Since Phish has returned to touring, a lot of us Dead Heads are feeling left out when the popular jam band roles into town and we decide to skip the show, and even the scene for that matter, in order to save up for that next big Dead act to come to town. If you are like me, most of my friends of the jam band persuasion are as much Phans as they are Dead Heads, so when the band rolls into my area or throughout the Northeast for that matter they are often out on tour living the life on the scene that we all enjoy so much on Dead tour. But what is a Dead Head to do when all of his friends are all gone Phishin' for the weekend? Since there isn't any definitive answer, I have decided to propose a few different fun Grateful Dead filled activities that every Head can enjoy.
Find a local Dead cover band
Since the Grateful Dead had such a cult-following it is not hard to find a local Grateful Dead cover band in or around the area in which you live. Here in New York's Capital Region, where I reside, there are a number of Grateful Dead cover band's including The Deadbeats and High Peaks, not to mention a number of other band's who have been heavily influenced by the band's music. A fun night of drinks, dancing and Dead tunes with friends is always a recipe for fun!
Spend the night better acclimating yourself with the band's live music and history
While every Dead Head likes to believe he knows more than the next, the idea that most of us know all we think we know about The Dead is most-likely a farce. Unless you are a member of the band, it is likely you still have a lot to learn about the band's music and history. There are a number of great books out there on the history of the Grateful Dead including A Long Strange Trip, Searching for the Sound, The Official Book of the Dead Heads and The Grateful Dead Lyric book (I like to read this while listening to each song I am studying). It is also always fun to go back, dust off the old albums and take yourself on a wayward journey through the improvisational-psychedelic-folk styling's of the Grateful Dead. For people like me who have more than 100 Dead albums it is often easy to find one that you might not have listened to in a while - plus every live show, and song for that matter, is different than the last, so it can also be fun to listen to different renditions of songs.
If you have albums you have either purchased or received off a friend digitally now is a good time to transfer them to CD
Yeah this can be a tireless process especially for those of us who have more Dead albums than we know what to do with. But if you are like me, most of the music you own you might have received from friends across the world-wide web, which leaves you with no back-up to the music on your computer. What better time to waste backing-up all those albums up on CD, while your friends are away at Phish.
Listen to the Dead Channel on Sirius radio and make tapes, or CDs if that is your only option, of the shows played to give to friends
While the Dead taper movement continues on today, many of us don't not have the equipment or patience to perform such an action. While the taper movement itself is all but dead (no pun intended), Sirius radio's Grateful Dead channel has a lot of great Dead hours and even entire live shows they play. Aside from listening, another fun activity to take part in while grooving along to the tunes in your room, is make tapes or CDs of the shows and give them to your friends - maybe even those Phish fans in your life.
Have a get together with fellow Heads and watch one of the band's many epic live shows on DVD
Since movie night's and smoke sessions are enjoyed by many people, hippies included, why not combine the two activities into a fun night of entertainment, with not only your favorite band but your favorite friends. Hell, by the end of the night, depending on how fucked up you get, it might even feel like you were at a real Dead show.
Learn a new Dead song on your favorite instrument
If you are a musician you can never have to much material and if you're a Dead Head you can never run out of songs to learn. Take the night to learn that Dead song you always wanted to be able to play, but never had the time to learn.
Work on a scrapbook of all your Dead shows and festival experiences
Hey it's always something I have wanted to do and it's a great way to put all those tickets, pictures and pamphlets you have acquired from concerts and festivals over the years into one concise package, for not only yourself, but your friends to enjoy. Plus, there are plenty of great scrapbooking sites out there that can help make your goal a reality (www.scrapbook.com).
And if all else fails just visit YouTube and watch all those great videos that people have posted on The Dead over the years. Above, I have listed one of my favorite videos about the boys and the hippie movement, before the band had busted out of the San Francisco scene and into the mainstream.
Have Grateful Day!