July 3, 1989 Grateful Dead Concert, Foxboro, MA
Photo by Jim Anderson
In January 1989, I decided to pick up my things and move to Boston. San Francisco, the city of my birth had become too familiar. Its beauty became lost to me as it seemed everyone who had gone to my high school decided to move to The City. I had become provincial. I had been invited to move to Boston by an ex-boyfriend, and I took a visit in the Winter of 1988 to see if I could live there with or without this ex-boyfriend. It was a good thing, since we didn't last very long after I moved out. Boston out to be very strange. Before I moved to Boston I was warned. One of my co-workers bought an Astrocartographic map using my astrological information. The map revealed that Boston would be a place of great upheaval, chaos, and emotion. India was the ultimate place for me according to the map.
Before I left I had various going away parties. A theater friend made a cake in the shape of a lobster for me. We all converged on the shores of Point Reyes. I saw the sun set and realized it would be the last time I would see the sunset on the Ocean. I started to cry.
I was still 22 when I arrived in icy, snowy Boston. When I needed to get my own apartment I had to rely on a so-called broker who showed me the apartment using a credit card to open the door. The guy who lived upstairs sees this and says he will move if that works. It did. It was an apartment owned by a guy who didn't believe in painting a place before someone moved in, and wouldn't let me paint. He brought a guy in who would paint a few walls for 300 bucks. I said, "No, I will use these horrible walls to show that you have no decency. Where I come from landlords paint and clean before they rent.
Eventually, I would date a guy that I knew wasn't my type because he had tickets to the only Grateful Dead concert in the North East that year (except maybe Buffalo). I stuck it out because I needed to soothe that latent homesickness I was feeling for the San Francisco Bay Area. Dead concerts seemed to be going on all the time in the San Francisco Bay Area that it became less urgent to go to every one. Now that I was transplanted in the Northeast where venues were no longer welcoming Dead Concerts, I needed to make it to Foxboro.
I went to Foxboro with this "boyfriend", his crazy friend, and this boyfriend's mom's little terrier mix (some yappy half-breed) in a van. As soon as we parked in the parking lot of the Sullivan stadium and opened up the doors, the dog, who had a name like "fluffy" made a mad dash out of the van and into the encampment somewhere. Then we spent a few hours looking for the dog calling out his inane and oh so un-hippy name. People started thinking I named the dog because I was a girl. It made me pissed. I didn't really want to find the dog, because maybe it will get rescued by some really groovy people, they would change the name to something cool like Casey Jones or Che and take him on to the Buffalo show. Of course, I would be sad if he got hit by a car or something, but I decided to bet on some good souls taking him in and giving him a better life.
My "boyfriend" only brought cheese and crackers to eat, so I had to visit the Krishna booth where they were giving out free macrobiotic food. I also walked around where there were bbqs and found that I could exchange stories about Bay Area Dead concerts for bbq chicken. People were really cool to me. In the evening, there were sounds of drums, dancing, and much other forms of revelry going on.
The concert itself was really satisfying. Los Lobos played a really good set and then the Dead came out and gave an excellent show. I recently was able to get a recording of that concert and good feelings always flow. I loved Dead Concerts not only for the music, but for the very warm and creative people you meet. It was a taste of what I missed back in San Francisco -- that little warm bubble of progressive wisdom and compassion. As much as I appreciated the quirks of Boston and the Northeast, part of me missed my birthplace of freaks and dreamers.
The low point of the concert was waking up in the morning and realizing that I needed to walk to the porta-potties where there had been hard partying the night before. This is where my distaste for porta-potties at large venues began. It was nasty, and fortunately I had the wisdom not to drink much -- perhaps at the back of my mind I knew I didn't want to make a trip to a porta-potty.
I thought that this was just what I needed to give me the boost to stay on in Boston. I did for another 5-6 months. I got another boyfriend that was far cooler that the one who took me to the Dead show. If it weren't for a truly dangerous-crazy roommate, who wouldn't leave, who knows how long I would have stayed? It probably wouldn't have last too much longer since my dad had to have a triple bypass a few months after I came back. Who knows?
There are some great stories from my year in Beantown. Stay tuned.