RUSTY PIPES IN OLD BERDOO
Somebody on the Internet was wondering if the anybody in the Dead had ever had a problem with their voice. I wrote back about a show from early 1978 that I remembered.
It was January 6, 1978 in San Bernardino (Berdoo - original home of the Hell's Angels) at the Swing Auditorium. Small place. Strange show. Poor Jerry. Every time he would start singing it made me cringe. He kept trying, but he was mostly croaking. Then he quit trying altogether. The band was playing great, and Bobby was in fine form, but it wasn't quite the same without Jerry's voice.
A sign of things to come.
It was also the first time I ever saw somebody vending in the parking lot. A group of the Wandering Bozos were making our way to the Bozo Bus after the show and a guy appeared out of the shadows. It was like doing a drug deal:
"PSSST. Hey... you guys want to see what I got?"
We gather around expecting drugs or something.
In a conspiritorial way he says, "I got some shirts."
He laid them out on the ground and five of us each bought one. It was very dark so we really couldn't see what we were buying, but we didn't care. They weren't well made, but they were Grateful Dead tee shirts and he had about four different styles.
In those days the Dead weren't really merchandizing much. There were a few "official tee-shirts", but these were different and The Bozos always jump on something different. We threw our money down and the "dealer" handed out our illegal tees and slid back into the shadows.
Mine was the Cyclops Skull. It was the worst Dead tee-shirt I've ever owned. The picture wasn't even close to being centered and it fell apart after 2 weeks. But it occured to me to you could follow the band and sell stuff to pay for everything and that's what this guy was doing. Cool.
It was a sign of things to come.
Story by Bill Weir.
IT'S NOT OVER...
A POEM FOR JERRY
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