Rock/Soul/Prog, Spring 2008

Sugar Magnolia

April 14th, 2008 by · No Comments

            It has been likened to mass meditation and mass hysteria, but anyone you ask will tell you that neither of those clichés quite captures the atmosphere that pervaded the room the night the Grateful Dead first played (here). Hours before the band even arrived, the parking lot was full of happy, mellow hippies and a vague suggestion of marijuana and incense. Where did all these hippies hide during the daytime? Did they have careers, daughters, mortgages? A quick look around the parking lot suggested an answer; cars from all over the country – California, Arizona, Vermont – filled the parking spaces. There really were people who followed the band across the country.

            In time, night fell and ticket holders found their seats inside, only to dance out of them again when the first chords of “Jack Straw” reverberated off the walls. The music was loud, sometimes very loud, but it was sweet and warm, and couples danced in the aisles until an out-of-place security guard chased them back into their row. The band played without theatrics or pretense – no fog, moving sets, or dancers could be seen here, just a thick Persian rug under their feet to cover the bare wood of the stage. They simply stood and played, intertwining everything from acid rock to cowboy ballads. Songs were woven into long musical jams, which resolved themselves into a new song entirely. The crowd cheered every time a familiar refrain emerged from a jam, singing along and dancing with the stranger in the next seat. Everyone was in the zone – the band and the audience were swept along for hours. When the last drumbeats of “Not Fade Away” finally did fade away, the crowd stumbled back outside in time to see the orange sun rising in the East. 

Original post by nomalley12

Tags: Uncategorized