I got a tip from Mark Johnson via Facebook that Further was going to have a concert at the UCF Arena. This band has many of the former Grateful Dead band members. He suggested I get to the Arena early to sketch as the bad ass aging Dead Heads gathered. Walking through the UCF campus I began to see pockets of brightly colored hippies. I walked all the way around the Arena looking for just the right cluster of individuals to sketch. A parking garage right behind the Arena had Grateful Dead music coming from an upper floor. I saw an open SUV tailgate and two grey bearded men in tie dye. I was tempted to go up but there was little light in the garage. I had to look further.
I finally decided to sit outside Tail Gaters Smokehouse. A fellow with a grey beard looked like he had just arrived on his Harley Davidson. He chewed on a tooth pic and sipped his beer. A couple exited the bar. He wore a hat with flames dancing around the rim and an amazing technicolor coat with a rainbow of dancing skeletons. She wore a vibrant rainbow colored dress and a wreath of flowers on her head. I tried to fit her in the sketch twice but she was constantly on the move posing for photos. One fellow with a Grateful Dead messenger bag kept his hand raised with one finger extended. He was probably looking to buy or sell one ticket. Tickets went for $65 to over $100. I wasn't tempted to buy. Two college girls who looked like flower children danced to the music flowing from the bar. The lyrics caught my attention, "Every picture tells a story don't it!" A backpacker wandered into the bar looking like he had just hitchhiked to the concert.
I actually went to a Grateful Dead concert when I was in high school. I didn't have a drivers license yet so I got a ride from a co-worker named George from Zip-Mailing. I was earning money at this part time job to go to college. George had worked there for years. There were some strange scents at the concert, and I remember an amazing never ending drum solo that had everyone dancing in the aisles. I remember dancing with my eyes closed just letting the tribal beat move me. George got wasted, drinking far too many beers. The drive home was terrifying. He stopped once to puke out his driver's side door. He wouldn't give up the wheel saying he was fine. I eventually did get home, grateful to be alive.