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A Long, Staid Trip: How Deadheads ruined the Grateful Dead

Marc Weingarten, Slate, 30 August 2002

"THERE IS nothing like a Grateful Dead Concert," the old bumper stickers read. After attending my first 10 Dead shows, I soon realized this wasn't true: Every Dead concert is pretty much is like every other Dead concert. Not in terms of the set lists, which famously varied, or the particular architecture of band leader Jerry Garcia's frequently transcendent guitar work. No, it was that ineffable Dead "vibe" that always struck me as rote — it felt more habitual than blissful. What bugged me was the a priori assumption among Deadheads that Dead shows were always magic and that the magic could be routinely summoned on a nightly basis. It couldn't, not by a long shot. And that's coming from a fan.

Total word count of piece: 703


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