Deadheads young and old, but mostly old, gathered in Tompkins Square Park today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Grateful Dead’s first east coast show, which happened to be in the East Village.
Flash forward: On this particularly pleasant spring day, the Ice Petal Flowers, a Dead cover band, played to a crowd of about 200. Conversations of Jerry Garcia’s guitar auctioning for $1.9 million were held between songs and the smell of cannabis lingered around the attendees and five police officers, who didn’t make any drug busts. They even received a thankful shoutout at the beginning of the show for keeping everyone safe. A stark contrast to the 1967 show, which, as Jesse Jarnow writes in his book Heads, occurred just two days after a “hippie/cop riot” resulted in many injuries and 42 arrests. That show doubled as the Yippies’ first smoke-in.
Fun fact: In his new book, Senator Al Franken confesses that he was once a Deadhead who followed the band around California in a VW bus, and took acid.
Here’s a look at what went on this afternoon.