expected to know that after the past 5 shows. Smaller things like that didn’t have the power to take away from what we all experienced. Everything about the weekend was absolutely near perfect.

I do have one beef though… Who the hell designed Soldier Field?? Getting out of there every night was like having a flash back to being a fetus all over again. 70,000 people trying to get out of doors that were smaller than the front door at my house and we only have 4 of us getting in and out of ours. I felt like I was stuck in the birth canal just waiting for another contraction to move me along. I’m not sure how that design ever passed any type of inspection in Chicago but well… It is Chicago… That’s all I’m gonna say about that… Had a steady job…

On with the show! The band taking the stage caused immediate tears from those that didn’t catch the rap that Carolyn was laying down on Sirius. The band huddled together and so did we. It’s my understanding that Weir was the quarterback and called the play, “China Rider Estimated Built Samson To Moon Stones!” They broke the huddle and all flanked out to their respective positions. Game Time!!! Just hearing the tuning and foreplay before the first notes of Chinacat elicit the same response as Pavlov got from his dogs. It’s one of the staples of our existence in music. Those opening notes have always immediately signaled the beginning of something special. This was no different. The Biggest Dance Party of the last 2 decades had officially begun! The music was rich and thick with meaning and emotion and every note seemed to be squeezed a little harder as we cherished each and every one just a little more than usual.

Bob Weir stepped up to the plate in a huge way this weekend. It seemed like the same Maker turning the pages in my mind granted Bob a week’s return to the days of his youth. He seemed to become younger and younger each night. His ability to completely command the moment was exceptional every night and he reached in and grabbed pieces and pictures of all the years combined and put them on full display. It was like a wise elder showing you auditory pictures of your entire family album. He pushed as hard as I’ve seen him push himself going for the falsetto stuff and had moments that he actually got there. Estimated and Samson were strong and The Lost Sailor-> Saint and Saturday Night the night before were incredible. Even the flaws were flawless. I could name all the songs but we all know how it went down. One of Sunday’s highlights was definitely Throwing Stones. The interplay and connection toward the end between Bob, Phil and Trey was high voltage. These guys were having as much fun as we were. Weir started throwing chords into space like he didn’t give a shit if his shoulder exploded or not. Damn thing probably got all healed up during that jam! Shit like that will drop a healing on you with quickness!!! Probably icing that bitch today like a major league pitcher… You get all high in the moment and you can kick a medicine ball 20 yards with a broken foot! Feel that shit the next day though…

For the first time since the shows started I didn’t give a shit how long intermission was. I wanted it all to slow down a little. Everything about the entire weekend went far too fast. Except that West L.A. Fadeaway and Foolish Heart. Those were the musical equivalent of Bugs Bunny saying “Watch me perplex em with my super duper slow ball!” I needed to have the absence of gravity in order to move slow enough to dance to those tunes… The folks in the space station could’ve found the right moves for that pace. How did Hornsby discuss how he wanted to play that one??? “Here’s how I wanna do it, We’ll begin at a complete stop and just turn it up 1 notch from there!” I’ve had Court Appearances that moved along quicker than that…

I think the first set might have made a better second set to be honest with you, maybe trade that Althea for the Throwing Stones that probably should have been before NFA and keep Terrapin where it was but what the hell do I know anyway? I’m just a hack with a keyboard… It was all exactly how they wanted it I guess, and that was cool with me. Hearing those first notes of Althea was special. Althea is one of my favorite songs Garcia ever sang. You know who can sing Althea with the kind of depth that makes you feel as though every verse is a lifetime’s worth of wisdom? You know who has a voice that comes over you with such sweetness that you have to squint while you listen to it for some unknown reason? You know who has a voice that covers over you completely and resonates in the same key as your Soul eliciting the same neurological response as an infant has from their mother? You know who sits right in the midst of that story with their delivery of the lyric and sings completely independent and detached from the actions or tempo of their own hands and fingers while they play? Not Trey… Before the Phish people get a little too full of themselves, y’all might wanna pump the fuckin brakes right there… The answer is clearly, Garcia and NOBODY else that’s who… Trey was incredible and you could tell he loved singing that one. I loved hearing it but we gotta be honest about that.

