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Dead & Company at Citi Field- Queens, NY

Dead and Company Citi Field 2017
I’m not sure how I keep forgetting it. There is a sense of never forgetting but it not being present. Even when I think it, bring it into the present and enjoy the feeling that comes from it, it is still nowhere close to the embodiment and invasive release of being there. The band is great but I come for the people. That’s what I’m trying to say.
There are some who I know will be there and others I hope to see. By the end of the night, I still hadn’t seen some I expected. The next day I learned of others who were somewhere in the crowd who I didn’t know to look for. It usually doesn’t take long to find people at a dead show. Multiple parking lots, thousands of fans, lots of things to do and see but I find it relatively easy to bump into everyone. Some faces look familiar after a lap around the lot. Others are ingrained and will seem familiar at the next show. Some I know from past shows at other venues in distant cities.
The plan was to start the day early and get to the lot by 2 pm. In the week leading up to this Saturday show, I had been in Atlanta, Cedar Rapids, Chicago, and then Potsdam, NY. My body was sore, I was tired, and traveling was the last item on my list. Drive to the train, switch to the next train, switch to the third train and walk to the lot. The scene had moved from last year’s location and was much larger this year. The carnival of vendors, artists, performers, and other varied attractions lovingly known as Shakedown Street completely devoured an entire parking lot across the street from the Met’s home park, Citi Field.
First up was the friend with the golden curls selling drinks in the middle of the lane flanked by popup tents and passing fans even earlier to the show; fans who probably lived on tour and were on their way to their own shops. I hadn’t seen her since new years but was overjoyed to see the same smile, get a huge hug, and catch up between beer sales. I browsed the booths up and down three lengths of the lot and found more and more friends. One was selling his wooden art, the next was selling jewelry across from one who sold crystals. In the next aisle, etched glass, pottery, clothing, and a general shop with everything from lighters and rolling papers to aspirin and Midol.
Then there was the food. I’ve learned not to eat too close to show time. There is a higher correlation between food, dancing, and cramping than food, swimming, and cramping in my experience. Burritos, quesadillas, grilled cheese, ice coffee, cucumber infused water, etc. All quick food, filling, cheap ingredients, and easy to mass produce. Golden curls was standing about 10 yards ahead of her partner with more drinks and some t-shirts ext to them were some delicious looking quesadillas with spinach, beans, salsa, garlic, and more. It was cooked to perfection and filled me up nicely. Down the lane was my iced dirty chai, a drink that sounds fancy, rich (in every respect), and difficult to make in a parking lot. Ice was easy, chai was a concentrate, milk was easy, and the dirty part is just coffee. Thank you for the dance fuel ma’am, see you inside.
I spent some time texting friends en route and learned they needed tickets (as did golden curls and her friends.) With a ticket for myself already on my phone, I threw my finger in the air to help those in need. The first offer I was presented with was $50. Not bad considering 1) I wouldn’t let someone go to that seat so who cares if it’s far away, and 2) I paid $90 or more for my seat in the 300’s section. I passed because I didn’t have cash and he wouldn’t take Venmo or PayPal. The second offer was $20. I asked about digital currency and was laughed at by their owner and his cohort of people who any rural Americans could conjure from the prompt, “New Yorker stereotypes”. If he wasn’t stationary I swear he would have said, “i’m walkin’ here!” I ask him to hold on while I go get cash. More laughter. “Hey golden curls, can I borrow $20 to get a ticket?” No words as she reaches into her change stash and hands me a $20. New Yorker isn’t laughing now. Less than 3 minutes later I had materialized $20. I ask about the others and he still has them. Back to golden curls who needs at least two tickets. Her partner had more cash so I ask if he’s interested and of course he was. New Yorker is astonished as within another 3 minutes, $40 are now in his strap-hanger hands. Some people can’t be trusted to buy tickets from at a show. He looked like he was enough of a fan to have real ones and was nonchalant about selling them. I thanked him, we laughed, I left. Drink man was happy and I sent him money via PayPal instantly.
Hair tie now has his ticket thanks to me. He was traveling with Ignatious Riley who also got a ticket. We discussed seats but I told them I had a place we could go. Once we met their friends we jumped on line and went in. Close to the entrance on the main concourse (above the field and first angled sections) is a place to stand where you are eye and ear level with the stage, directly across from it, and also, conveniently, close to a bathroom, water fountain, and the exit. At Citi Field this is section 122. No confines of seats, friendly security who let us dance, and plenty of room to navigate away from those distracting folk who want to talk.
Halfway through the show we catchup with friends for set break. We try to hear people at the Wharf Rat meeting. Later Hair tie and I walk around the structure on the 100 level concourse partly to see if we could go all the way around, and partly so I could hear the story of mature decision making within the realm of stubbing friends and exes to the floor seats. I had no interest in the floor seats and I think I’ve converted some people to the merits of section 122.
Some very high people marveled at my tshirt which was a mashup of Grateful Dead and Dead Kennedys. I got fist bumps all night and got to talk with other cross-genre fans. One beautiful woman was wearing an L7 shirt and we talked about our favorite girl punk bands. She admitted she hadn’t heard the newest Sleater Kinney yet. I had a conversation with someone wearing the famous “We can discover the wonders of Black Flag” shirt. One man was very high and closely guarded by his wife who stood relatively still next to his wild dancing. His eyes burst open and he charged me when he saw my shirt. I complimented his Voltron shirt. We danced in front of his unimpressed wife.
The music was ok.
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