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Dick's Picks Celebrates #9 On The East Coast
By Toni A. Brown

When the Grateful Dead started its annual East Coast tradition of putting on several consecutive shows at New York City's Madison Square Garden, the teeming Metropolis took on a new aura. For a few special days in the early fall, tie-dyes speckled the otherwise gray landscape, and cheer ran rampant through the usually cold, depressed city.

The Dead in New York-it was a time of intense celebration. A time to put down roots for a few days. The traveling circus became favorite fodder for the mainstream media, but it was okay because all the attention illuminated many of the skeptics that previously looked at us with disdain.

It was amazing to watch as the city's homeless converged en masse on mid-town Manhattan-suddenly the downtrodden felt at ease amongst the smiles and good-natured camaraderie that existed between these "hippie throwbacks." Here were people willing to share their food and spare change; a place where everyone was welcome.

There were bad moments, specifically when the constabulary raided the nearby Park & Lock garage, storming the masses that had set up their campers in anticipation of the many shows ahead. Occasional mishaps would occur between fans and overzealous mounted police. Overall, though, New York, with its myriad of cultures, took the onslaught of Deadheads in stride. The city was thankful for the money that was generated as a result of the visiting throng, and all the better for the color that accompanied them.

Dick's Picks Volume 9 celebrates one of the Dead's stops in the Big Apple-9/16/90. The band had suffered the loss of Brent Mydland the previous July. Vince Welnick was brought in to fill the keyboard slot, and he rose to the occasion. During this period, the band temporarily abandoned its customary practice of not working from a pre-planned set list in an effort not to overwhelm the new keyboard player. The Dead has often cited MSG as one of its favorite venues to perform. There has always been an intense energy that is unique to a New York audience, and the Garden always seemed to come to life with the Dead's musical pulse.

This latest in the Dick's Picks series is another reminder of all that was special about a Grateful Dead concert.

Recently, two events took place on the East Coast to commemorate the release.

This article originally appeared in Relix Magazine, Volume 25 #1 (February, 1998).

Copyright 1999-2004 - Toni Brown

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