Internet and Memory
Perhaps stimulated by a reference I made in my previous post to a past hallucinatory experience, this morning I read an article in the Times about the world of deadheads and the amazing online availability of their concert archives. This led me to a site where by searching "Buffalo, 1979", I had at my instant disposal information that renewed and corrected my knowledge of that memorable weekend. The concert was January 20th, a Saturday night. Shea's Theatre. For some reason, with the passing of the years I had come to think it had been early spring, no doubt because the weather that weekend was very mild. I do recall quite well heading out from the Hamilton campus on a bright sunny morning. The decision to go to Buffalo had been almost spontaneous. I believe it was over breakfast that my fellow Co-op friend, Chris (well, more a good acquaintance than real friend, as today I can't even remember his last name) suggested we head out for Buffalo, four hours away. Buffalo? Dead concert tonight? Sure, why not? So we got a ride to the entrance to the thruway and stuck out our thumbs. Good thing we had the beer in the Coke machine back at the Co-op. On the road with Matts beer and several joints, a sunny day... who cares if we make it to Buffalo. But we did. And incredibly Chris found someone who had extra tickets. Fifteen dollars? The theater was small and beautiful, and I remember being impressed by the nice bar they had set up in the lobby. The last thing in the world I needed was more drugs, but hey, wouldn't a few shots of Jack Daniels be just the thing to get me in the mood for the concert? That and a "hit of acid." Hey, where'd that come from? Booze, pot, LSD... what else could I put in my much abused body? Hey, where'd Chris go? Not much later: where did reality go? Man, the lights in this theatre are soooo strange. And the music is getting really out there. Let's just wander around... I still remember a young woman, around my age, slapping some kind of sticker onto my shirt and saying something like 'check out the party backstage'. Something like that. It's all pretty fuzzy. Anyway, I guess I now had a backstage pass so I headed off in that direction. And I discovered why they call themselves the Dead. Lots of passed out people. Seemed like a caricature, but there really were people just lying around, on the floor, on top of equipment boxes. Crazy. I stayed for a while then at the end of the concert went off in search of Chris. It must have been around midnight when I found him. Hmm, what now? So we just wandered. Wander round: our principle expertise back then. It was actually very funny: we ended up in the "black neighborhood" and strolled into a bar where the looks we got were priceless. Right out of a movie. Two white college kids, looking rather worse for the wear. But we were welcomed in and served our drinks. I think we ended up trying to play some pool. But the bars eventually close, so then it was more wandering. We ended up at a bus station, tried to get a little sleep as we waited for dawn, waited for the drugs to wear off a little, and the energy to head back to the thruway. We had excellent luck and made it back to Hamilton in daylight. And now these memories have a date: January 20th, 1979. And a song list. The dog-turns-into-a-lion trick, alluded to earlier, is a separate memory. "... what a long, strange trip it's been." Indeed.