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topher44

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topher44 last won the day on October 16 2014

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About topher44

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  • Birthday 07/06/1964

Profile Information

  • My DSO Shows
    12/6/08, SHEA CENTER, WAYNE, NJ
    5/29/09, WELLMONT THEATER, MONTCLAIR, NJ
    7/18/09, VASA PARK, HACKETTSTOWN, NJ
    11/21/09, MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM, LOWELL, MA
    11/28/09, NOKIA THEATRE, NEW YORK, NY
    5/22/10, WELLMONT THEATER, MONTCLAIR, NJ
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Bergenfield, NJ

Profile Fields

  • Interests
    Hiking, Biking, Enjoying the Great Outdoors. When at home, I get my excercise dancing and singing to the music of the Grateful Dead, DSO, and other bands rarely heard on broadcast radio.

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  1. 22 Years Ago

    Thank you for the kind words, Tea! It is and will be tough these next few days, but I am already making peace with her passing. Oddly, I felt closer to her than Mike did, even though I know he loved her very much. For the last couple of years I had been baking some "fortified" cookies once a week, and mailed them to her. She claims that eating them was the only thing that gave her an appetite through her chemo, and also helped her fall asleep at night (imagine that!). Regarding DSO, I wholeheartedly agree about that first time seeing them, as that feeling of ecstasy that i thought I would never experience again came flooding through me, too! Unlike you, though, I had been toying with the idea of seeing them for a while prior to my first show in 2008, and Mike was excited to shake his bones again, so we took a chance and went. You having been dragged to your first show by your friend, only to discover that feeling of joy once again, must have been overwhelming, to say the least!
  2. 22 Years Ago

    My husband's sister died yesterday after a long bout with cancer, and while her and Jerry's deaths were not even remotely similar, the grief was hard for me, and last night I bawled like a baby for a while. We are, of course relieved that she is no longer in pain, and I felt that for Jerry, too, after he died. While I am not a religious person, I do like to entertain the notion that our spirits carry on after our passing, and I have experienced several instances where I could swear that I have felt the presence of departed ones I have known, albeit quite fleetingly. Losing Jerry took me quite a while to fully comprehend. It finally hit me like a ton of bricks when, a week or so after that fateful day I had hiked up to a stunningly beautiful ridge in Harriman State Park, listening to "So Many Roads" from the final show, sat down, and just cried and cried for what seemed like an eternity. Looking up through my tears, I noticed an unusual cloud formation that looked remarkably like Jerry in his later years, forehead wrinkles and all! And he seemed to be smiling at me! This calmed me down immediately, and I smiled back in appreciation of this cosmic gift, even if it was only in my imagination. I spoke with Mike's sister four days ago, and it was clear then that she was near death, and called us to say she loved us. I knew in my heart this would probably be our last conversation with her, and it was hard to listen to her in so much pain, despite being on heavy morphine. Our neighbor's daughter celebrated her birthday yesterday, and being reminded of that helped me gain perspective on the circle of life. Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one, so "live life like there is no tomorrow" has taken on new meaning for me. The trick is to keep that alive in my mind at all times. Thank you, Tea, for your story, and also for the quote from Dylan. A more sincere and heartfelt eulogy there has never been. Bob sure has a way with words, doesn't he!!! Topher
  3. 7th Annual Greatful Dead Meet Up

    Well, let me start by saying that seeing and hearing this show again was indeed a pleasure, and the theater was pretty crowded (in a good way), but I was a bit surprised by my memory of certain highlights not matching what I think about them now. For instance, the Far From Me proved quite powerful, and you could practically feel the pain radiating through Brent's voice during this song. Jerry really leaned into his solo, and traded wide grins with Brent several times. This version is now my favorite, and I never had one before! Cassidy came across as kinda flat and sloppy to me last night, whereas at the time I considered it scorching hot! Also, I had forgotten how fun and focused the Eyes of the World was, albeit fast, and it was great seeing Jerry smiling so much throughout the jams. In fact, he seemed exuberant and happy for almost the entire show. I also loved when Bruce Hornsby switched from accordion to piano on Women are Smarter, and traded searing hot licks with Brent, almost competitively! This obviously drove the crowd into a frenzy, and Bobby carried the rest of the song with perfectly delivered lyrics and a commanding finish. Drums and Space were actually comforting and not too scary, with Billy and Mickey interacting so beautifully at times that I couldn't help but smile along with them. No time for a bathroom break, at least for me! Black Peter I had no memory of, but boy did Jerry pull on my heartstrings with it last night! His voice was spot-on, in fine form, and brought tears to my eyes (and I'm sure many others there, too). The Black Muddy River was also delivered flawlessly, with Jerry's soul spilling out of him with every breath, and I was almost overcome by its shear beauty. Regarding the quality of the movie itself, this was filmed just before the advent of digital film, and while the sound was decent, the picture was fairly grainy, which I should have expected. Not bad, just fuzzy. A minor complaint, and the camera crews did a great job balancing closeups of the band members with shots of the crowd. I actually think I spotted the back of my head in the crowd for about 3 seconds, before it panned away! Simply being able to watch this show again really opened my eyes and ears to things I either could not recall, or could not take in from my viewpoint on the field. Watching Jerry's and the others' interactions up close made the movie very special for me, and I'm thrilled that I went. Nothing like being able to witness a show again after 28 long years, if only in analog and 2-D!!!
  4. 7th Annual Greatful Dead Meet Up

