WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP...

From a DeadHeads wife:

What A Long Strange Trip...by Michael Gartz

The Weeks before,  August, September 1994         
Part 1

Michael

after all those months, thinking about whether to go to the u.s.a to see the dead or not, not knowing how to mail-order the tickets, not knowing if i will get holidays this time, i finally decided to order tickets for all of the 6 shows at MSG. stephen sterns and cosmic cowboy (Ian Whitehouse) helped me a lot, told me how to mail-order, and told me to have faith in GDTS, to get these tickets.

 

everything seemed to work good, but i didnt know the MO-date yet and i finally missed it......

it was the date, when compuserve removed the message somebody posted, saying this is * advertising * and its against the CS-policy......

i was very down this evening when i received a mail of stephen, telling me that the date was today... at this time it was to late for me to get the money orders and i wanted to give it up..

at this evening i had a chat with cosmic cowboy, i told him everything, and he said : dont give up, do it tommorow, you MUST do it....

so i did....

some weeks later i called the GDTS-hotline to ask if i will get my tickets. i wanted to know it a little time in advance because i had to buy plane tickets and they are cheaper the earlier i buy them.  this i told to a woman named ruby at GDTS. she was very friendly and kind to me, and said: you should buy your plane tickets, you will have a fine time in new york ..........

now i was sure, this dream will come true.... :) :) :)

finally around september 15th, the postman brought the tickets.....  I GOT THEM !!!!!!

i ordered 2 tickets for each of the shows, i planned to go with a friend to go to new york, my wife heike got no holidays in this time.

but- my friend franz was not able to go with me, he lost his work, had to be careful with the money now... what a pitty :( . we wanted to help him, but he didnt want to take....

so i decided to go alone, whatever will happen, and had an extra-ticket now to give away.

at this time i saw a message at the forum, posted by a swedish guy, per olof ljungmark, asking how to get tickets for dead shows at MSG. the mail-order was long over and i sent him a mail, that he can get my extras for face value. he was definately interested and finally bought all 6 tickets. but he was just be able to see only the 3 last shows at MSG because he had to work in LA during the first three.  so he asked me to send the first 3 tickets to a guy in long island named brian halpin.  per olof had a chat with cosmic cowboy at these days, and cos knew brian and knew that he was looking for tickets, too.  so i did..... small cyberworld....

everything worked well, they got their tickets, me my money, it was o.k. to trust the boys..

its fun to imagine, a boy in long island got his tickets for dead-shows in new york from a guy in germany.....

 

What a Long Strange Trip...    october, 12, 13th, 1994         Part 2

Airborne....

after 4 hours of delay, the plane had some technical ground problems, the lufthansa flight LH408 started to new york with a very nervous and excited guy on board........ after a chicken diner i started to cool down a little, got a beer and started to enjoy the flight. under us ireland, we reach the atlantic ocean..  a dany de vito movie starts, funny.. some hours are gone, greenland is beside us.. long way from home..

in my mind, memories awake, in the seventies when i travelled alone to canada to visit friends... its a very smooth flight, the stewards and stewardesses are friendly, i take a pillow and start to relax.. the lights in the plane are off, it starts to be comforTABLE. i have a 2-seat-row for me alone..we reach canada, gander newfoundland, we reached the american continent....  halifax, boston under us, a beautiful night-view of boston...25 more minutes to new york... we have to put on the seat-belts. very soon i will be there.. excited... a lot of thoughts in my mind... as soon as i will arrive at the hotel, i will call my wife heike .... i miss her...

its around 9 pm, we land at kennedy airport in new york. immigration, standing in a row for a long time, and after all the taxi to the hotel.  the skyline of manhattan comes closer, it will be my first time here in this big city...

arriving at the roosevelt hotel, went to my room, put my luggage down and called heike to tell her that i had a save landing.... happy to hear her voice....

after, i went down, bought some beer around the block and went back to the hotel, and called stephen sterns, who lives in new york city. nice to hear him, after a lot of e-mailing, to hear him personally.. he will pick me up at the hotel at 5:30 pm the next day to take me to the garden...

time to sleep now......

the night is over, slept well. after breakfast in the hotel i went out to get my first impressions of new york city... the buildings, so big.... many people on the streets, the traffic.... oh, i feel a little unsecure... saw the big building of grand central station inside...walked down madison ave., the empire state building came in sight... me, walking around to get to the madison sqare garden, to take a first look, to check out the scene..

then.. the big screen... today:
THE GRATEFUL DEAD with an animated SYF picture at the main entrance of the garden....  i felt like walking through a movie.... like dreaming... tie-dye shirts all around, much police around the garden.... i went inside, and they offered a guided tour through the garden. i thought it would be a good idea to make it. they showed us much inside the garden, the paramount theatre, and then we went inside in one of this private suites inside the garden. very interesting, and i got a first view to this great venue.. and the stage... everything was prepared, except the drums werent built up..

i will be here again this evening.........

