Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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My family introduced me to the Grateful Dead. My sister Chris and her husband Peter are longtime fans. Visiting her house in Berkeley in the eighties revealed backstage passes in the bathroom and concert posters in the halls.

My brother Colin turned me on to their music by handing me Skeletons in the Closet, a tape of their gratest hits I listened to in an endless loop for days.

My first Grateful Dead experience was at the Rosemont Horizon in 1988. They played three shows, I went to two. Before they started the first, I turned to my brother "Wouldn't it be cool if they played Shakedown Street?"

It was their opening song.

Each time the Dead came through Chicago I would go to see them. My brother had left for college, but I had friends that were entering their own deadhead phase.

In high school, you couldn't ignore them. Did you disdain stupid hippy throwback wanna-be's or were you on the bus?

Dead shows encourage a losing of one's mind - it don't matter if you wanna stand there twitching or shakin' or groovin', cuz the guy next to you is on another planet. Sometimes, everyone at the shows is on the same planet, and it's like a new society.

They were good at helping people have a good time. You could dance or zone out to any of their songs. Rather than awe of rock power, they encouraged warm folky familiarity.

I go to too many concerts where the performer is pretending, the audience is pretending, everyone is trying so hard to be cool and to lose themselves.

With no pretenses and little hype, the Dead would urge thousands to their feet ecstatically groovin' for two unrepentant hours.

It was like good religion.

I saw my last Dead show June 4. I had stopped going to see them after Philly ticket prices topped $35. My sister called me that Sunday morning, "You want to go see the Dead today?"

I had just arrived in San Francisco, it was the beginning of the summer, the weather was wonderful. I spent most of the show in my skirt dancing around the concrete embankments of the Shoreline Amphitheatre.

I respect anyone who offers me that kind of opportunity.

Over the years, I've grooved on the Dead with Jonathan, Cam, Raina, Jeeks, Howard, Mike, the Petersens, Jerry, Chandra, Steve
Multimedia tour experience
Someone photographed some Jerry Garcia Haight Street Shrines

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