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Hippies are Everywhere!


Published November 6, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.

Ratdog played the Memorial Auditorium this weekend. You know what that means.

When the Grateful Dead disbanded upon the death of their leader, Jerry Garcia, in the summer of '95, the Deadhead horde was bereft. Grateful Dead shows were about way more than music. For thousands of their avid fans, following the Dead around the country on their never-ending tours was a lifestyle. What was next? What's a hippie to do?

For a year or two the times were tough. But, slowly, other so-called "jam bands" took up the slack, led by our local boys, Phish. And, before long, the various Grateful Dead band members took up new projects. Ratdog, fronted by Bob Weir, is one of those.

When the show let out, 2340 hippies exited Memorial Auditorium and spilled out onto the streets, joining the (probably) 2340 hippies already on the street who were sold out of the show. That's a lot of hippies.

And this is the, if I may, groovy thing about hippies. It's not so much that they all look alike, but it's all about being a member of a tribe. On some level, I think all humans crave that feeling. Having been to Grateful Dead shows - back in the day, let me tell you - the concerts create a scene of collective ecstasy, drugs not necessarily required. In a sense, it's about losing one's individual identity and merging into the collective soul. My friend Don refers to this state of mind as "spiritual creaminess."

In our culture that exalts so-called "individuality" above all other attributes, I, for one, dig the tribal ethos of the hippies. My generation generated the first hippies, but new generations have carried the torch. Thank goodness for that - we need 'em.

Sunshine daydream, walking in the tall trees, going where the wind goes, blooming like a red rose . . .