Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ben The Deadhead: First Road Trip

Deadheads come in many shapes, sizes, colors, etc. Some traveled the country and saw hundreds of shows, some saw The Dead only when they came to their hometown, and some never saw them at all. The only qualification required to be a Deadhead is a love of the band and their music.

That said, most of the 20+ shows I saw were here in DC, either at RFK or The Cap Centre. I did venture out of the area on two occasions though, once to Philly for two shows at The Spectrum in 1990, and once to Hampton.

While attending Mary Washington College in the fall of '89, my friends and I heard one evening that The Dead were coming to Hampton as 'Formerly the Warlocks', and that tickets were going on sale the next morning for two nights, sold only in Hampton and Richmond. The next thing you know, we are on the road to The Richmond Coliseum to get ours.

A week later we trek down to Hampton for the first of the two nights. Coming off of I-64, the road to the Hampton Coliseum was lined shoulder-to-shoulder with Deadheads looking for a Miracle ticket. Due to the last minute nature of the show, the scene was a bit mellower than usual, but once we got inside, it was unlike any Dead show I saw before or since.

The Coliseum was completely General Admission. The crowd was electric, and the Boys fed off of that from the start. Being 16 years ago now, I don't remember a whole lot from the show, but I'll never forget the crowd reaction when they started off the second set with Help>Slipknot>Franklins. It was the first time they had played that medley in a few years, and the crowd went insane. The whole second set was hot, a great, yet under-rated show.

For whatever reason, we only got tickets to the first night. Little did we know that the next night would be one of their most historic shows ever, bringing back Dark Star and Attics Of My Life. We missed that, but I have both shows on disc now, two of my favorite 80's shows to listen to. This was my second show, but if I wasn't hooked at that point, after that experience in Hampton, I certainly was from that point on.

More pics from the show can be found here.


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