How TWEET It Is...
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    Spent a little Time on the Mountain

    Last night was my first visit to Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado. This venue is regarded as one of the hallowed temples of rock and roll a la Winterland or Filmore East. People talk about having gone to Red Rocks akin to visiting a sacred shrine. You know what? I get it! It was the first show of a three night run. I arrived at Red Rocks having left the freeway and began driving up a mountain suddenly surrounded by the most beautiful RED-hued rocks. As I wind up the hill, I begin seeing members of “the tribe” in their show night regalia. I have always wondered, where do all these people suddenly emerge from in these wild and wondrous costumes of delight featuring tie-dye everything. Many, many men don t-shirts from previous shows emblazoned with dates and the Grateful Dead's iconic symbols of steal your face, dancing bears, skulls and roses, lightening bolts and wolves. These t-shirts, no matter how torn or tattered are worn like merit badges, quietly announcing to the world, “I was at this show.” Which, of course, the true experts of Grateful Dead musicology or showology will tell you exactly what the set list was for each of those t-shirt-shows and how the band performed that night.

    As I wind up the hill, I begin seeing these extreme pieces of jagged mountain rocks jutting out of the earth. It looks like someone used a chainsaw, sliced them and turned them on their edges reaching toward the sky. It's stunning and puzzling because the landscape around them looks like high-desert chaparral. I walk-hike from where I’ve parked to wherever the amphitheater might be, which I haven’t seen yet. And, here they are…the happiest, friendliest people I ever encounter. Lots of smiles, lots of nice comments and greetings. Everyone is excited and in a jolly mood filled with hope for what the evening may bring. As I pass clusters of people, conversations are peppered with reminiscing of previous shows and anticipation and assurances of what the band will play that night. I stop to take some pictures and no-one says "no." Everyone is proud of their outfit, the songs they’re singing, the stuff they’re selling on the side of the road. I met Katie today, who is about 25 years old, she asked me if I’d ever seen a show with Jerry? Well, yes, of course, I had. She told me she was a teenager and her parents wouldn’t allow her to go to Grateful Dead shows. Sometimes I have to remind myself that for many people, a FURTHUR show is the 'the' thing, not just the 'next' thing. And, I realize the impact of not only the sacred music, but of the temporary communities that spring up around these shows. There’s an interesting orchestration that goes along with these shows that I’ve always marveled at – the show dates are announced, word spreads, tickets are purchased and the fans begin making their plans to join old friends and new for a few hours or a few days of respite from the regular worlds they inhabit.

    An enormous source of speculation is always about what song the band will sing first. I don’t ever recall being disappointed – it’s just the song they chose to open with. Last night they opened with IKO IKO, a much-covered New Orleans Mardi Gras tale. It was a sweet evening of song and cheer. The stand-out songs for me were, Cold, Rain & Snow, Ramble On Rose, Box of Rain and The Wheel. It's always a treat when there's a surprise special guest as was Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, who opened the second set with Bob Dylan's, You Ain't Going Nowhere. He crooned right into Hard to Handle and Two Souls in Communion. As Chris was leaving the stage, I was reminded of the "brotherhood" these musicians must share as he gave each band member a warm hug with a big happy grin on his face.

    There were a few songs I would have liked to have heard last night. I heard others saying the same thing. It occurred to me that this is not a one shot deal. The shows don't stand alone by themselves. They are each part of a continuum. Several non-Grateful Dead-loving friends could not believe I would hear the same band three nights in a row, never mind seven nights in eight days. I tried to explain that each show is its own little world. It won't be replicated the same way again. Not in the same venue, not in the same order and not with the same fans, who help feed the experiences with their loyalty and boundless energy. Each show contributes to part of the history, which is being updated each night. It was a great show to begin my adventure. I'm in complete agreement! This venue carved in the mountain-side of the red rocks is worthy of a little divine adoration.

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