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The Loop

Published: 2017/12/06
by George Ochel

Revisiting The Grateful Dead at Compton Terrace, 25 Years Later (Part 2)

12-06-92: Compton Terrace, Chandler, AZ (SUN)

Set 1: Here Comes Sunshine, Greatest Story, FOTD, Me & My Uncle> Maggie’s Farm, Althea, Masterpiece, Deal

Set 2: Samson, Crazy Fingers > Uncle John’s > Playin Reprise > Drums > Space > Last Time > China Doll > Throwing Stones > Not Fade Away

E: Brokedown Palace

“Here Comes Sunshine”

I awake on Sunday morning with the thought of Kevin telling me that they’re going to open up with “Here Comes Sunshine,” a song off Wake of the Flood that has not been played since Winterland 1974, when it was considered a new song by the fans. I look down at my ticket that’s sitting beside me on my night stand and right there in black and white I see the words SUN and SHINE. Not together, but close enough for me to believe it could come true.

After a shower, with the tape of the show I’d just made blaring away, it’s time to fill up on breakfast before the show. I want to have an empty stomach by the time the show begins, so I can get high on the mushrooms I just purchased off a guest at the hotel. Any butterflies over re-entry back into Deadland have subsided and I am raring to go.

Not long after eating, Mark appears all bright eyes and bushy tailed, looking forward to see what the big fuss over the Grateful Dead was all about. He doesn’t really party, but that really shouldn’t matter. We leave at noon. I drive with Mark. We’re parked by 12:30pm and I quickly buy a ticket for him to get that out of the way. Then I talk to Al to make sure he knew there were no undercover FBI agents on our trail. He did and apologized. Then I say, “Let me bring the boom-box in again and he agrees.” So far so good with Mark, he’s a big hit with the girls that are hovering around a close by nitrous tank. When they offer him a hit off a balloon, he surprisingly goes for it. We stick around for a while and he even buys a necklace from one of them. We’re all having fun. The sun is the star of the show today though, and it’s out big-time.

We enter the show as a group and go back to the same area where we started the concert off yesterday. After about ten minutes of yukking it up, Mark and I say good-bye and head for the Phil Zone. Kevin is already there saving us a space when we arrive. They take the stage a few minute later. I push record and put the boom-box back up on the stage facing 50 ft. of speakers. I think we’re all cleared for take-off when I notice out of the corner of my eye, a security guard pulling it off the stage. Yikes! I weave over just in time before the guy disappears backstage and tell him it’s mine. He says, “You can’t do that.” I’ll give it back to you after the show, and pushes STOP. Whatever, no big deal I guess. I then quickly weave back to Kevin and Mark right as they step up to their mics to sing, but nothing comes out for a split second, then it happens…“Here Comes Sunshine.” The crowd rejoices and starts dancing and jumping for joy. It’s like being in a vacuum. They play it solidly and when Jerry lays into the lead towards the end, Kevin and I have a tear or two rolling down our faces. Mark is completely clueless, but he’s really digging what he’s seeing so far. They get a huge applause afterwards and everyone seems to breathe a sigh of relief.

From there they play “Greatest Story Ever Told,” “Friend of the Devil,” and when the FOTD is over a motorized kite appears off in the distance and it’s heading our way. The one manned aircraft slowly cruises over a cheering crowd. Weir goes, “It’s one of those”, pauses and says “Jerry thinks it’s a Texas Dragonfly” and we all laugh out loud. Mark jokingly says, is that the pyrotechnics? Which I thought was funny. From there they go country/western with “Me & My Uncle” > “Maggie’s Farm” then into good versions of “Althea” and “Masterpiece.” “Deal” is the big test. I’m rooting Jerry on to nail the ending to show Mark once and for all that the Dead deserve his respect. The whole band delivers! On the way out the door to go bartending he says, “Better than I expected George, much better than I thought it ever could be. It was a lot of fun. I wish I didn’t have to leave.”

With Mark gone it’s time to see what the other guys are up to. They’re still hanging on the incline having a ball. The second set goes “Samson,” “Crazy Fingers” > “Uncle John’s” > “Playin Reprise,” then during “Drums” the sun begins to set. The sky slowly gets bright orange as they move into “Space.” Several joints are being passed around. I begin my accent to get Al’s boom-box during “China Doll” and check out the rest of the set from there. After “Brokedown,” I take the long walk back to the mini-van. On the way, walking through the lot, I hear today’s “Here Comes Sunshine” and I’m drawn to it. It turns out to be one guy listening to it play from his trunk. He’s beaming. I listen to it and ask him to play it again. Other than that opening technical glitch, it’s right on. I can’t wait to record it off the Dead Head Hour. From out of nowhere Kevin Cunningham appears and asked the guy to play it again. We get a chance to catch up after the tune walking back to the mini-van, mostly about U2’s Achtung Baby tour. Then I wind up selling him my Oakland tickets, one of which happens to be the 2nd to last time they ever play “Casey Jones.” Before I hop in the mini-van that’s already started, with the lights on, he says, you know Sunshine was the name of the Dead’s limo driver. The song has nothing to do with the sun. They were just saying out loud, here come’s Sunshine, the limousine driver. “Well excuse me, I should have known”, I reply. Kevin’s off to the Butte Hotel where the band is or was staying, then back to San Francisco. I’m off to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona for some leisure time with Butch and Tommy, while Al and Timmy are leaving Monday morning to fly back east. It was a successful trip, we eluded the imaginary FBI and caught a major break-out. Let’s hope our music stays alive.

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