On Sunday, June 18, Carolyn and I went to a Dead & Company concert at Fenway Park. Many thanks to Carolyn’s brother, Steven Fortuna, for supplying us with tickets. We were seated roughly where Xander Bogaerts usually plays shortstop for the Red Sox.
I had never been to a Dead concert before. Carolyn went a time or two during her halcyon days 35 years ago. It was, as the old expression goes, a trip. Reconstituted with John Mayer filling in for the deceased Jerry Garcia, Dead & Company reprised all the band’s best known favorites on an enormous stage set up in front of the Green Monster near where it intersects with The Triangle in centerfield.
Rising 4 stories high and festooned with dozens of speakers fed by a bazillion amplifiers, the set was mighty impressive. Live video of the musicians was projected onto the back wall and the wings flanking the stage. The production crew added graphics that can only be described as psychedelic.
The evening evoked the easy camaraderie inspired by the magic mushrooms, peyote, and other recreational drugs that were so much a part of the original Dead Head experience. The aroma of marijuana drifted across the infield. Some of us tried to position ourselves down wind in hopes of getting a contact high. The crowd was relaxed and mellow.
The video accompanying this post was taken on my Sony point and shoot camera, which may account for its modest sound quality. It captures the first four minutes of Truckin’, one of the only Dead songs to ever hit the Top 40.
The song itself went on for nearly 15 minutes, honoring the Grateful Dead’s tradition of intricate melodies that swoop and loop back on themselves in flights of musical improvisation. The recording ends after 4 minutes because that’s when my arms got tired of holding the camera.
The concert was way cool, but being out on the field at Fenway Park was cool, too. It was a great night — warm with a gentle breeze. The music reminded us of time when Americans were less afraid of their government and lunatics and were all truckin’ more or less together.
We meandered home on the Green Line afterwards with snippets of lyrics floating though our heads. “Truckin’ got my chips cashed in. Keep truckin’, like the do-dah man.
Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin’ on.”
Did someone say encore?
What a long strange trip it’s been.