    Hi Vic, the ticket and website state show time is 7:00, but probably will start at least a few minutes late. I'm planning on getting there about 6:30, or so. Hope you can make it, and you may want to call the theater first to see if it's sold out. I say this because the "Sunshine Daydream" meet-up did sell out at that venue several days before the movie showing. Good luck, and perhaps I'll see ya there!
  5. 7th Annual Greatful Dead Meet Up

    Anyone else going to the showing at Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ tonight? I will be there wearing the same heart themed tie dye t-shirt that I bought at the show.
  6. Happy Birthday Captain!

    Ah, yes...Jerry would indeed have been three-quarters of a century old today, and who knows what he would be doing with his life if he were still with us in the flesh? Still with me, and millions of others in spirit, and I could not agree with you more, Tea, that my life, too, has been forever changed since I not just heard, but embraced his music and made it part of my everyday conscience. In other words, ever since I "got it". Jerry, whether you intended to, or not, you have made many people like me happier and more secure in our daily lives, and even though fame was very difficult for you, the sacrifices you made have enriched us beyond our wildest dreams. You never thought of yourself as a leader, but your skills in being one were more than apparent, and we are so lucky to have witnessed and been a part of that leadership! Thank you!!! P.S. - I could not think of a better way of celebrating Jerry's life today than spending it with like minded folks at the movies tonight! So fortunate that the theater I will be seeing tonight's "Meet Up" at is only 10 minutes from my house!(Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ). Anyone else joining me there?
  7. 7th Annual Greatful Dead Meet Up

    Man, am I so there for this one! I was living in DC at the time, and a friend and fellow dead head who was also a housemate of ours had recently purchased a new car, so we drove to one of the subway stations, then took the train to a stop near RFK stadium. It was pretty warm when we arrived, which was bout 5:00, and we went looking for fun in the parking lot before the show. In search of some "mind expansion", we were not disappointed!. I also bought a very cool Garcia Surf Club tee-shirt, which I still have somewhere in a box. Upon entering the stadium, we were still on the straight and level, and, after grabbing some liquid refreshments, we located a friendly patch right in the middle of the field. I was struck by the awesome beauty of the bright banners that graced the speaker stacks and also over the top of the stage. Never before had I seen such a richly colored display...and then it began to dawn on me that things in my mind were no longer "straight and level". After staring at the banners billowing in the wind for a while, Bruce Hornsby and the Range took the stage. I enjoyed this somewhat mellow preview to the main event, and remember loving the sound of his piano. Their set ran about an hour, and then it seemed like quite a while before the Dead came on, although my idea of time was not at all reliable. Just as the sun was setting, I spotted Jerry's ponytail and then the rest of the band sauntered on stage. The "Touch" that opened was fun, and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. I remember "Minglewood" also being tightly played, and I was very tuned into Jerry during "Half Step". I recall "Far From Me" only for the way it brought me down a bit, as I've never cared much for that song, but the "Cassidy" that followed was fiery and well sung by Bobby. The rest of the 1st set is a blur to me. Once my friend and I had made the requisite bathroom and concession rounds, we miraculously found our way back to the same spot for set 2, and were happy to find it surrounded by the same friendly folk as before. Needless to say, by this time the smiles on our faces were impossible to wipe off, and those banners now seemed like sails on a ship, billowing and flapping in the wind. I knew Bruce would join the band at some point during the show, and the "Sugaree" which opened the set was a perfect choice for bringing him in to the fold. Little did we know he would be joining the band as a (sometime) member less than 2 years later! I remember being entranced by his work on the accordion, and Jerry's vocals were also pretty smooth, melting like butter in my ears. "Women Are Smarter" also showcased Bruce's talent and he blended well with Brent on the keys. The "Ship of Fools" that followed was also well played, and them swaying banners seemed to wink at me on this tune, as if to say: "see, we wold you we are for real!". The jam out of "Estimated" was long and interesting, but my memory of the rest of the set is minimal at best, save for the scorching hot vocals by Brent on "Dear Mr. Fantasy", which sent chills up my spine, but in no way brought me down, as I love the song. I had no idea this would be my last time seeing Brent alive, and am glad to have this final memory of him pouring his heart and soul out for everyone to witness. "Black Muddy River" seemed like a strange choice for an encore, but was well sung by Jerry and tightly supported by the band. Somehow my buddy and I made it back to the subway station, then found his car, and managed to get home safely. We stayed up the rest of the night, drinking countless beers (which went down like water!), gabbing about anything and everything, until about 8:00 the next morning when we crashed. While not the best show I ever saw, the whole experience was one of peace, friendly people (even the cops), and great music. It took a while for me to realize what a special time that night was for me, and this movie will certainly clear away some of the cobwebs, allowing me to re-experience some of the magic of that evening, albeit without the "mind expansion".
  8. topher44

