The next exciting episode
Tiki demonstrates how
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
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 thing...so 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
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
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!"
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
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
Here, some years later, OXOXO finds deep resonance
in the music of the Singing Rabbi,
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