 

First Show october, 13th, 1994 Part 3

5:30 pm. stephen calls me from the hotel lobby. my first meeting with him. i came down, saw a guy with a GD-cap on, GD-tshirt.... that must be stephen, no doubt... happy to meet him. we went to the hotel bar and had our first beer, and then he went to the garden with me. he had no ticket for this first show, we had another beer at a bar, and we went together to the msg-entrance.  a huge crowd of deadheads all around, and much, much police, too.  i start to get excited again.....

and went inside the garden to find my seat in section 126, row C.  great seat... the people around me, very friendly, peaceful..  hi, im jim, hi, im bill... were are you from? im mike from germany..... it starts to be like in a family.....

then- the lights go down.... the moment i awaited for years.... the boys come out..... the crowd stands up...... the grateful dead............. and me, im here, its not a dream...... jerry in a red jogging-pant, about 2 sizes too large, bobby in shorties... i love the boys.... they open with touch of grey... i will survive..... singing, dancing, smiling everywhere... great to be here in this big family... enjoying the people, the music, the lights. deep feelings of luck and happiness inside me..

during the break, suddenly a guy beside me asking me: are you michael?? yes... its brian, who got my 3 extras. a great guy, im very happy to meet him, time for a beer....

second set. some of my favourites, playing in the band, and after D/S and the other one they start to play wharf rat, i wished the play it,  one i like so much, and listening to these words and music, i felt some tears running over my face... sooo happy....... the head, the body, filled up with music...

after the show we walked around the garden, seeing the scene, deadheads all around and went to blarney rock to have some beer. nice place, dead-music and much heads around here, too, and nice people to meet. me, feeling so great and lucky, with a big smile on my face...

at the hotel again, heike called me and i told her all about what happened. she said i can hear you smiling ...... she is not so into the grateful dead, but she told me, she put some dead records on the player this evening and enjoyed it...... good to hear....

 

Second Show   october, 14th, 1994

after sleeping long, until almost 12, i walked around in new york, looked around and start to be more familiar with this big city.

i will meet brian at around 6 pm at blarney rock again, were we will have a first beer and meet good people. my body starts to swing, hearing the dead-tunes there..

i like to go inside the MSG early, find the seat, sit down and relax a little before the show. i like this venue very much, its comforTABLE. before the show the lights are dimmed, the stage  lights are on a little, a really good atmosphere. this time, we have section 87D, row A. great again. thanx to GDTS !!

the opener is jack straw.. dancing starts, moving, feeling the music.. great atmosphere again around us, a family as usual, sharing drinks, smoke <g>, taking care of each other...

second set, scarlet begonias/fire on the mountain .... around 35 minutes long... a very great one.. great to see jerry how he is into the music, not wanting to stop playing... our clothes start to be wet, sweating...

after a great show, i went with brian to blarneys again, and then we went to see his ex-girlfriend were brian stays during this days. we had a bread, rest down a little and went to another bar after... long nights....

back in the hotel, slept til 11 a.m the morning and had breakfast at a mongolian shop beside the hotel. nice and funny place. it will be our breakfast-station during all of these days.

 

Third Show    october, 15th, 1994 

green trees in this big city. a good time to walk to central park.

what a weather and what a nice, big park. much people around, musicians, artists, lakes and ponds, the squirrels... a good place to relax. its a nice view, this park arounded by this big buildings. you need almost a day to see everything here. i rested down somewhere there, had a coffee and felt good. it was time to rest, my legs got heavy from walking around, dancing at the shows.

after, i saw the dakota building, the place were john lennon died .... i remember the video where he and yoko walked through central park ........... sad..... :(

after the usual warm-up with brian, we went to the garden again for the saturday-show. today we have the best tickets. section 2, row G !!!!! ... god bless GDTS !!!! that was a great feeling, being almost on the stage, just vis-a-vis jerry ...... and the sound..... just beside brian, was a guy from england, he came over for the shows like me.

