So Many Roads - 10-1-94 - Boston
A sprinkle of magik...
The Break-down of my body began on the Fall & Winter Tours in 1993, so the following summer things were still really new for me. The intense pain all over my body and the zillions of appointments weren't things I was used to yet, and it definitely was not yet something that would become defined as normal for me.
Despite what I was going through I still never lost sight on seeing Jerry play whenever I could. Jerry's guitar and the sound of his voice are like a drug to me. They were most definitely medicine for the pain I was enduring. When everything else hurt, Jerry never did...he only made it better.
(If someone ever says music isn't healing and wants to debate it, send them my way and I'll put them in their place!)
I had second row seats for the Lovelight > Stella Blue > Lovelight in Ohio, and tickets to a couple other shows on the '94 Spring Tour that I had to give away because I was too sick to go to. I was horrified when I saw that set list from that double Lovelight/Stella sandwich! Some of my tape tradin' bros in the States kicked down some kind music 'cause they felt bad I had to give that shit away. One of them, George Petsoff, gave me a real crisp AUD copy of that show weeks after the fact.
For all you internet raised folk, we used to dream about being able to push a button and get any show we ever wanted to hear and have it be a cracklin' soundboard. That shit didn't exist in our consciousness as realistic possibility. Finding shows was grind at times. Sometimes it would take several years to find the right copy of the right show. I still remember the first time I popped in 5-2-70 Harpur College after looking for a long time...refusing shitty copies 'cause I knew I had to hear it sweet for the first time. When it arrived it was magikal! It was the same thing when I had just gotten a crisp board of 8-27-72 Field Trip show. I still have the snapshot in my mind of when I typed it into my tape list. I had the show blaring and as soon as I was done typing it, I sat back and just stared at it on my list like I just accomplished some amazing feat. I was beaming with smiles and filled with happiness. (Little tangent there...but a tangent that reminiscently filled my cup.)
I had a lot of emotion missing those shows, so when I got those surprise tapes in the mail I really sunk into 'em. It just made me wanna see them again even more. Luckily, I got to see a few shows that summer at Buckeye Lake and The Palace.
(I really loved Buckeye Lake. You camped right there. No driving after the show. It was a total free for all party right there in all the action...and then you just walked into this slight bowl-like natural amphitheatre...and then you stumble out and keep partyin' right there again til morning. It was fuckin' smokin'!)
Right after Jerry's birthday show at The Place on Summer Tour I went straight into the hospital for a week and a half of testing. (*By the way...I had a 5th row right in front of Jerry for that show...score one for the team there, but my bro, Jeffrey had front row right in front of me...lucky bastid! I was so jealous during that Scarlet > Fire!) It was a quick turn-around for Mail-Order for the Fall Tour, so I had to fill out my order from my hospital bed. I was sending away for the second set of three shows of the Boston run and one of the Philly's at the next stop on the tour. (I was supposed to meet my bro Derek from the Detroit area at the shows in Philly, but I was too beat down, so I gave my ticket to Beef and went home. Bummer!)
Every time you left the floor in the hospital you had to check out by writing in a book what time you left and where you were goin'. I checked out and wrote that I went downtown to find a post office to mail away for Grateful Dead tickets, and I drew three little smiley faces right next to it. (Smile, smile, smile!) When I got back, and was checking in again, my nurses said, "Did you really just check out to go order Grateful Dead tickets?" I giggled, and said, "Yeah, Of course!" and kept walkin' back to my room and put my walkman on full blast and laid there happy as fuck!
(*Side note... I was in the hospital for a week and a half. I packed 80 tapes of shows and a walkman with me so I could fix any jonz I might have, whatever that may be! Hey maaan, it's not enough to wanna hear a Morning Dew...maybe you wanna hear an '87, but maybe you wanna hear a '70 or '77...sometimes '67's the one! The only way to properly fix a jonz is to be locked and loaded, and ready to go.)
I was excited to go see Jerry cuttin' it up again...fuuuuck maaan! I had a bunch of friends at those Boston shows. Some were hometown bros from Ontario, and some were from California, Chicago...all over the place...you know it goes! Some of them I hadn't seen since I flew home from the San Diego shows in December while they finished the tour up in Oakland.