  9. Matt Reynolds

    So sad, and my heart goes out to all who knew and loved him. I never met Matt, but his work has benefited us immensely, and we will surely miss his contributions to the band, and in keeping the DSO train rolling on.
  10. el capital dos

    And now for my take on the second set: After about a 45 minute break, the band returned to the stage, including Skip, and they all looked fresh and eager to play. With Jeff's tuning, it became apparent that we were in for a "China>Rider" to open, and that is exactly what we got! It was so cool to get the "Feeling Groovy" jam between the two songs, like many performed by the GD in 73'-74'. It reminds me a little of the jam during "Dancing in the Streets" on 76'-77' versions, and I just love the variation it brings. After a strong "Rider", the audience erupted in their thanks, which gave me goosebumps. Rob Eaton then brought things down a bit with a well paced "Sailor>Saint". I am usually ambivalent about "Sailor", but Rob gave it a polish that kept my attention, while also allowing my knees and ankles to relax a moment. The "Saint" was fiery, as expected, and once again the crowd roared it's approval after it's conclusion. I was really hoping for a Skip tune next, such as "Pride of Cucamonga", but the "Crazy Fingers" that followed was decently jammed, and fit the bill. Jeff's voice was a little off for the first couple of verses, but got better as the song progressed. A smooth transition to "Drums" left us with Dino and Rob K., who proceeded to amaze with their antics on all sorts of percussive instruments. I normally use this time for a bathroom break, and did tear myself away briefly for that relief, but I returned to be mesmerized by the lengthy adventure that these two incredible drummers took us on, before a gentle glide into "Space". Jeff and Rob B. came back first, followed quickly by the rest of the band, and I loved Jeff's playful licks during this brief jam. I was caught off guard by the intro to "King Solomon's Marbles, which turned out to be another highlight of the show for me. This is one tricky jam, with curve balls and sudden turns that seem very hard to master, yet the band did a fantastic job with it. Rob B. tickled the hell out of his keys, and appeared to be having so much fun. I was happy to look around and see so many of my fellow Star heads also dancing wildly to this offbeat instrumental. Was looking forward to a lengthy Bobby tune, such as "The Other One", but we got "I Need A Miracle" instead, which was actually quite fun, and the crowd loved it. After just a few minutes, the tune faded out, and transitioned into "Stella Blue", which gave "Twist of Fate" a run for highlight of the evening for me. Jeff really poured his heart and soul into this number, and it gave me chills more than once. His leads alternated from soft and gentle to earnest and forceful as necessary, and the harmonies from the others were spot on. Such a sad song, indeed, but also a perfect choice for the late show ballad. The "GDTRFB" that followed was a little unexpected, as I was thinking perhaps, "Good Lovin'", or "Lovelight" would wrap things up nicely. A bit shaky to start, but Jeff worked the audience into a lather, and we responded in kind! A short break, and then we got a "Rainy Day Women" encore. The verses were shared by Rob B., Jeff, Eaton, and Lisa... who practically brought down the house with her emotional, preacher-like vocals! The crowd went nuts when she was finished, and she appeared almost overwhelmed by the response. Once again, the harmonies on this number were superb, and it was a perfect conclusion to a fun night of music at the Cap, which is one of my absolute favorite indoor venues. Beautiful place, with "Garcia's" bar next door, and so much history... Topher
  11. el capital dos

