SHIP OF FOOLS 1998
by American Deadheads Margret Mc Lamb & Michael Kelly
Eight hours on the road to Potsdam from Frankfurt: the first summery heat, holiday traffic, relentless construction and a kaput car stereo. Finally entering the city, my wife Marguerite and I began to rethink our Ship of Fools weekend plans; maybe we were attending a Dead celebration on the Ship for Fools. Lost sailors, we somehow found our way directly to the dock for the Theaterschiff. (Perhaps the compass always does point to Terrapin). The sun began to shine in our back door once again; we saw the flyer for “30-31 Mai Ship of Fools Deadhead Celebration” and knew we were at the station. Tuning in to Linus and Deadicace on the evening radio showbroadcast from Berlin, we made our way to the Pirschheide campground. We pulled into the reception lodge, with no idea what or who to expect, and were immediately greeted by several Euroheads from Hamburg. A gleeful surprise! We pitched our tent in what became a small Deadhead village, peacefully chatted with our old friends and let the night sing us to sleep. With the morning sun came pleasant anticipation. It had been several months since the last full-blown Dead meeting; tonight was going to be special. The day was free for relaxing and taking in some of Potsdam´s many sights and offerings; Sanssouci Palace and Park were a perfect choice for this. Enjoying a perfect blue sky and bright sun, we left our cares behind as we wandered for several hours amid great beauty, both natural and manmade. An interesting tie: above the entry to his house, Jerry posted a sign bearing the same name, Sanssouci: “No problem”. Experiencing the park, we felt the same way. We eventually made our way to the Ship of Fools for the three o´clock sound check. Deadicace was just arriving. Setting up equipment and chatting with the other deadheads, they were as excited as us about what the night held in store. Totally psyched, we returned to the camp ground and prepared for the evening. Several Deadheads had newly arrived on the scene, bringing with them more excitement and brewing expectations. After a meal of grilled veggies, chicken and bratwurst, a few beers, a nap, and an inspiring thunderstorm, we all left the campground for the Ship.
For live music, the Ship is a terrific venue. The stage is located down the hatch, and the cavernous, wooden hull induced a sound that was just exactly right. The dim red lighting created a surreal atmosphere that made one feel as if they had stepped into a completely different world. By 1100 things had gotten loose on board the Ship. Everyone was smiling, breathing the scene in without a care in the world.Two members of the band Wild Horses opened the music with several Dead numbers. Received very well, they had the crowd clapping to rousing renditions of tunes such as Deep Elem Blues. Immediately after the Wild Horses´ set´s end, Deadicace took the stage. They were literally a reincarnation of the 1973 Dead line up with a much better Donna, in the person of Nikki Matheson. The band stormed into a juicy Bertha, the perfect opener! The crowd was already in overdrive before the conclusion of the first number and was ready for anything. A fine When Push Comes to Shove segued into a great Stranger.
Things could only get stranger and certainly did with tremendous versions of Jack Straw, Friend of the Devil, and West LA Fade Away. The Dead couldn´t have played any better to get a crowd moving as we were. The set concluded with a blistering Shakedown that nearly sank the ship, with the frenzied revelry and grooving on board. After a much needed break, Deadicace reemerged and slipped into an unusual second set opener, Hey Pocky Way. Nice call, guys! The second set then exploded with magnificient versions of Viola Lee Blues, Playing, Eyes, Morning Dew, and Lovelight. At times during Playing, Eyes, and Lovelight, I was at Winterland 1974. This scene is exactly how I imagine those nights of yore. Baccanalian dancing, gleaming eyes, and smiling, blissful faces. The first encore was no surprise and a pleasant one at that — to have One More Saturday Night was essential, and Deadicace jammed the tune on this (Sunday) morning. Shining Star closed the show on a completely wistful and hopeful note. Another great call by the band. What more could Sunday night hold in store? The music ended just after three o´ clock with everyone starry eyed and happy. We headed back to the campground, and all who could stay the next night were thrilled at the prospect already.
Radio Eins, Potsdam, Germany. Live Acoustic Broadcast 29.05.98:
Friend Of The Devil, Deep Elem Blues, The Lee Shore
Bertha, When Push Comes to Shove, Feel Like a Stranger, Cold Rain and Snow, Mississippi Half Step, Jack Straw, Big River, Friend of the Devil, West L.A. Fadeaway, Shakedown Street Hey Pocky Way, Loose Lucy, I Need a Miracle > Viola Lee Blues, Candyman > Playing in the Band > Eyes of the World > Drums > Space > Playing reprise > Morning Dew, Turn on Your Lovelight One More Saturday Night, Shining Star (sitting in Matthias Peter (drums) from Eyes > end
´Ship of Fools´, Theaterschiff, Potsdam, Germany. 31.05.98
(with Nikki Matheson)
Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Franklin´s Tower > Wharf Rat, How Sweet It Is, Sailing Shoes > He´s Gone > Here Comes Sunshine, Sugaree, The Harder They Come, To Lay Me Down, Casey Jones China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Black Peter, Mr Charlie, Truckin´ > The Other One > Whipping Post > Drums > Space > Terrapin > At a Siding > Stella Bleue, Deal, Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain > Not Fade Away, Ship of Fools E: Easy to Slip> Dear Prudence> We Bid You Goodnight
(sitting in: Matthias Peter (drums) from Truckin´ > end; Hajo Lorenz (guitar, vocals) for Scarlet>Fire>NFA)