This Ain’t The Summer Of Love

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This Ain't The Summer Of Love

This past Tues­day, the mys­te­ri­ous yet not myth­i­cal Mrs. Dude and I took in a one night only pre­sen­ta­tion of a con­cert film. Well, to be accu­rate I took it in; she endured it. Said film was a never-​before shown Grate­ful Dead show recorded in the sum­mer of 1989 at RFK Sta­dium in Wash­ing­ton D.C. Given how I’ve got­ten into the band in recent years, this is as close as I’ll come to see­ing them live (sorry, John Mayer, but Dead and Com­pany doesn’t do it for me).

Although the Dead are com­monly and not inac­cu­rately asso­ci­ated with San Fran­cisco, Haight-​Ashbury, hip­pies, the Sum­mer of Love, etc etc etc (trans­la­tion: sex, drugs, rock’n’roll), many non-​fans are sur­prised to learn the band had a huge and fiercely loyal fol­low­ing on the east coast. And I do mean fol­low­ing, with mul­ti­tudes pil­ing into their VW microbuses and fol­low­ing the Dead from show to show, sell­ing any­thing avail­able — includ­ing them­selves if need be — in order to score con­cert tick­ets. It truly was a long, strange trip.

Musi­cally, either you get the Grate­ful Dead’s free-​flowing mix of easy blues, Amer­i­cana, roots rock, folk, free-​form jazz, and what­ever else came to mind dur­ing assorted lengthy impro­vi­sa­tion ses­sions, or you find them quite pos­si­bly the most bor­ing rock band in his­tory. Either is okay. I don’t pos­sess 1800 dif­fer­ent con­cert tapes, pour­ing obses­sively over each one and thus able to imme­di­ately tell whether a song is from Watkins Glen in 1973 or Boise in 1982. Fur­ther, I couldn’t tell you if the band played either of those loca­tions dur­ing said years. Or at all. I lis­ten to live shows on Sir­ius XM’s Grate­ful Dead chan­nel, I own a few live CDs, and I have all of the band’s stu­dio efforts. That’s good enough for me, sugaree.

Any­way, back to the con­cert film. It was magic. The band was on that night both musi­cally and per­son­ally, with shared smiles the norm from start to fin­ish (i.e. from “Touch of Grey” to “Black Muddy River”). It was good to pre­tend, at least for a cou­ple of hours, that time had reversed itself and Jerry Gar­cia along with key­boardist Brent Myd­land were still with us instead of Myd­land hav­ing over­dosed a year and five days after the con­cert in ques­tion, fol­lowed by Gar­cia suc­cumb­ing to the rav­ages of drug use along with dia­betes and other health com­pli­ca­tions in 1995. They are missed.

The next day, hav­ing one of those mod­est perks of work­ing in retail known as a day off dur­ing the week, I took myself into San Fran­cisco. Allow me to back­track a bit: over the decades, I have loved, absolutely loved, walk­ing around San Fran­cisco. Avoid­ing cer­tain neigh­bor­hoods such as the Ten­der­loin Dis­trict, I have lux­u­ri­ated in the city’s vibrant energy, sam­pling the mul­ti­tude of one-​off shops and restau­rants. It has been an exhil­a­rat­ing time most every time for this hybrid boy com­fort­able in both pas­toral rural set­tings and amidst con­crete and steel.

Yes­ter­day I hated most every minute of it.

One is always best advised to be on high alert in every sec­tion of San Fran­cisco, prac­tic­ing full street­wise cau­tion tech­niques and stay­ing aware at all times. That said, yes­ter­day I felt not the energy of times before, but rather tremen­dous dis­quiet. The street peo­ple no longer seemed sadly amus­ing. Now, they felt threat­en­ing, embold­ened by a city gov­ern­ment bliss­fully ignor­ing their excesses and pub­lic excre­ment while label­ing any who dare com­plain as haters, or worse yet in their eyes Trump supporters.

This dis­com­fort is not solely con­fined to San Fran­cisco, of course. It per­me­ates most every city out here in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area, and as friends around the coun­try report, most every major and not a few minor met­ro­pol­i­tan areas. There is a pal­pa­ble anger, a defi­ant edge mar­i­nated in by many on both left and right. It is one that can easy explode into vio­lence, and not just the occa­sional Antifa ver­sus Trump sup­port­ers clash. This is some­thing far worse.

I believe there is a gen­uine dan­ger of wide­spread civil dis­obe­di­ence in the very near future. No, not the car­toon kind prac­ticed by those who believe wav­ing a sign and get­ting “arrested” con­sti­tutes mak­ing a stand against the evil cor­po­rate oppres­sors who made the phones with which all involved are film­ing things. This is the kind that lobs live ammu­ni­tion, and lots of it. Should the cur­rent deep state plus estab­lish­ment (no party line delin­eation needed) open war against Pres­i­dent Trump suc­ceed in forc­ing him out of office, there will be blood and lots of it as the deplorables embrace a call to arms. I pray it will not come to this, and I pray I am wrong. But I don’t believe I am.

