In the Forum parking lot on Friday a young woman scouted for someone who would give her a concert ticket in exchange for "some really good pot." Inside, Timothy Leary moved through a sea of tie-dye virtually unnoticed. Bill Walton caused a little more of a stir--after all, he is a 7-foot redhead. Of course, Walton's also a 7-foot Dead head.
Yup, the good ol' Grateful Dead was back in town. "Time don't mean that much to me," Bob Weir sang in Sam Cooke's "Good Times," the opening number of the three-night stand. Indeed, a Dead concert seems to exist outside of time.
As Dead shows go, this one was relatively somber, drawing heavily on wistful, well-matured material from the mid-'70s and before.
On the ninth anniversary of John Lennon's death, the Dead turned its own elegiac "He's Gone" into a subtle tribute, with guitarist Jerry Garcia offering a barely stated lick from "Norwegian Wood" as the song transformed into a patented Dead "space" jam.
But later the mood gave way to celebration, the crowd clapping the rhythm and singing along to Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" as Leary danced buoyantly at the side of the stage.
There's still nothing like a Grateful Dead concert.