The crazy thing about Dead Tour, was that even when my body was falling apart and was in agonizing pain I still felt indestructible when I was there. The boys made me feel nothin' but bliss. I jumped, I spun, I ran around laughin' and gigglin', hootin' and hollarin'! Fuck me did I have a good time! I never took it for granted...not a single moment of any show. From first to final note it was the best time ever!
I loved Boston Garden! I immediately fell in love with it the previous year when me and Beef went. There's just somethin' crazy about seein' Jerry playin' while Bobby Orr's number hangs overhead...when legends collide! Me and Beef were both conscious of that and took time to appreciate it.
We took time to sit down and smoke a bowl sitting right under Bobby's banner during the show. Security smelled us and started shining flashlights on our faces. We laughed and kinda played dodge 'em while we finished up. When we were done we got back up and moved into the aisle to start dancin' again.
The boys had a long rich history with Boston. I couldn't wait to get back to that town!
This show was sick! I mean, Help > Slip > Frank, Scarlet > Fire, Terrapin Station, So Many Roads and Stella Blue all in the same fuckin' show! Shit maaaan!! The Boys were really throwin' down too!
(Here's the link to listen to it.)
So Many Roads had come to mean a lot to me because of the Deer Creek '93 and Vegas '92 ones originally. (Me and Beef listened to the shit outta that Deer Creek summer solstice tape) My feelings for that song have evolved and grown alongside the changes in my life. It has become a part of me. It's even one of the songs tattooed on my arm. (Dark Star, Terrapin Station, Morning Dew, Franklin's Tower, Standing on the Moon, Ripple, and Scarlet Begonias are the other songs)
On this night in Boston, something really special happened for me though...
So... I filled out my mail order in my hospital bed, checked myself out to go send away for them, and then at my first show from those tickets, rather than "So many roads to ease my soul," Jerry changed the lyrics and sang...
"SO MANY ROADS TO HEAL MY SOUL..."
I still haven't heard a version of him singing it like that. I've heard the Shoreline '94 where he sings, "to fill my soul," but never another, "to heal my soul." (*That Shoreline '94...Daaaamn...you should really check it out!")
Jerry seemed to put everything into this one too. He screwed up a few lyrics during the main part of the song, but that's something I never found as a real turn off...I kinda saw that as more of another part of his charm. He wasn't perfect, but Gawd Damned was he ever amazing! Any lyrical flub was completely erased from memory when he hammered the shit outta the ending.
Every time I saw Jerry play there was literally no place I'd rather be on the planet at that place and time. Good show/Bad show...it never mattered, If he was playin' I wanted to see him!
After everything I'd been through leading up to him playing this song this way, when he broke into the ending the way he did, I felt like Jerry was playing it just for me, and I was fortunate enough to share it with thousands and thousands of the kindest people you'd ever wanna meet. It completely carried me away.
This show was beyond something special for me. I mean...I said all these words just now, but really it was truly so much more. I was lucky enough to get a real smokin' SBD copy of this show pretty quickly too, and when I did, hell yeah I played the shit outta it over and over!
When my bro, Paul, brought Mickey to play in our little-ass mountain hometown in BC in early 2013, he let me and one of my best friends of 30 years come meet him. Brian flew in from Ontario for the two shows. His first flight in the morning was cancelled 'causea shitty weather, so we virtually went straight from the airport to the venue 'cause there was no time to waste. He didn't understand why we were there so early.
I didn't tell him he was gonna get to meet Mickey until a couple minutes before Paul let us in. It wasn't until after Paul came out to talk to us that I told him. Bri both totally couldn't believe it, but also somehow wasn't surprised. Needless to say, it blew his freakin' mind! It was pretty excellent for sure.
Knowing I was gonna get to meet Mickey, I brought the first set of that Boston show with me. I got to tell him about what this meant to me (and why) while he was signing it. Then, me and Bri got a photo with him. Paul let us come back in to talk to Mickey again the next night so I had foresight enough to print off two of those photos into 8x10's, and brought a marker so Mick could sign those too.
So Many Roads to Heal My Soul...