Listening to Trey the past 5 shows has been incredible. I’ve read articles from mainstream news sources that have said Trey was filling in for Garcia. Trey was a guitarist for the shows but nobody fills in for Garcia. Those shoes only fit one pair of feet and those feet, along with the shoes, are gone. That being said, Trey was the only guy out there that has never tried to act like Garcia in the first place. His take on Standing On The Moon came across as sincere as a man could sing it. When it started, even a Trey fan like myself thought, “This could be a Bad Idea”. I was Dead Wrong! He sang it from a place that brought you closer to him. He sung it in a way that completely allowed this intrinsically genuine quality he possesses to be on display. I got the chills a little bit hearing it. You can tell how deep a well is by throwing a coin in it and listening for the sound. Saturday night during the solo in Stella Blue, Trey hit one note that absolutely struck me right in the center of my being. That note came from deep within his Soul. It was the reason why he was the right guitar for the job. Behind his seemingly humble eyes exists a soul that goes much deeper than the others. He’s done what he’s done without ever trying to act like anybody other than Trey. When you’re as cool as Trey, people try to act like you, you don’t try to act like other people… Trey added LIFE to that line up. He added something that only he had that needed to be there. His presence made everybody around him better as much as everybody else’s presence made him better. Trey did a stellar job being Trey while playing some songs that always have and always will be owned completely and totally by Garcia. With the song catalog he had before him, for the first time in his career he was able to sing a bunch of songs that really meant something. In a few weeks it’s back to serpent deflectors, mudrat detectors and running Antelopes. Don’t get me wrong, Phish is still the only other band I get on airplanes to see. Over 200 shows since 91 and hopefully at least that many more in my future. If you’re a 20 year old male with red hair and you got laid this weekend, you can Thank Trey!!! That brother single-handedly made being a dude with red hair cool!

The Touch of Grey encore was a little interesting to me. What made it interesting from my perspective is that it sounded like it lacked any real confidence. “It’s even worse than it appears but It’s all right” You know why? Maybe it’s not all right… Maybe the fact that Bob, Bill, Mickey and Phil are all still alive and able to make absolute Magic together yet are choosing not to is just really NOT all right… I’m not one of the people that think there should be full Tours because I’m certain I’d abandon all logic and wreck my life like I did so many times in the past to be part of it all again. BUT, I think 5 Shows a year until we’re all Dead isn’t a bad plan… I’ve seen every side project dozens of times and what I hear when I go is Music. What I experienced this past weekend went way beyond music… The Who began doing Farewell Tours in 1985. I won’t hate anybody if they rethink the whole damn thing and decide on a few more next year… Or in The Fall… At MSG… Just talkin a little to myself… And anybody else out there… Might be too soon for the conversation but I’m just throwing it out there… Maybe talk to Trey… Phish tried to call it quits but realized without each other they could only play songs but WITH each other they create something that goes way further than that… That’s all I’m gonna say about that for now… Attics was near perfect…

I had another thought this weekend… Phil does his Organ Donor Rap to all of us every night since he got the Liver. I hope if I ever gave up an organ for someone they would be half as grateful as Phil. I’ve met a lot of folks that have received organs that saved their lives but I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed someone that has shown the appreciation for it that he has. It’s really beautiful to see in a world where gratitude for contributions seems relatively short lived. One thing though… I can’t definitively assess the condition of the organs at Grateful Dead related events but from the looks of things, there weren’t many organs in there that would be in very good condition… No offense y’all but Soldier Field appeared to be like The Dollar Store of Organ Shopping… If I need an Organ, I hope I get it from a Taylor Swift Fan… I’m sure it would be in much better shape… All I can say is Thanks Cody!!! Thanks Phil for the extent of your gratitude and ongoing commitment to a worthy cause! Don’t forget to let your friends and family know that if something unforeseen happens to you, you want to be an organ donor!