great show again, i stopped to compare the shows, every show is unique... great to see the boys from so close, see the technical things and how they play. im happy to see jerry, he looks well and healthy, smiled a lot, joking with bobby, to see how much he is into the music.  i remember the threads on rocknet, that jerry and bobby dont talk to each other... this here didnt look like this ......

here comes sunshine as second set opener.. i feel sunshine, too.... smiling.... very hot in the floor section, dancing, moving.. great time.....

after the show, we went to visit a friend of brians girlfriend at home, good to see how the people live here in new york. after, to a bar again, long night again...

after, i had to say good-bye to brian. it was his last show in new york and he will go back to long island.  i am very glad to meet brian, unfortunately he is no CIS-member, but i will write to him. was a great time with him.

at home in the hotel, heike called me. its election this sunday in germany, and she just returned from giving her vote. nice to hear her voice, sharing the beautiful things happening here.  usually she hates to stay home alone, but this time, she said, is not so hard, she feels happy with me, feeling the energy......

i went to bed at around 4:30 a.m. ................

 

sunday, time to rest .... october, 16th, 1994

stephen sterns and his wife elizabeth invited me for today to their home at 2 p.m. i feel very tired this day, my legs, my body .. it was a very relaxing day with stephen and elizabeth, hanging around on the sofa, talking, listening to dead music, watching football on tv.  i needed that..... he copied some tapes of one of the last years MSG-shows with david murray with the dead for me. nice to have these tapes now. for the evening, elizabeth prepared a very tasty meal, red beans with meat, rice and corn-bread, louisianna-style - mmhh !!! (thank you, elizabeth !!) and thank you both for a nice day.

sometime in the evening, i left the both alone, to meet up with per olof ljungmark from sweden, who arrived today in the roosevelt hotel. around 11 p.m. i called him on his room, but he went to bed early and he sounded very sleepy... <g> so, we made a date for breakfast. anyway, it was nice to hear he is here, to see 3 more shows with him. a good opportunity for me to go to bed a little earlier......

(continued next message ..........)

 

Fourth Show  Part 5

i met per olof at the hotel lobby. we had much e-mail before because of the ticket-transfer, but i have seen him never before, like the other guys i met via cis. its great for me to meet people this way, different people, but all have one thing to share: the grateful dead....

its really a community, a family.....

we went to the mongolian breakfast station (smokers section), took our breakfast, talked, ...Euroheads United ..... its a great time.... we walked around a little in new york, no special plans, but it was fun.

in the evening, diner at the mongolian again, a big food buffet, nice things to eat, you take what you can carry and pay by weight.... good idea, and very cheap. after, we headed to the  garden and before blarneys for a beer.

it will be per olofs first show since 1990 in europe (like me, the week before).  we have our seats in section 55B, row B, the first phil-side tickets. great seats again, very close to the stage. i liked the show very much again, some of my favourites like FOTD, eyes, estimated, the wheel and, of course, morning dew, touching every point inside........

and then, the encore. i didnt recognize him, he turned his back to us... per olof said, its bob dylan, i didnt believe and he asked me : do you know any other one who looks like this guy there??  yes, it was mr. bob dylan !!!!!  oh, what a luck we have. we didnt hear a lot of him, but anyway, he was there.....

after the show, the body is cooking, the soul is smiling .... smile, smile, smile........ in the aisles and outside, music everywhere, drums, dancing, singing, what a big time....... we went to blarneys again, and met stephen and had some beer and tequilla..... ole !

later, taxi, we went to bed.

 

Fifth Show october  18th, 1994

i dont remember exactly if it was today or on wednesday, doesnt matter, per olof and i made some sightseeing.  we went to battery park and took the boat to liberty island. it was a beautiful day, sunny and warm and we enjoyed it very much. the great view on the skyline of manhattan, hanging around on the island, got some coffee and talked. we felt like on holidays in spain, sun and the smell of the sea...

in the evening, my 5th show here and per olofs 2nd.  great seats again, section 2, row N (!).

i think, this were the seats with the best sound we got since here.  i never experienced such  a great sound in any concerts i have seen to date. clear like glass, we were able to hear every instrument, the bass (phil, a genius for me..), drums, keyboards and jerrys guitar.

this evening i took a camera inside and made some nice photos of the boys.

this evening they played many of my favourites like franklins, althea, cassidy, hes gone and for me, a real great one, the days between....  i like this song very much, typical jerry one, little bit like stella blue or morning dew....

during the break, we walked around a little behind the stage and i was very surprised about  the several mixing-sections on the stage. very high sophisticated technical equipment i must say.

i learned, that you have to take care a little about yourself during the shows, drinking a lot of water during the break is a good idea. you can feel very exhausted otherwise..

