The next exciting episode



Tiki demonstrates how to talk
to "the Dead"

For a while back in the seventies a fellow originally from Massachusetts who called himself TIKI lived in Bloomington. He said he picked up the name in high school during the time that "tikis" from the south sea islands were "the rage" among the "in" crowd. Tiki had relocated to the San Francisco Bay area early in those Halcyon days when the Acid Rock band scene fell together in the mid-sixties, before LSD was added to the controlled substance list in October 1966. Tiki told me numerous times he'd been to dozens of Golden Gate Park rock concerts where the Grateful Dead and other bands rented two flat bed trucks and electricity generators for impromtu shows. THE FABLED "GOOD OLD DAYS"!

Around this time, there lived in Bloomington, a would-be Theatre troupe organizer, whom I shall call Chuck. He wished to put this show on its feet, and somehow Tiki got wind of the effort. He suggested to me that we get the DEAD to come to IU and do a benefit. If I'm not mistaken the BAND of Bob Dylan fame, had already played IU's auditorium. I asked Tiki how. His answer was direct. They're playing soon in downtown Cincinnati, we just go and talk to them...I'm thinking, hey we don't even have tickets. Yet, Tiki proceeded to make a believer out of me. Next thing I know, five of us, including Tiki, me, and Chuck, are standing outside the classic old- fashioned auditorium in Cincinnati. I remember watching the prototypical "deadheads" panhandling for tickets. Suddenly, there's a face familiar from album covers and the few shows I'd caught standing next to me out in front of the Marquee. With his bass guitar in a cheap cardboard case, and a Borsalino style hat, a dead-ringer (no pun intended :-)...) for Phil Lesh is standing there perusing the gathering fans. He had a Roman Catholic priest's black vestment and collar on under a tweed jacket, with jeans. I think, I get it, he's doing an incognito I rather more enjoyed NOT "blowing his 'cover'". As abruptly as he appeared, he was gone.

It was then decided, under Tiki's coaxing, that we go to the stage door and ask to talk to the road manager. So I knocked on the door. A middle-aged security agency guy answered. As confidently as I could, I told him we'd like to discuss some business with the band's road manager. He answered seriously, wait right here, I will go get him. Within a few short moments, A fellow speaking perfect Queen's English was identifying himself as the Road Manager, and who might I be. I just happened to be standing closest to him and PRESTO! became the speaker for the group. But, in my head I'm thinking he needs to talk to Chuck, as I reply Peter Rabbitt...(I think it was Sam Cutler, but I'm not sure of this detail, I will provide the other name if the Road Manager for the band was someone else). Cutler then asked do we have tickets. No, I replied. To my amazement, he simply said that's OK, we'll stamp you up OXO, you'll be our guests tonight. Might it have been the beatific grin on Tiki's face behind me as our benefactor enjoyed watching me begin negotiations with a world-class touring band? Yeah, that's what it was...

Between Cutler and me, as we were guided into the "wings" of the theatre, it was how may we help you. I described the benefit concept Chuck had worked up. Again, to my astonishment, Cutler said let's go and talk to Jerry about it. I started to stammer that Chuck was probably the right fellow instead. But Cutler was already bounding across the stage, so I followed quickly. Garcia was across the stage near an amplifier, tuning his guitar. I was introduced to Garcia as Peter Rabbitt from over in Bloomington, Indiana. Peter's here with some folks who have a theatre group, and they'd like us to do a benefit. Jerry replied some folks over in Canton, Ohio want us to play for free. Tiki had lead us to blieve that their guarantee at the time was 10,000 dollars, so I replied, we are prepared to put up your guarantee, if you are interested, and you hook us up with your booking people. Then Garcia turned aside and continued tuning his instrument. The whole encounter might've lasted two minutes. Cutler suggested we talk to Chuck and led me back across the stage. Shortly after he walked up to me and said Jerry said we're interested, where's this guy we have to talk with?

At this point, I introduced Cutler to Chuck. Tiki and I had coached Chuck on the way over to Cincinnati. He led us to believe he had arrangements which would lead to the use of IU's auditorium. We told him the band probably wasn't travelling with enough equipment to play anything larger. Cutler moved to the point of the discussion quickly. He asked Chuck what kind of facility he had in mind at IU. Chuck said the new Assembly hall! You can imagine what kind of look I gave him. Cutler's response was predictable. How many does it seat? 17,000. Oh, it's a cow barn, we're not equipped to do that this tour...

What possessed Chuck to say the Assembly Hall instead of a place the same size as the hall we were in, I don't know. He shot his own chances down, Tiki and I got him as far as we could. At this point Cutler simply said relax, you're our guests tonight. We were lead to the refreshment table, and told that if any question arose in our minds as far as behavior that evening, just think of ourselves as FAMILY. The irony of the situation is that the Grateful Dead did eventually play IU, in the Assembly Hall, several years later in the seventies.