There’s so many other things I’d like to talk about but this has gotten far too long already. If you’re still reading, I’m absolutely amazed because there’s no way in hell I would read this much of someone else’s shit… I don’t know where I’m going from here but I’ll just keep on moving along, putting my pants on like everyone else, both feet at the same time! Thanks to the countless folks that have supported me and were so incredibly kind to me this weekend. Your support has kept me going. Thanks to my family from Section 107! You know who you are!!! Having the same seats for 3 days helped us to create the kind of bonds with people that never would have been possible otherwise. I’m cosmically bonded to the folks I shared the weekend with forever! We had a GREAT crew there and I couldn’t be more grateful to get to know you folks throughout the weekend. Since they were all high level narcotics distributors, they didn’t want to be mentioned by name… I’d imagine that was the case for a lot of you as well. Meeting people I’ve shared the experience with through Social Media was just as much of a blast. “Never had such a good time, In My Life before!!!! I’d like to do it one time more! One long ride from start to end I’d like to take that ride again!!!!!!!” There’s no more tickets left in my envelope…

This thing is too long to proof read… Like The Dead, I don’t give a shit if there’s a few mistakes… My tears of Appreciation flow for the kindness you’ve all shown me along the way… I could never thank you enough…

Dead To The Core,

Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)

35 thoughts on “Turning Back The Clock In Chicago

  1. Jim Daley

    Hey Dead, I really enjoyed skimming through the above article, reading most of it because I couldn’t stop. I found Chicago incredible, the experience will live in me forever. I have self published a Grateful Dead book, the title is above. Hopefully you’ve heard of it already. I’m going to write another about the Chicago journey, mine and any others who would like to contribute. I wish David had invited me to the booth. I made sure to let him know I was going. That would’ve been special.
    Bye for now.
    Chat back if you like. I’m on Facebook obviously.
    Jim Daley

  2. Chad Mason

    We might be in luck, I did in fact see one…I don’t know “fan” wearing I can’t make this up, a Taylor Swift tour shirt after the Saturday show! I saw it walking in front of me, I was lost on the wrong side of the stadium and I heard someone behind me whisper in a hushed tone to this fact, which was met by my own shit eating grin as I turned to see who said that! It can always get stranger…

  3. Liz Tree

    Dean, well I did read the whole thing. THANK YOU!! as you may know,”if you follow me on here like I follow you on here”, I was in SC but not Chicago. I don’t follow any mainstream TV, news etc so Your my cosmic reporter on the scene (you and my old tour buddy who texted me during the show-something I wouldn’t do but thankful she did). I totally relate to trying to slow time down at breakfast and wanting the break to last almost forever. The opening Notes of China Cat would have had me in a puddle. (here at home I cried through the entire Box of Rain. ) Every line of almost every song seems more poignant than ever! I also agree about Trey he was great But he wasn’t “fiiling in” for Jerry. Wish I was as eloquent with words as you are so I’ll stop here and say Thank you again!
    Liz Tree

  4. Ben

    Dean, ever since we found out about this whole thing, and I found your blog, I’ve looked forward to reading all of your writings, and I’m always glad I took the time. This piece is no exception. Thank you for putting into words the things so many of us feel, but sometimes struggle to express. I hope you continue to gift us with your words. This IS a new beginning…which brings me to this: Bobby had a brief interview that was aired live after the show on the webcast. When asked if this band, or he in another band would be doing any touring. His response was : “There’s gonna be stuff…” , followed by a big smile. This brings me comfort. Not sure what Phil is going to do with his “exclusive” Shapiro relationship, but Bobby says THERE’S GONNA BE STUFF!!! That’s really all I needed to hear. Dean, thanks again for all you’ve done so far…

  5. Josh

    Dude, you did a great job narrating this trip from January till July.
    I appreciated your humor, honesty, and most of all your gift for capturing in print what those moments of magic were back in those days. A dream we dreamed one afternoon…

    Keep on truckin bro

  6. Denise

    Spot on review! Great writing, too. For the record I listened to the Grateful Dead Hour every Saturday night until around 2007 when my local NPR affiliate stopped airing it. David always had great stuff to share!

  7. Carl C

    I laughed, I cried, funny funny shit. You are right dude, I would NOT want an organ from anybody in that place. I’ve been saying that for years.

  8. venus rising

    Hey Dean! You really grasped in words the emotions and thoughts that were abound during the weekend…thank you!
    PS…Did you happen to look up in the sky during Terrapin?? I did and spotted Venus shining brightly against the cloudy fog filled sky 😉

  9. Jerry

    Lots of laughs following you since January. I, too, got chills during SOTM.
    Also, one of the more pleasurable 3 days hanging with friends and meeting
    people from all over the planet. throughout the city and in the lots. Brought back so many good times.
    All the years combined……..