< evian-water with lots of ice was good....

after the show, still in the seat, we met a guy from austria. he was somebody who is touring  to see every dead show. was interesting to talk about this kind of life, he said, sometimes its hard, not knowing were to sleep and were to find food, but he said he knows for what he is doing this and its worth for him... another kind of life...  he asked for my address to stay in touch, trade some tapes... he was like many others of the heads, peaceful, friendly and no kind of aggression.

this i will keep always in my heart, i really felt NO kind of agression during my stays here at MSG.  sure, there maybe other kind of people, too, but i didnt experience ANY kind of bad behaviour or agressions, just peaceful, nice people and atmosphere during this run. thats one of the most important experiences i made here, that made me feel so good.

(continued next message.........)

 

Sixth Show     october 19th, 1994

during the day, i felt very tired, a cold is coming up..

per olof and i used the afternoon for a little trip to greenwich village. we walked around in the record stores, looked to these old and funny little stores around, and spent some time in a huge and funny store for used books. we took a pizza in a small restaurant there, good and very cheap. took an hour to rest down a little on the bed, and then we walked to our last show :(

seats were in section 124, row C.  good again, we had much luck with all these tix.< we enjoyed the show again, it was a little quieter than the other ones for my oppinion, i liked it very much.  bird song, terrapin and stella blue, of course... closed eyes, enjoying, just the music in my head... it will be the last for a long time to come.... brokedown palace, a good song to say good bye, but i feel a little sad now. the time slips away so fast, but the memories will last.....

after the show we met at blarney stones, were the netheads use to meet. stephen is there, too. we got some drinks and nice talking and after we had to say good bye to stephen.. :( it was great to meet him, nice guy. we will stay in touch....

 

Good Bye, New York     october 20th, 1994

as per olof and i went out to go to breakfast - rain outside....  the first rain during our stay here... that fits... we had our breakfast, and after we had to check-out the hotel at 12. we both are tired, but the smile is still there.  per olof flies home today, too, but some hours later than me. so he waited till my shuttle bus came, we hung around in the hotel lobby. then, we had to say good-bye, the euroheads go their ways... i hope to see him again some day, maybe next year on another run of shows....... we stay in touch, of course......

in the shuttle bus, the seat beside me, another deadhead from st. paul.... i recognized him, he had a wrist-watch with a SYF-logo.... the row behind me, two deadhead girls from california....  we are everywhere......

two hours at the airport, i relaxed in a seat, my head full of impressions....

for me, one of the most beautiful experiences i made in my life.....thanks God....

because of my cold, i completely lost my voice in the plane, wasnt able to speak. but i felt very relaxed, didnt watch the movie during the flight. i took the headphone, switched to some kind of new-age meditative music and felt very filled up with these impressions i carry  with me.....

i arrived around 6:30 a.m. in duesseldorf , took the taxi home. i thought, my wife heike is out for work, but at the door outside she put a big paper-heart and wrote on it : welcome home, deadhead, i love you.......... what a nice surprise, she was there, took her in my arms, not able to speak, but no words were necessary....... Thats it,  just my impressions....... i hope my english was not too bad....

a big thank you to all of you deadheads and friends i met over there, who made my stay to be such a great time,

and not to forget, thank you to jerry, bobby, phil, bill, mickey and vince........ you made my heart swing.....

From a DeadHeads wife:

Heikewhile michael spent almost the whole weekend at his machine, writing his first and longest essay since he left school, i decided to write a little post-scriptum. when michael  heared his first GD-music in the late sixties, i have been a little girl, listening to fairytales... today, i think it wasnt so different, and for michael it seems that fairytales had become true on this big new york trip. i had to stay home, but i felt the mystery and fascination of the grateful dead shows everytime i talked to michael on the phone.. we now live together for 12 years, i can hardly imagine a moment, michaels voice sounded so happy and grateful <g> when i talked to him. i heard he was smiling all over his face. prior to his trip, i wished so hardly that his expectations and wishes would become true. today, i think it was more.  it wasnt the music alone, it was a feeling of celebrating a wonderful time in community and peacefulness. he met friends there, where borderlines and different nations are never important. actually, im a deadheads wife, but i believe in future i could become a deadhead, too. i m just  waiting for my first show... at last, i want to thank all the people, michael met on his trip, for their friendlyness and being so warmhearted.

just some words of a deadheads wife.

heike love,

 

Copyright (C) 1994, 1999 Michael Gartz