June 25, 1994, remembers Tim, was the day he was reborn in Sin City. He and Josh, Jeff and two other friends trekked to Las Vegas (Katie met up with them there) and along with thousands of other Deadheads basked in the insufferable heat and choking dust and found heaven in hell.
"It was unbelievable," recalls Tim, who still listens to Fugazi and other punk acts but prefers a live recording of the Dead's "Fire on the Mountain" before running. Trying to explain the appeal of the Dead's ever-improvisational live jams, Tim concludes it's the music's organic quality of being real and dynamic like a breathing entity.
"Once you have a Grateful Dead experience," Jeff says, "it stays with you forever. There's something about the atmosphere at a Grateful Dead show. Everyone's really nice to everyone. It's overwhelming. When you're 17 and you can hang out and relate with someone who's 50--that's a weird experience . . . in a good way."
Consider the golden rule that things will always work out in this scene because of the goodwill among "family" members.
An integral part of this generous culture are the "miracles," extra tickets handed out for free or swapped for anything from beads to a ride home.