by Matt Peter
This one doesn’t take much to effort to conjure up the memories. The set-up alone was enough to promise a memorable event, and it didn’t disappoint. This was the year that Don Henley came out with that song with the line about a “Dead-head sticker on a Cadillac” so it was a natural for me and 3 friends to try to rent a Caddy for the ride from DC to Hershey, PA for the show (when no Caddy’s were available we settled on a Continental – which was as close as we could get) slapped a Steal Your Face sticker on it and off we went.
We had 2 Dead show veterans, a guy from Spain and one from Northern Cal (neither of the last two had ever seen the Dead live) and by the time we checked into the hotel at Hershey we were primed and ready to rock. Let me tell you, there we legitmiate questions as to whether the street lights REALLY had Hershey Kisses on top on the poles (they do) or if that was merely part of the overall experience we were starting to enjoy.
So, we shoot over to the show, past a sea of pink and green lady golfers and their fans, past a flood of moms, dads and their kids (Hershsey’s got a cool amusement park – which at the time featured a coaster called the Super Duper Looper) and all I can think is what would Hunter S. Thompson be thinking right now – though I have a pretty clear idea. But true the to nature of Deadheads, we were a well behaved (if not slightly freaked out group) respectful of the families and maybe just a little silly messing with the golf crowd. Believe me, even today if you got dropped into the middle of an LPGA event – you might just get a little goofy yourself!
The show itself is one of the few I can look back on and see some vivid memories, the rain coming in from behind the stage, my buddy Andy acting like everyone around was a possible narc, and a show that really rocked for hours. And of course it wouldn’t have been a Dead show without the obligatory searches afterward. First for the friend from Spain, who, having dived into the experience full force had enjoyed a personal experience (details withheld) that left him somewhere else which required a solid hour before we found him, and then another hour for the group to find the car! It was more a process of elimination actually, since by that time there were only a handful of cars left and I’m pretty sure only 1 Continental in the dirt parking lot.
The good news is that we were good to drive the mile or so back to the hotel (at least I was) and things seemed to pick right back up when we got back to the rooms. It was a one in a million show, great experience from a personal, an audio and a visual perspective. This was in my opinion just before Jerry started to slow down and right about the apex of the Band’s touring days. College, man what a freakin’ blast.