  10. John Munson

    Brilliant article, as usual Deanster! You made me laugh hard at least 4 or 5 times with your funny metaphors and allegories! So, your main point that I am proud of you for continuing to mention is how absolutely pissed off the sound guy must have been for Hornsby and Jeff sleeping with his girlfriend! He clearly had no interest in letting any of us actually hear the wonderful Hammond B3 and grand piano sounds! That mixer should be tarred and feathered for depriving us of that wonderful booming piano and B3 sounds! He let it out a few times on the 4th, but the rest of the time, I really had to try to listen for it. That is simply inexcusable! I hope the DVD/CD release mixer will turn that shit way up! Now, having said that, I agree that 5 shows a year would certainly be a good compromise to keep all of us from crying ourselves to sleep each night until we die! 🙂 Lastly, can I at least get a, “Hey John, you were right, the absence of any full backdrop curtain was clearly the right move to allow a more 360 degree feel to the stage/stadium and to let those thousand or two fans enjoy the full mostly unimpeded view of the stage and stadium as well!” (the circular lighting screen/scrim doesn’t count as a backdrop by the way) Thanks Peter Shapiro for removing the seats on the field back in Jan! That was never a good idea to have seats on any Grateful Dead field stadium or concert hall show, because after all, who the hell sits at a Dead show?? Those seats just block the free flow of fans, energy and get in the way of dancing! love to all!

    1. Tom Sawyer

      As has been my custom for many years, I sat in almost every place except my seats for all 5 shows. I heard the piano and (especially) the organ brilliantly from 323, dead back from the stage in the middle. The only time I had trouble hearing it was when we sat with friends around the side, in 432, the first night in Santa Clara. I remember having a distinct feeling of missing the keys. When we were straight on from the stage (most of the time) and when we went behind the stage (mostly to hear drums) the sound was crystal clear and the organ blasted through. Dean, you mentioned 107 all 3 nights, which would have put you off on the keyboard side of the stadium. I really think the sound system had gaps on the sides which hid the piano and organ because it was beautiful straight down the middle.

  11. laprofe63

    Totally agree with you on so much of this! Yes! Bobby did get younger with each show. And yes, no one can stand-in for Jerry Garcia. He, his voice & guitar were missed. But it was still AMAZING!

  12. Kevin carmody

    thank you Grateful Dean your articles have been my favorite during this process. My only request is please don’t stop would love to be reading your reviews of the upcoming Alpine shows.

    The Carmody Phamily

  13. David

    Dean,

    Thanks for the blog! Keep it up!

    Given your new rapport with Peter, along with your recent great impact towards resolving the mail order situation that resulted in promises of post-show partial refunds, perhaps you can help us yet again?

    The shows are over and nothing posted as previously communicated to FAQ of dead50.net regarding the partial refund process. I appreciate that the information may yet still be posted “this week” however the initial announcement also said all requests must be received (not postmarked) by July 20th, which means time is of the essence for all of us who wish to have the original pricing honored, as promised, for our mail orders.

    Additionally, since returning all original ticket stubs is also required (for which no rational explanation was ever given) it is essential for this particular refund process to include a PHYSICAL MAILING ADDRESS to ensure timely and trackable delivery methods. Most private express delivery services will not deliver to PO Boxes and we are competing against a “received by” deadline not the usual “postmarked by” deadlines. Any original tickets inadvertently lost in the USPS mail are irreplaceable (unlike lost mail orders) and therefore too valuable to drop in a mailbox and hope for the best. The amount of “overcharge” for my own tickets alone was $840, not an insignificant chunk of change.

    As you know, refunds were offered because they were ethically necessary and legitimately owed, and the reality is that GDTS has all of the information it needs to issue refunds to all affected parties without the gimmickry of a cumbersome refund process. It’s unfortunate that Peter felt the need to undermine an honorable deed with a cynical process intentionally designed to disenfranchise many from obtaining what is rightfully owed.

    Surprise! Looks like more gimmicks at play! As I was just reviewing refund instructions, the initial announcement from Peter Shapiro and Madison House addressing the refunds was removed from the dead50.net website. While I think we can all celebrate and appreciate Peter’s efforts with the Fare Thee Well production, Deadheads are no longer under any illusions about his business practices.

