I just returned from a week in Chicago. A week that included a trip through a wormhole and a visit back to a previous version of myself, or maybe it would be better to say just a different part of my own heart that has kind of been under lock and key for the last twenty years or so. It isn't that I haven't held it dear, as it were my own, as they say. Or even shared it and unlocked it, and held it out for inspection every now and then, but I will be the first to tell you that when Jerry died in August of 1995, I absolutely took off the tie-dye and got off the bus.

The remaining members of the Grateful Dead have milked their legacy for the last twenty years in a variety of ways, both together and separately, and none of us can blame them. Certainly not me. If I had created as rabid a fan base as they had created, one that was willing to follow me around selling vegan organic chocolate chip cookies just to make it to the next show, I'd certainly sort out a way to get those kids to continue to spin in circles and hand over the cash. The Grateful Dead, besides serving up music that was medicine for me, are also pretty savvy business men and know how to give just enough away for free, to keep us wanting and begging for lots more.

I will share that I resisted going to Chicago, mostly because I'm such a damn purist about these things. When they announced that they were putting Trey Anastasio into the line-up it really pushed some pretty strong buttons for me, personally, and I had trouble reconciling those feelings. Then all the HYPE happened, I found myself getting caught up in the frenzy, and thinking to myself about how I had BEEN THERE and DONE THAT and if this really was going to be the last time, I kind of maybe wanted to actually be there. Even if, yes, this was NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD. I kept reminding myself of that.

I had to.

You see, it was not the Grateful Dead. It was, perhaps, the world's very best Grateful Dead cover band of all time, but this was not the Grateful Dead and no one will ever, ever convince me otherwise. Not even those who have written so eloquently about these particular shows since seeing them. Nope, I remain convinced this still WAS the very best of the best cover bands we were ever going to get.

Purist. Table for one. Right here. I'm happy to dine all alone. It's okay. I have plenty of vegan cookies and kombucha and beets to sustain me. xo

I had fun, yes indeed. I cried real tears. I hugged people fiercely. I danced naked to Scarlet Begonias and Fire on the Mountain and was absolutely the best Deadhead I knew how to be. I shared my heart in all the right ways and I let that music swirl inside my body and wiggle my spine and do all the things it is meant to do for all of us. I remembered why I used to love it so very much and I have absolutely no regrets that I went.

None. Not a single, dingle, one.

That was three magical days of music and love and community and kindness and rememberence for which I will be forever and ever grateful. That band positively changed my life. Amen.

Thank you to every one of you, whom I know and don't know, who shared the magic with me all along the way. You live on with me in my heart. Every time I listen to the music play, your voices are singing the songs with me. It is your light and your love that will always shine the brightest for me and believe me when I tell you that I can see it no matter where I happen to be. xo

By NakedJen, Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 11:57 AM. Last built on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 3:49 PM. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.