Day 53: Dead & Company at Folsom Field, night 2, 07/03/2016

I didn’t so much wake up on the ground under the bicycle ramp overpass as I did remember I was conscious – all my gear was at Mary’s place, so it was just me and the bike out and around in Boulder. I was too cold just lying on the ground without a tent or sleeping bag to sleep well enough and the slightest sound made me alert. Regardless, I made it to breakfast to charge my phone and my body up. To do that I got to take several of Boulder’s excellent bike paths:

The most fun portions are like this, right along Boulder Creek. The less fun ones were on sidewalks, as Boulder seems to be the first place I’ve ever been where cyclists are expected to be on the sidewalk. I rode there but it confused me. When in Rome I guess.

I didn’t really do much on Sunday – I didn’t want to spend any money, and I was still pretty tired. I just grabbed a bench here and there around town and sat down for a bit before moving on to the next one, relaxing and people watching. I made it back to Owlsey’s Golden Road for my last dose of being around the Deadheads and I figured why not take it all in while I can. But in all honesty I had kind of had my fill of the diehards. It’s a pretty rundown crowd for the most part, and fascinating to eavesdrop on. Many were running into old friends they only know from meeting at Grateful Dead shows years ago and a lot trade opinions of favorite shows they’ve been to. There were plenty of people that only came for the scene and the drugs, without much of a concern for the actual music. But I also saw several groups of three generations of Deadheads going to the show as families. Unless anyone knew each other it didn’t seem that anyone was really intermingling and talking to each other outside of their little groups though. This surprised me as much as it disappointed me. I tried to make new friends but it didn’t seem like anyone wanted a joiner.

Eventually I made it down to Folsom Field  to get in (I didn’t wait in line this time) and security was a lot better than it was the night before.

These are the first concerts at Folsom Field in 15 years, and the staff was kind of overwhelmed the night before.

And then just kicking back and watching the stadium fill up:

It wasn’t going to be as full this night – a lot of people headed down to Red Rocks for Umphrey’s McGee, at least that’s what I heard.

But all I heard from this guy was that he loved the sun. He was taking a break halfway between the entrance and his seat.

I had the same seat I had the night before, way off to the right where I couldn’t see the Rhythm Devils (the drummers) or the screen, so I opted to just sit in general admission further back but with a straight on view of the stage. The sun was still hitting me leading into the show but it gave me a good view of everyone coming in:

I talked a bit with the people around me, like David, a teacher turned roofing contractor from Denver who just came up for the night on a whim, and John and Julie, originally from Indianapolis. Julie just got transferred to Boulder for work, and she and John were just going to “see what happens” in their relationship. I could see that was a source of tension. I hope they got some joy from the music but have my doubts – they left shortly into the second set (why???).

And then the guys were back, with a great “Feel Like a Stranger”:

I was already having a better time than the night before. Less crowds meant everyone was less cramped and could dance around a bit more.

It didn’t take long to realize I was in for a string of something you only get at a Dead show – missed queues and flubbed lines. The thing with a band so reliant on improvisation is sometimes they’re all locked in and playing incredibly, but sometimes they screw up in very apparent ways. I was actually thrilled the latter was the case. The band was still killing it but the mistakes are all part of it and are generally met with laughter by the crowd. To me it was a call to just relax and let loose.

I was ecstatic to see them play Samson & Delilah!

And then a swift gust of wind made the shade tents for the venders in the pit blow over, which was entertaining. No one got hurt it seemed, but given how quickly the series of long sharp objects were in the air, I’m surprised:

The first set ended with New Speedway Boogie, which I was very pleasantly surprised by. I was having a fantastic time and couldn’t wait to hear what would come next. But we all had to wait in anticipation:

And stretch a bit:

And they were back! Second sets at Dead Shows are longer, more experimental (read “trippy”), and more for marveling at the music, at least for me.

So great to hear China Cat > Rider again after I saw the medley in Columbus:

And even better to be part of the light show:

“He’s Gone”, with the two new kids on the big screen. Mayer and Oteil are killing it with the old guard on stage. They’re having fun, and with this music, that’s all you need:


And then it was time for Billy and Mickey to go wild for the “Drums” segment, when everyone leaves the stage but the drummers, who just go crazy on the drums, improvising every beat, and some psychedelic visuals to join them:

Before long Jeff, Oteil, and John came out to join them and all five were playing this elaborate horn contraption made up of old style horns with rubber bulbs you squeeze. It was hilarious and wonderful at the same time.

The last encore ended with “US Blues” appropriately enough given we were only hours away from the 4th of July, and then the mass exodus out of Folsom Field.

I hopped on the bike and headed for IHOP, hoping I’d beat the onslaught. I made it there, got some food in me, then headed back to the Boulder Creek bike path to look for a place to sleep. I opted for a bench underneath the walkway connecting a couple libraries, locked up my bike, and tried to rest. Didn’t get much of that though. It’s alright, I had an easy 30 back into Denver the next day at the Hostel Fish to recoupe and figure out my next move…

Set 1:

Feel Like a Stranger / Next Time You See Me / Samson & Delilah / West LA Fadeaway / Bird Song / New Speedway Boogie

Set 2:

China Cat Sunflower / I Know You Rider / He’s Gone -> Smokestack Lightning -> He’s Gone / Let It Grow / Drums->Space / Dark Star / Morning Dew

Encore: Brokedown Palace / US Blues

 

-J

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