Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Been All Around This World

Going through the Library to reorganize the shows and had some silly ol’ thoughts about the way folks were namin’ places back then, and I sure did wanna share some of ’em with you. Maybe it’ll getcha smilin’.

Lloyd Noble, Sam Boyd, Henry J. Kaiser, Roscoe Maples…who were these mysterious and brave people cutting swatches of life out of the broadcloth of the world? We’ll never know. (Oilman, gambler, shipbuilder, lover of pavilions. What’s weird is that Sam is short for Samantha and Roscoe is a family name, so these four names actually represent two men, two women and features a full range of ethnic diversity. Kidding: they look like political cartoon Robber Barons from the 1890’s.)

Everybody’s terrifying old favorite: War Memorial Stadium.

Was Red Rocks as bad as blue balls?

Legion Stadium is clearly where the end of Days will be kicking off.

The Mosque? In Atlanta?

Pirate’s World, Catholic Youth Center, gym, assembly hall, gym, gym, gym. They played a lot of shitty barns, didn’t they?

The Jai-Alai Fronton in Miami, which is redundant, because all a fronton is for is jai-alai. It’s like a velodrome or an aquarium or Billy’s second bedroom: only one thing gets done there and you should have realized it going in. Now, you’re sticky. (Jai-Alai is a great game: wiry Cubans who just barely sized out of jockey school whipping what amounts to a cue ball against a wall at 170 mph and catching it with wicker. Plus, betting.)

The hippie names: the Family Dog, the Great Highway, the Warehouse, the Euphoria Ballroom, the University of Oregon.

The beautiful ones: the Boston Music Hall, the Academy of Music, Winterland, the Great Western Forum, the Beacon Theatre.

The strangely generic: Atlanta Municipal Auditorium, Cape Cod Coliseum, Broome County Arena. (Was there not ONE MAN of the high standards of, say, Sam Boyd in the community? HARRUMPH.)

The cheery: Merriweather Post Pavillion. (Say it out loud. Fun, right?)

The outdoorsy: Buckeye Lake, Pine Knob, Alpine Valley

The Hellenic: the Greek Theater.

The Hellenistic: St. Paul Auditorium.


  1. Roscoe Maples, a member of Stanford’s Class of 1904, was the main benefactor behind a new basketball arena on the campus that was opened in 1969, by which time he was no longer among the living. That arena still bears his name and, in 1973, was the site of my first Dead concert.

    Henry J. Kaiser was a shipbuilding tycoon who not only had his name on a now-defunct convention hall in Oakland, but he is the very same Kaiser whose name now graces many people’s HMO plans.

    Winterland – ah, the fabled Winterland! It really was once an ice rink, the “Home of the Ice Follies.” From 1965-78, it was a decrepit old hulk that held only 5400 people and hosted shows from just about anyone who mattered in rock. I can name only 2 major bands from that era who didn’t play there: the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. The Stones, the Who, Dylan, Bowie, Springsteen, the Sex Pistols – they all played there. And, of course, the Dead did, dozens of times.

    At Post & Steiner now: condos.

  2. The Mosque is in Richmond – huge Arab population, you know capitol of the confederacy and all.

  3. I also remember my disappointment to find that Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, is neither by the shore or really very mountainous. It sure sounded good from the East Coast.

    • Well, you can kind of see the “mountains” from Mountain View, on a clear day anyway. They’re really more like foothills. And the “shoreline” must refer to the swampy wetlands near the bay. “Marketing” is what it’s called. Hey, it attracted Google, didn’t it?

  4. on the way to my first show, SCAD in ’85, on a train with a bunch of heds, a crispy hippie asked me if i was going on to merriweather post. he said it sounds like a girl’s school, and ten started chanting the name in a song-songy lilt. “merry weather poh-ost, merry weather poh-ost.” was that you?

  5. I want to know about the Miami Fronton show. Due to the high-speed nature of the sport, frontons have a floor to ceiling wall of chicken-wire to prevent the pelotas from killing the audience. Did the Dead play a show behind chicken-wire, and if so, did good ole boys in the audience throw their beer bottles against it ?

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