Levi’s Stadium, in the heart of a tech office park in Santa Clara, Calif., is not a particularly inviting destination for a pop-up countercultural hang, but, not to be outdone, Grateful Dead fans were out in full force, taking over the golf courses and parking lots surrounding the venue for the first of two Fare Thee Well warm-up shows.
As is tradition for Deadheads, small markets formed in multiple areas as the tailgating scene heated up. “Shakedown Street,” as it is called, was alive and well, and featured everything a concert-goer could need, from food to drinks to bootleg T-shirts, jewelry and, of course, paraphernalia. “Marketing 101,” remarked one enterprising seller.
Also seen in the 21st century Shakedown Street: computer art of Jerry Garcia alongside classic VW vans — fewer, it was hard not to notice, than back when the band was still touring in the 90s. One woman was giving away all of her Dead cassettes — more than 1,000 — for free by the side of her car. “I want to pass them on to the next generation,” she said.
All in all, fans of all ages were represented, many of the older heads, who can remember the band’s Jerry Garcia heyday, grinning ear-to-ear at the memories.