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Grateful Dead
{ The Pyramid }

Sat Jan 24 09:08:09 CST 1998
Promoter: Metropolitan Entertainment-Mid South Concerts
Where: Memphis,TN/USA
When: 1/4/1995
Stage: indoors

Two shows: April 1st and 2nd, 1995. When going on he road to see the Grateful Dead one should make arrangements to reserve a spot at the nearest campground. If you stay in a motel or hotel, you can not experience the true spirit of the fans and the traveling drug circus community. That was what made a dead show different from any other show. These "Heads" as they are called, travel from show to show selling arts, crafts, T-shirts, food, and drugs, to each other to fund their trip to the next show. When I got to Memphis after a 12-hour drive, the first thing I saw was a huge pyramid made of steel and glass. I was amazed to find out that that's where the show was taking place. When we finally got to the parking lot of the Pyramid, I was stuck in a line of a thousand cars and thousands of fans in the streets all moving toward the Pyramid. People around me were holding balloons (not filled with helium, but with nitrous oxide) looking for tickets, or looking to trade drugs for a ticket, or holding 1 finger up and chanting "I need a miracle," which means "I need a free ticket to get into the show." Most fans consider their ticket their most valuable possession. There is a lot of money or drugs to be made if you sell or trade your "extra." (That's why the true fans give their extra tickets for free to each other. A kind gesture will always come back to you.) I was "miracled" into the show but declined because I was having fun in the lot. During the show, there were probably twice as many fans outside of the show as there were inside. The biggest party I ever saw in my life. Drugs everywhere and the police did not care, even if they did, they could not do anything. The Hippies took over the streets of Memphis. The people of Memphis loved this because there was money to be made from the thousands of fans, plus it was very exciting to be involved in the craziness. The main reason I had such a good time outside the show was because guitar got me more things than money could buy me. And everyone was so nice to me because I was going around and playing for everyone. The parking lot scene at this show was like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. During the show word spread that everyone would meet and rush the gates at 9:00 PM, but that never happened. That night we went to the campsite which was right on the Mississippi River. There probably were about 5,000 or 6,000 "Heads" on the campgrounds that night. The party lasted all through the morning. The hissing sound of PSSSSSSSSSSS from the laughing gas tanks when on all through the night. They built a 20-foot bonfire in the center of the campsite, and there must have been a hundred drummers around it playing all night. They even had a disco run by portable generators. I recall one guy was waiting in line for some balloons with his jaw wired because he past-out while sucking gas from a balloon and fell into a camp fire. That was the only casualty that I saw while I was there. I was impressed at the way the fans took care of each other. I do believe that this kindness and respect really cut down on the need for security and police. It was their own society separate from the world. When I returned home, I found out that someone had died. This is what happens when thousands of people and thousands of drugs are in the same place at the same time. But I am sure that if this were a rap show or a hard rock show, the casualties would have been much worse.

J. Loftus

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