    Do we need to call the Washington Post again??

    Thanks for your help!

      1. David

        Dean, I just got an email response from GDTS saying the refund process should be posted by “end of the week” at dead50.net. If so, this barely leaves five business days to meet the delivery deadline. It’s kind of hard to view this news as anything other than what it is, a blatant shameless effort to slow walk the communications in order to limit successful refund requests. The proposed offer was announced almost a month ago, so they’ve had plenty of time to have this process locked and loaded and ready to go. Very sad, really.

        Whatever class action lawsuits or criminal inquiries are facing Peter Shapiro or Madison House in the near future are deserved. Everyone has cut Peter a lot of slack throughout this debacle, simply because he’s “one of us,” but the irony is that this is what makes his actions even more disturbing. He can, and should, do better.

      1. Slickwil

        Thanks for chasing this elusive refund situation, Dean. And of course thanks for your great writing.

        I’m very hopeful the refund situation will work out as well as the shows did. I definitely had a blast, but I would’ve enjoyed it much more had I been able to be in the pit as opposed to the 200 section. Yet somehow Katy Perry and Bill Murray ended up in the pit. Hmmm….

  14. Julia

    Your honesty and humor are touching. I did read it all, I don’t think I saw an mistakes 🙂 thanks for coming as close as possible to putting into words what this experiment e was like and sharing with us. I heard you on the pre-show too 🙂

  15. Julia

    So mine was not too long to proofread but clearly I did not…sorry^ experience. {though maybe it was its own kind of an experiment too 😉 }

  16. John Munson

    Thanks Tom Sawyer for your detailed and scientifically oriented analysis! I too never sit in the seats I get for any show. It is against my religion to do so. I much prefer to wander around aimlessly until I wind up in the spot with the best sound and energy and cutest hippie chicks! (is that still PC to say in 2015?) Now, having said that, it is refreshing to hear that there were some good spots where the piano and organ were loud and clear. I couldn’t make it to the show because Dean wouldn’t take a hint and offer to fly me home to my home town of Chicago to accompany my 20 year old son into the shows! (just teasin’ Deanster!) However, I watched all 5 nights here in Vienna, Austria, where I live, and the piano and organ mix were pitifully nonexistent almost in most songs in the MLB.com mix. Does anyone else out there have some input into how the keys sounded where you were dancing (never sitting I hope!) in the stadium?

  17. John Munson

    Great letter David! Written with a truly logical and honest mind! If Dean were truly being on the up and up, he would initiate all refunds with the info the GDTS office already has (unless they threw away all the index cards already), rather than making everyone go through this tedious process. I hope he reposts the partial refund info soon! 800 plus dollars is a huge chunk of change for us mere mortals! Keep up the pressure Dean on your new buddy Peter, who indeed did a bangup job on producing this epic event!

    1. John Munson

      Whoops! Huge typo in the last comment…I meant to say, “if Peter were truly being on the up and up”…not Dean! Dean is clearly on the up and up! Dean, you have my permission to alter Dean for Peter in that typo, as I don’t see a place to edit my submitted post.

  18. Robert

    i thought Standing on the Moon was maybe the best of the whole thing. I started anti-Trey, then was convinced to keep an open mind, then was more than pleasantly suprised (you don’t say “sir-prized” so I’m not spelling it that way) with his playing. Why I wonder did he not branch out, Phish seems so limiting for him. Anyways I am suprised more people aren’t concerned about Bobby. I don’t think he is well. In the end the band pulled it off, took a bow and walked off like champs. They should just leave it at that. In my opinion

  19. Barbara Saunders

    I agree with you about Trey. I was neutral on him to start. I found myself compelled to listen for his voice on its own terms in the midst of enjoying my familiar tunes. I admired that.

