[sixties-l] Grateful for the Deadheads (fwd)

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Date: Tue Aug 13 2002 - 20:00:14 EDT

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    Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 14:12:50 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Grateful for the Deadheads

    Grateful for the Deadheads


    Fans defy expectations with good behavior at legendary Alpine Valley
    reunion concert

    By MARILYNN MARCHIONE of the (Milwaukee) Journal Sentinel staff
    Aug. 3, 2002

    East Troy - The Night of the Living Dead was no horror show.
    In fact, Saturday's Terrapin Station reunion concert of the living members
    of the legendary '60s band the Grateful Dead followed script like a fairy-tale.
    There were no traffic jams around the Alpine Valley Music Amphitheatre, few
    arrests or complaints from area residents . . . and 35,000 happy, tie-dyed
    The concert featured its signature party animals, the kind of event that
    draws women with hairy legs and men with purses.
    Megan Wendling, 23, of Pittsfield, Mass., wandered through the crowd
    wearing a gauzy top, long skirt and a sign that said "Free Hugs." Guys
    lined up for a turn.
    "The Grateful Dead have been known for going in and giving people hugs,"
    she said of the band that formed long before she was born.
    Officials were just happy that nobody wound up dead, hurt or mad.
    Or naked. Walworth County Sheriff David Graves (no Deadhead despite his
    name) had predicted that hundreds would be skinny-dipping in nearby Lake
    Geneva and that the two-lane county roads would be choked with rowdy
    Instead, he got a mellow crowd of mostly aging hippies - many of them
    raising kids, not hell. They had crochet halter tops, patchwork skirts,
    granny dresses and dreadlocks, but also cell phones, jobs, cars and mortgages.
    "Everybody's so much older," said Kelly Sineni, 32, of Algonquin, Ill. "I
    have three kids at home and a husband."
    Pam Hill, 27, and a friend brought their 5-year-old daughters to the show,
    making the 17-hour drive with half a dozen friends from Massachusetts.
    "We've been bringing them to festivals since they were 1," she said, as the
    girls danced, their heads covered in bandannas and their Mardi Gras beads
    swinging. "I was probably right out of high school when I started going to
    see the Dead, and I just got into it. Then I had a baby and decided she
    should go, too."
                         Long-distance traveler
    The event was billed as a reunion not just for the band, but for fans, too.
    And if they gave a prize for whoever had traveled farthest, Kinya and
    Misako Sato would have to walk away with it.
    The couple flew to Chicago on Wednesday from Hokkaido, Japan, and drove 300
    miles to St. Louis to see one of the original Deads perform. On Saturday,
    they were dressed in tie-dyed shirts at Alpine Valley for the reunion
    concert, saying it cost them about 10 months' wages from their jobs in a
    computer store and as a nurse to afford the trip.
    "There are very nice Japanese Deadheads," Kinya Sato said.
    "Many, many," his wife added.
    Barbara ("but call me Barbie") Beyer, 37, of St. Charles, Ill., cut an
    image in a tie-dyed dress stretched taut against her bulging belly, seven
    months pregnant with her third child.
    "I was pregnant with my first during the last Jerry show before he died in
    1995, so I wasn't able to drink then, either," she said, referring to the
    band's most well-known member, Jerry Garcia.
    She said she had gone to 35 to 40 Grateful Dead concerts, most of them with
    her husband.
    "A Dead show was one of our first dates," she said.
    Concert organizers credited extensive planning, safety precautions and the
    Internet, which helped them spread the warning that anyone without a ticket
    would be turned away. That happened to fewer than 200 fans - far fewer than
    "We had a very successful concert event here today," Graves said. "I think
    we have to credit fans as well as all the planning" for avoiding any
    problems for area residents.
    "They've been protected properly, and I think the peace has been
    maintained," he said.
    "We're very happy with the way the afternoon has transpired," said Larry
    Wethers of Clear Channel Entertainment, the concert's promoter. "It's a
    very unique event for the music and entertainment industry," and it bodes
    well for prospects of an East Coast tour in November whose dates were
    announced tentatively, depending on the outcome of the Alpine Valley show.
    As of late Saturday afternoon, there were 60 drug citations, all but six of
    them for possessing minor quantities of marijuana. Eleven people were
    jailed, six complaints of trespassing were received, and three of loitering.
                         Residents join in
    Most residents joined the crowd instead of fighting it.
    Twelve-year-old Aaron Greetham stood in a bright yellow shirt, waving an
    equally bright yellow poster-board that said "Jerry lives!" near the corner
    of County D and Highway 120, about a mile from the theater entrance.
    "We were trying to get business, so I figured I'd get attention," he said,
    pointing to a table with an umbrella where he and family friends were
    selling peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sodas and bottled water.
    His parents were working the show - mom as a Lake Geneva police officer,
    dad as a crisis intervention expert.
    "He works with the people who are drunk or on drugs," Aaron explained.
    But there was blissfully little work to do. Graves quietly sent much of his
    staff home, long before the opening guitar riffs at 8 p.m. And he's hoping
    for a repeat at the second sold-out show today.

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