In a short while, the show began, with the NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE opening up for the Grateful Dead. At one point in the show, I was standing next to the scrim, the heavy curtain that hangs down to the floor. It runs from one side of visible stage area to the other, and there is plenty of space behind where equipment boxes and such can be kept. Other people were hanging out casually in the area so I planted my self next to one end. As I gazed across the stage, the fellow I took to be Phil Lesh out in front of the theatre, had taken up the space at the other end of the scrim. He'd removed the vestment and jacket, and now was simply wearing a tee-shirt. As I thought, that was Lesh! I noticed he was looking directly across the stage, too. Big beaming look in his eyes, huge grin! I presume my face must have mirrored that look. He dis-appeared behind the scrim. A few moments later, I heard footprints just the other side of the scrim from where I was standing. In another instant, Lesh was standing next to me, striking up a conversation. Sounding real good tonight, aren't they? he inquired of me. I could think of nothing else to say but They sure are! In another moment he'd cat-footed his way away to get ready for his show.

At one point early in the show, I heard the noise of a door to the backstage area being jammed open. It would have been on the right at the audience faces the stage. A pony-tailed, tee-shirted member of the crew or two rushed over to the two or three stairs that led up from the inside of the door. By the time he was at the top of the stairs the first guy had his arms extended, hands up, palms forward in the well-known gesture of STOP!!! It was immediately effective, the "crashers" stoppped. I heard him say, "Back out the door! It's not because you can't be in here, It's because you thought you had to use force to gain entry..."

The concert was fine. The New Riders of the Purple Sage were a fine country rock band of the California variety, and The Dead were touring "in support" of the two albums they'd released in the stretch of a year, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. Then, IT happened. the band was taking the the break on a ballad. If it wasn't Brokedown Palace ("...I been having a High time, living the good life..."), will anyone who has the tape for the show please email me? Garcia was soloing. Suddenly, a member of the audience shouted play


Jerry's response was stunning. His right arm went up, he came down with a chunking slap at the guitar, and STOPPED! The entire band stopped with him! It was as if someone had pushed PAUSE on the "cosmic video player". With obvious annoyance in his voice he proceeded to say,
"What are you a cop, or something?
Did you ever stop to think somebody might not
Like to hear TRUCKIN' right now?"

Of course, there was silence. the band went into a musician's equivalent of parade rest...You could hear the proverbial pin drop. The fellow was about twenty rows out from the stage. Faced with silence, Garcia continued:

"Well, what do have to say for yourself, now, man?"
(By this time people around the REQUEST DEMAND maker
were pointing at his head with thumb gestures)
"Come, man say something!"
(Still, silence...)
"Oh, WELL..."

The right arm went back up as before. When he came back into the tune, Jerry proceeded to continue his solo right where he'd left off! The "NOODLE KING" had given a demonstation of how it's done. The band came back in on the beat! (The same "finger" that had pushed the PAUSE button hit it again, and off we flew into the stratosphere.) Years later, in the telling of this tale, I met someone who said, "I have that tape! That's exactly what he said. You have an incredible memory!" I grinned and said, "If you'd been a stage guest that night you'd have an indelible record of the evening, too."

Dancing with the DEAD

The moment came that begs all curtain calls...Bob Weir walked up to his microphone and announced Here's the one you've all been waiting for..." with somewhat wicked glee on his face. Garcia begain the riff. The crowd reaction was instananeous...people were on their feet in an instant. (This show had been mostly sit-down tempo stuff - even though the stage guests had remained standing.) Truckin' had climbed the charts as a radio "single" and was shaking up the way a lot of people thought about the LAW...I've always liked the rousing chorus: "Sometimes the light's shining on me, other times I can barely SEE-E-E..." I love to lean into the beat, and let different parts of my body play with the different sounds of the different components of the sound - if there is what New Orleans players call the "second line" that much the better! Up on your toes is so much more fun than the "gooney-bird shuffle"!

This show-stopper of a tune brought the house down. Demands were made for an encore. Chestnut time!!! Another identifiable riff from the Grand-Daddy of Rock-n-Roll, Chuck Berry..."listen to the rhythm the drivers made" Go Johnny, Go, Go, Go. By this time I was in full, patented shoulder-roll, as I picked up on the swing of the tune. I happened to look at Phil Lesh, who I was closest to, from where I stood in the wings. He had been watching the guy with the shoulder roll... got a big cheshire grin on his face, and proceeded to roll his shoulders the same way! Boogie-on BuddHAH!!! Then the song was finished the band retreated from the repeated entreaties for more. Our crew lingered a few moments, then shuffled out the door to the street..."and it's all the same street..."

Here, some years later, OXOXO finds deep resonance
in the music of the Singing Rabbi,




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