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These Wharf Rats—named after a Dead song—gathered under an arc of yellow balloons during concert breaks, finding strength in numbers as they maintained sobriety “one show at a time.” wrote about deadheads, “[They] had only one thing absolutely in common: Each had experienced some inner click of affinity, some overwhelming sense of ‘here I belong,” when confronted by the Dead, its music and scene.
It was the recognition of an essentially spiritual experience that bound them together.
" class="lazy Owl owl-lazy" data-action="gallery-slide-image"The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test The Dead gained its early audience by performing as the house band at the many LSD parties, known as "acid tests," that were organized widely in the Bay Area in the mid-1960s.
The Music Never Stopped The free-flowing approach to music that the band perfected over three decades of playing together was possible because of the extraordinary abilities of the musicians Garcia partnered with.
With the proliferation of drugs at Dead concerts, it was not uncommon to spot fans who had overdosed.
Martin, Carlos Santana, Nancy Pelosi, Mario Batali, and yes, Ann Coulter have in common? They are all members of the inimitable community of Grateful Dead fans commonly and affectionately known as Deadheads.
In 1970, when this photo was taken, the group included Ron "Pigpen" Mc Kernan, rear left, who sang and played keyboards and harmonica. My Love Is Bigger Than a Cadillac Small-scale tributes to Garcia and the band abound.
More than a dozen musical artists paid tribute to the guitarist at the 25th annual Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash in West Virginia; The Grateful Dead Hour, a radio program hosted by David Gans, can be heard on 73 stations throughout the U.
Many of these vendors never attended a single concert, but would camp out, hoping to earn enough money to pack up their painted Volkswagen bus and follow the band to their next stop.
Among the parking lot hordes you could always spot the hopeful, roaming the grounds with a single raised finger: Deadhead code for “I Need a Miracle,” a free concert ticket.