The Grateful Dead: Looking Back at ‘a New World’

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  01.23.09 | 11:15 AM ET

grateful deadIn the wake of the news about a new Grateful Dead tour, the good folks at Rock’s Backpages have dug up a thoughtful look back at the band’s early impact on one suburban teenager. Originally written to coincide with the 2001 release of The Golden Road, the Dead’s box set, Michael Goldberg’s essay recalls his first encounters with the band as a 14-year-old in Marin County.

“I probably first heard of the Grateful Dead when I saw their name on the psychedelic dance posters advertising shows at the Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore Auditorium,” he writes. “These posters ... were fresh, adventurous, and in some cases almost magical. They implied a new world, one I’d been reading about in newspaper and magazine articles.” And while the posters offered hints of this new world, the music itself allowed a partial entry: “The Grateful Dead’s debut album, with its cover art by Mouse and Kelley, allowed me, in my middle-class suburban bedroom in Marin, to actually feel some of this new world that I yearned to enter ... The music of the San Francisco bands—the Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Quicksilver Messenger Service and others—was our way out of a boring middle-class life that we didn’t want in our futures.”

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

6 Comments for The Grateful Dead: Looking Back at ‘a New World’

Mark Schoneveld 01.23.09 | 1:56 PM ET

Pretty psyched for the tour this summer.  Even if tix are gonna be like $1000.

TambourineMan 01.23.09 | 2:18 PM ET

Eva, it’s not a “Grateful Dead tour.” They’re now simply The Dead. Knowing what a huge fan you are of the 45-minute-long live version of “China Cat Sunflower,” I would expect you to know this.

$1000?!? Mark, are you kidding?

Mark Schoneveld 01.23.09 | 2:22 PM ET

@BobDylan - sure, sure, $1000 might be a stretch, but c’mon.  Those stadium shows are way overpriced anymore.

Eva Holland 01.23.09 | 2:38 PM ET

@TambourineMan - Yeah, I got the memo. But I never called Prince anything but Prince, regardless of his ever-shifting preferences, and I see no reason to change my stubborn ways now.

TambourineMan 01.23.09 | 3:30 PM ET

Eva, don’t let the Heads hear you talkin’ like that. They’ll spike your parking lot veggie burrito with brown acid.

Mark, tickets for the show here in LA are $85 plus fees. I predict lots of Heads lookin’ for a “miracle.”

Jeff Daniels 02.13.09 | 3:44 PM ET

$1,000 dollars for a ticket to see any band is out of my reach!
But I love the fact there are still people out there willing to do anything for the music they love!

CHeck this video out!

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