The Grateful Dead and Cigars

For those who know my history , I am a Dead Head. Not the extreme Dead Head who travels all over the country , going to their concerts.

I would go to the local venue  and see them perhaps several concerts in a row or hit them  close by. So , fade back in time  , they might be playing in New York City at the Academy of Music, go to the Capitol theatre in New Jersey or Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.  This was good enough for me.

Thirty years later, I would book the Dead or the most reincarnation  of them , once a year.  In LA they often played at the Forum which was an easy trip to get to. Take the 405 , fight the traffic and voila, you are in the parking lot waiting to get in.

My Dead connection was my friend Pat who always got the tickets. We made the jaunt , listening to bootlegs and smoked cigars in his car. This was always the plan. I would bring the smokes for the trip heading to the show,, we would smoke on the grounds of the Forum and then we have one for the returning road trip .

At this particular show which featured Warren Haynes formerly of the Allman Brothers Band on lead guitar , we arrived about an hour before the start so we could walk around and take in the scene.

Of course , many other folks got there way earlier than us, so the Dead family had their enclaves of tents, vendors selling gear and the usual burn outs. As we checked things over, we broke out Rocky Patel cigars. Sounds pretty boring huh?, in the land of dopers and other illegal substances. That’s what we thought too.

A Dead freak started to yell at us, ” Hey dudes, put that shit out, it smells bad, you can’t smoke cigars here. ” as he downed his beer.  We ignored him, walked away but soon enough from another voice, ” you guys are not cool, don’t smoke near me.”

Pat and I looked at each other and I said, ” Do you believe this ? ”  Deadheads were getting pissed off at us for smoking cigars.  Were they clueless on how much doping, beer, alcohol drinking and other stuff was going on? This was very weird.  We still smoked our cigars, smiled and never got in any real argument with the rest of the Dead clan. The Dead crew continued to do what they do and we did what we did.

What a long, strange trip it’s been.


Keep smoking 


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