  20. aront9486

    Great arTicle! I couldn’t b help but laugh when you checked the safe for your tickets as I was just as, if not more cautIous. The color of your adJectiVes and the spirit of your Words kept me reading along because of your sincere passion for all things Greatful Dead. ReaDing about how you woke up with your emotIons beside you in the thOught that it was all over, was all to familiar. Your gratitude for an event that you “must have paid allot for” shows your true love, dedicatIon, and respect for those who made these shows poSsible. As I’m sure many folks Might feel they earned it. Thank you for your inSight, hopefully we’ll get to experience it again sooner than later. -aaron

  21. Jen

    Yes my sentiments exactly- what a gift the whole weekend was, and Phils immense and humble appreciation is such an inspiration- thanks Cody!- thanks bobby, Bill, Jeff, BRUCE!!!thanks Dean for the months of writing, Also thanks Mickey for the words at the end- wish I would have recorded it – thank you to Chicago for being so kind to us, I didn’t see one bad thing happen- no arrests, no irritated employees of the stores/ hotels etc- no fights- no “gate crashers” (I did see a few open doors:) thankful for every part of my weekend in Chi town
    Thank you for a real good time,
    Hope to see yall on fall tour!!!

  22. Tim Abrahamsen

    Hey Dean

    Like several others who’ve commented here, I, too, have been keeping up with your blog posts all year as you’ve eagerly anticipated and broken down the events leading up to the past week’s activities. Your words have been filled with humor and wit and while its odd to say I feel like I know you on a somewhat personal level, at least within the realm of the shared love for this amazing band and its current configuration. Things you’ve felt or feel, are things I’ve felt and feel. The feeling of impending doom this weekend as things came to a close; revelations that this may not in fact be the end; emotionally exhausted from putting your positive All into each and every show; being able to put into words the magic that exists and swells as our shared love is pooled into one conscious energy. These are things we can feel. And you do such a formidable job capturing these things on Our behalf so we can revisit these emotions again and again upon perusing your words.

    I, too, jotted down a bunch of thoughts and feelings this past Monday morning as I arrived back at work (I wasn’t able to acquire tickets but I watched all 5 shows, every note). I was determined not to forget the intricacies of the events over the past week, how it made me feel, and to reconfirm my own passion and love for these guys in every form. It’s necessary and cathartic. Thanks for all you do Dean. And I’ll also ask to keep your banter coming, it is a link we can all grasp to keep the love alive and flowing.

    Peace, man
    Timmy

  23. JJ

    One week ago tonight we arrived in Chicago so excited for the shows. It was so fun to see all the fans roaming the city for the 4 days we were there. I was originally quite bummed out that my GDTSTOO seats got moved to farther out sections but you know once I got there I realized it didn’t matter. Having seen all the joy in that stadium I’m truly glad they opened up the floor and behind the stage to get more fans in even though that meant “worse” seats for me. I still think they could have executed it better but live and learn I guess.

    I actually didn’t mind the seats I ended up in. I thought the screens and lights were some of the best I’ve ever seen but what really struck me was the 70,000 people in there all filled with such a big happiness, just pure love…I’ve been to a few stadium shows but the vibe was not like those three nights were. This really was special.

    And of course the music was just fantastic. I thought they all sounded great. Never was a Phish fan but Trey really couldn’t have a better job. Maybe I’ll give his band another listen. Bruce and Jeff were great too. Friday night was my favorite with Sunday a close second. Saturday was good too but felt a bit slow to me. The fireworks were really cool.

    As it all came to an end it was just hard to believe it was the last time and after witnessing the magic they can still generate I couldn’t help but wonder why they haven’t been doing this regularly for the past 15 years. I agree with what you wrote. They should do something like this once a year for as long as they can.

    Finally thanks for your posts. I’ve really enjoyed reading them the last few months. It was also pretty great that your bringing attention to the seating changes helped get that remedied. Maybe you can get Shapiro to convince them to do it one more time next year?

    Best wishes to all.

    PS Agree with the Soldier Field assessment. If there was a down side to anything it was that. Probably the worst design ever. Took a cab to the south side of the stadium on Sunday and that was much better. Walked around the far side of the museum that night when leaving which was also less painful.

  24. Chris Stoddard

    Dean,

    Read the whole thing, as I have done with most of your posts throughout this crazy ordeal.
    Particularly like the mighty swell capper to this one – Deer Creek ’91 pretty much launched me on my grateful dead way with hornsby’s percussive-driven first set closer – would have been nice to see bruce push these guys though one of those last weekend, but alas, we wouldn’t have heard him and the pace would be probably be another zero-gravity dance off…..

    peace

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