    Well, I had my first elective show in quite a while last night and, although it didn't have as many JGB or rarely played tunes as I would have liked, the performance was tight and the band seemed like they were having a lot of fun. Klyph Black from the Zen Tricksters sat in on bass for the 1st set, due to Skip attending his son's graduation. Jeff and Rob B., having been former members of the Tricksters, gave him a warm introduction. "Shakedown" got things off to a powerful start, and Klyph Immediately showed his stuff, dropping some bombs and interacting well with his temporary band mates. Jeff also had a couple of soaring leads, and brought it home for a perfectly timed finish. The crowd showed it's appreciation, and Klyph was beaming from the attention. A strong "Hell in a Bucket" showed Eaton to be in very fine voice, and I found myself dancing with ease, which is often a challenge for me with this tune. A decent "Althea" followed, with some fine licks from Jeff and good slide playing by Eaton. The "Hey Pocky Way" that followed was brimming with energy, with Rob. B. practically dancing on the keys. Next came one of my very favorite Dylan tunes, "Simple Twist of Fate". This was definitely the highlight of the set for me, and perhaps the evening. Jeff's voice was spot on, relaxed, yet forceful when needed, soulful and simply dripping with emotion. The audience quieted down a notch for this song, and I really appreciated that. Hot on the heels of this was another Dylan tune, "Memphis Blues", also crammed with verses, and Rob Eaton did it justice, with nary a missed lyric (I think). The PA system was almost saturated near the end, with Eaton wailing the final "Whoa, Mama"s, yet it never seemed that distorted at all. The "Bird Song" that followed was easily another highlight of the show for me, as Jeff took it to amazing heights, and all band members wrapped tightly around his leads. I somehow predicated it would be followed by "Music Never Stopped", and I proved correct! This version was a monster, and it felt like the roof was going to give way as the volume got so intense, with Klyph treating the crowd to some deep, chest vibrating bass lines. The climax was sounding like a set closer, and indeed it was. All told, only eight songs in the set, which looks very short on paper, but it actually clocked in at about an hour and twenty minutes. Just goes to show you that you can't judge a show merely by looking at its song list! I will review the second set at a later time, but that is all I have time for now... Peace. Topher
  12. Now Listening...

    Ah... to be transported back to 1980 with the ultimate new wave party dance band! Have seen them twice (1989 and 2013), and both shows were a lot of fun, but I agree that the band was never the same following Ricky's death. Such a gentle, quiet soul, but man could he play that thrashing guitar! Never got to see the Talking Heads, and I could kick myself for that!!! Had a chance to go see them at Merriweather Post Pavilion on what would be their final tour in the Summer of 1983, but I blew it off. Big mistake! Speaking of 1980, if you haven't checked out the Heads show from Rome in that year on Youtube, please do yourself a favor and view it with the volume cranked up as high as possible (without distortion, of course!). Adrian Belew sat in with them, and his guitar licks are incredible!
  13. Oxford, MS

    "Looks like Mississippi got treated to quite the chunky '73." - Indeed, and the lucky folks at the Lyric last night must have been blissfully tired by the end of the long night! "They definitely don't discriminate on what city gets what show. A tiny bar in idaho could get an insane 69 show." - So true, Rude. Some out-of-the-way places get treated to monstrous shows. Would still like to get a review of this one...
  14. Oxford, MS

    Anxious to here any reports regarding last night's show in Mississippi. Having just been in that state visiting friends near Jackson (and coming through the experience unscathed), I am wondering if DSO attracted many heads in Oxford, especially on a Monday night. I have never been to Oxford, but my friends advised me that since that is where "Ole Miss" is located (college town), it would probably be the only place in the state that would agree to host anything related to the GD. After all, the Dead only played in Mississippi once, and that was at an outdoor festival with other bands back in 1980!
  15. Sad but true story.

    May you and your wife find solace in the fact that you were able to let her go by dancing to a such a seminal GD show. Whether or not your mother-in-law would have enjoyed doing the same is irrelevant. You two had the best possible solution to deal with the stress of knowing she was passing, and in an indirect way may have helped that "beautiful bird" soar into a new realm. Peace and calm be with her, and both of you now.
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