To paraphrase an old protest song, ‘Where have all the hippies gone, long time passing.’
They checked into the Chicago Hilton or the Hyatt for three days of revelry to celebrate the Last 3 concerts of the iconic jam band The Grateful Dead.
The 50th anniversary ‘Fare Thee Well’ concerts attracted Deadheads from around the world as the undulating sea of tie dye in Soldier Field emulated a groovy flashback to Woodstock. I called out to Wavy Gravy but no one answered.
Times have changed. When the band’s fan-base were young, music lovers would have crammed into a VW Micro-bus and traveled cross country to be part of the dead-head family whether in the actual concert or just outside enjoying the vibe. (And getting a ‘contact high’ from the pot-infused atmosphere)
Being in the crowds gave one a feeling of never having left the 60’s were it not for the food trucks selling hot dogs that cost as much as the entire concert back in the day.
Yesterday’s hippie is today’s entrepreneur so first class plane tickets and 5 star restaurants mark the anniversary for many, but the spirit that drew this extended family together remained rooted in the 60’s idealism that was the foundation of its counterculture. As in the past, people shared stories, food and sometimes passed around a symbol of more open-minded times.
When the $200 one day tickets went on sale they were snapped up faster than a chocolate covered ‘edible’ and re-sales from scalpers could have funded the national debt.
The musical show lasted from 7PM through midnight each of the 3 days but the good vibrations they produced will last a lifetime. Stories will be told and embellished and tattered Tie dyed T’s will be produced from the bottom of underwear drawers and displayed as proudly as a battle flag. First person accounts will compare and contrast the ‘then and now’ as we fondly reminisce about the final gig of a great band.