All I can do is pray and be a wit­ness for Christ. His love and life-​changing, along with sav­ing, power can change even the hard­est hearts into accep­tance of oth­ers with­out com­pro­mis­ing beliefs. This is what our coun­try needs. Only then will San Fran­cisco and all like it again vibrate with nat­ural energy, not the dark energy of a city and coun­try tee­ter­ing on anarchy’s edge.

It would help if more peo­ple lis­tened to the Grate­ful Dead too.

https://youtu.be/a6QXBmc7gew

This past Tuesday, the mysterious yet not mythical Mrs. Dude and I took in a one night only presentation of a concert film. Well, to be accurate I took it in; she endured it. Said film was a never-before shown Grateful Dead show recorded in the summer of 1989 at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Given how I’ve gotten into the band in recent years, this is as close as I’ll come to seeing them live (sorry, John Mayer, but Dead and Company doesn’t do it for me).

Although the Dead are commonly and not inaccurately associated with San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, hippies, the Summer of Love, etc etc etc (translation: sex, drugs, rock’n’roll), many non-fans are surprised to learn the band had a huge and fiercely loyal following on the east coast. And I do mean following, with multitudes piling into their VW microbuses and following the Dead from show to show, selling anything available – including themselves if need be – in order to score concert tickets. It truly was a long, strange trip.

Musically, either you get the Grateful Dead’s free-flowing mix of easy blues, Americana, roots rock, folk, free-form jazz, and whatever else came to mind during assorted lengthy improvisation sessions, or you find them quite possibly the most boring rock band in history. Either is okay. I don’t possess 1800 different concert tapes, pouring obsessively over each one and thus able to immediately tell whether a song is from Watkins Glen in 1973 or Boise in 1982. Further, I couldn’t tell you if the band played either of those locations during said years. Or at all. I listen to live shows on Sirius XM’s Grateful Dead channel, I own a few live CDs, and I have all of the band’s studio efforts. That’s good enough for me, sugaree.

Anyway, back to the concert film. It was magic. The band was on that night both musically and personally, with shared smiles the norm from start to finish (i.e. from “Touch of Grey” to “Black Muddy River”). It was good to pretend, at least for a couple of hours, that time had reversed itself and Jerry Garcia along with keyboardist Brent Mydland were still with us instead of Mydland having overdosed a year and five days after the concert in question, followed by Garcia succumbing to the ravages of drug use along with diabetes and other health complications in 1995. They are missed.

The next day, having one of those modest perks of working in retail known as a day off during the week, I took myself into San Francisco. Allow me to backtrack a bit: over the decades, I have loved, absolutely loved, walking around San Francisco. Avoiding certain neighborhoods such as the Tenderloin District, I have luxuriated in the city’s vibrant energy, sampling the multitude of one-off shops and restaurants. It has been an exhilarating time most every time for this hybrid boy comfortable in both pastoral rural settings and amidst concrete and steel.

Yesterday I hated most every minute of it.

One is always best advised to be on high alert in every section of San Francisco, practicing full streetwise caution techniques and staying aware at all times. That said, yesterday I felt not the energy of times before, but rather tremendous disquiet. The street people no longer seemed sadly amusing. Now, they felt threatening, emboldened by a city government blissfully ignoring their excesses and public excrement while labeling any who dare complain as haters, or worse yet in their eyes Trump supporters.

This discomfort is not solely confined to San Francisco, of course. It permeates most every city out here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as friends around the country report, most every major and not a few minor metropolitan areas. There is a palpable anger, a defiant edge marinated in by many on both left and right. It is one that can easy explode into violence, and not just the occasional Antifa versus Trump supporters clash. This is something far worse.

I believe there is a genuine danger of widespread civil disobedience in the very near future. No, not the cartoon kind practiced by those who believe waving a sign and getting “arrested” constitutes making a stand against the evil corporate oppressors who made the phones with which all involved are filming things. This is the kind that lobs live ammunition, and lots of it. Should the current deep state plus establishment (no party line delineation needed) open war against President Trump succeed in forcing him out of office, there will be blood and lots of it as the deplorables embrace a call to arms. I pray it will not come to this, and I pray I am wrong. But I don’t believe I am.

All I can do is pray and be a witness for Christ. His love and life-changing, along with saving, power can change even the hardest hearts into acceptance of others without compromising beliefs. This is what our country needs. Only then will San Francisco and all like it again vibrate with natural energy, not the dark energy of a city and country teetering on anarchy’s edge.

It would help if more people listened to the Grateful Dead too.