The Grateful Dead: Looking Back at ‘a New World’
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 01.23.09 | 11:15 AM ET
In 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.”