Where the hell are you, Pig?
“Not America! Can’t make hair nor hide o’ one word these people saying!”
Do they sound angry or hoity-toity?
You’re in France.
“The Pig don’t like it! I’m a damn California boy. How can a man sing the blues when he’s turnin’ blue? It ain’t natural!”
I agree. How you feeling?
“Not so hot.”
“Yeah, I made a li’l joke. Nah, I ain’t so great. S’okay, though. Touring Europe’s just what the doctor ordered.”
“Hell, no, peabrain! Fact, the doc said to me the exact opposite thing! Was specific ’bout it, too! ‘Pig, whatever you do: don’t let no one drag you ’round Europe on a bus, and then make you stand out in the cold all afternoon.’ Wrote it all down on his pad!”
Well, what do doctors know?
“That’s right. The Pig’s schedule ain’t made by no sawbones!”
Seriously, though: you look cold. Do you want some cocoa?
“Aw, you know they don’t make it right over here. Probably all fancy.”
I’ll find you some Nesquik.
“And if you could rustle up some of them itty-bitty marshmallows, then I wouldn’t mind.”
Penduluminescent super troopers wrestle feedback gremlins in the balcony, while the ushers and the kids have ongoing discussions about the propriety of sitting on stairs, and the road crew barters for blowjobs backstage. The bathrooms need to be cleaned, cleansed, purified, all. In the concourse run round the loge, there is dynamism and torque, spooky action at such a far distance from the stage, where the next chord is a B minor.
So, there’s Doug Sahm singing on the left; all the way in back with the Strat is Leon Russell, and there’s our man Reddy Kilowatt standing behind the drummer because otherwise he would be able to hear the bass drum. I wanna say Buddy Cage is on drums, but I’m guessing, and also Buddy Cage might be black, but I also could be thinking about Buddy Miles. (I know Buddy Holly was white and Buddy Guy is black, but besides those two I cannot tell one Buddy from another.) You know the shaggy fellow on the pedal steel.
The violinists are Abigail and Zachariah Mumphree, twin virtuosos from Galveston who need to be separated lest they start fencing with their bows again.
Sometimes we go left to right, sometimes we don’t. This is one of those “don’t” times.
- You could show Lawrence of Arabia on Keith’s forehead.
- As with all early Dead photos, one member is wearing a silly hat. (Not Pig; Pig’s hat is not silly; Pig’s hat is awesome, but only on Pig. Were any other Grateful Dead wearing the hat, it would become silly.)
- Calm down, Phil.
- This might be a shot from Europe ’72, I’m not sure, but it looks cold; someone get Keith a jacket.
- Later that afternoon, Billy’s mustache and Bobby’s coat made loud, angry love in full view of the students at school for the Deaf.
- Garcia is friends with a bear, and they have adventures.
- Also, Garcia is friends with Bear; they, too, have adventures.
- Seriously, Phil: simmer down.
“Jer, y’think we should have a backdrop or something? Maybe, you know, a cleaner kinda look?”
“Huh, yeah, that would look better. But the show starts in an hour, Bobby.”
“That’s enough time. Precarious?”
“Think you can rustle up a backdrop before the show?”
“Saw a high school a mile away. High schools have auditoriums.”
“You know what to do.”
You almost certainly know this one: it’s Freddie Scott’s Are You Lonely For Me, Baby from the ’72 Academy of Music run; the Dead only played it once onstage, but listening to it again for the millionth time, I now believe that they only played it once, period. They simply don’t know how the song goes, but it’s close enough for rock and roll, and elegantly scruffed and nicked at the edges. Give it a whirl.
What a specific rando you were that day,
Naked Pole Guy.
Fame has been earned with far less coin.
Were you with friends?
Did you go it alone?
An isolated incident,
Or were you known for nudity?
(Every group has one.)
Did you get a splinter in your dick?
With the umbrella in Dealey Plaza,
Kissing the nurse in Times Square,
Who never said his name was D.B. Cooper,
There are levels to mitzvah–
(Jews enjoy lists)
–the highest form leaves no signature.
To forfeit the naming rights,
Naked Pole Guy:
That is the highest form of mitzvah, and
Naked Pole Guy,
On that day your form was the highest.
I heard you were still in Oregon;
You owned a borax mine,
And many head of cattle.
The internet says you’re abroad:
Scuttlebutt has you in Florida;
That sounds right.
May the sun only stroke you,
And gravity not bother.
May your dick not get splintered,
And don’t ever come down.
Now we know how he got up there.
Hey, kids! What day is it?
Prince Spaghetti Day?
Rex Manning Day?
Feast of the Fools?
Buffet of the Buffoons?
That’s a fun and evocative phrase, but it’s not a thing. It’s Veneta Day!
That’s not a thing, either.
Reverend Dimsdale from Scarlet Letter‘s fancy, well-dressed brother.
You’re ruining Veneta Day.
Ken Babbs did that years ago.
I’ve been listening to 8/27/72 for God knows how many years, and I keep thinking I’m going to stop hating the sound of his voice and the content of his announcements.
Fucker liked that microphone.
Someone had to be in charge.
Isn’t it weird how people who think that someone needs to be in charge always think that the person in charge should be them?
Let’s stop screwing around and let the nice people listen to the Veneta show.
Sure. What if they want to look at a fat guy with his ding-dong hanging out of his jeans?
You think it’s for Harambe?
Yes. Yes, I do.
Hey, Garcia. Windy?
“This thing even about us anymore?”
On and off. Focus wanders.
“It’ll do that.”