Last year on May 8, I was the only Deadhead in Barton Hall. On that day I came up with the concept for a new book: The Grateful Pilgrimage, Time Travel with the Dead. My goal was to finish the book by May 8, 2023. The book’s done, Dead and Company are in town, and the sacred site will be packed with Deadheads, and thousands more will be partying outside. Here’s the history of how the book evolved.
On May 8, 2022, I was scheduled to be on Tales from the Golden Road. I decided to take a road trip to Barton Hall and do the interview on my new book Europe ’72 Revisited, in Ithaca. Listening to the immortal 5-8-77 Scarlet > Fire on the road, an inspired thought came to me. I should revisit an entire tour on the anniversary dates! I missed the adventures of going city to town listening to boots and discovering America. The idea was odd, nobody had ever done this kind of thing before. Therefore, it was impossibly attractive.
In Barton Hall while I was shooting hoops, I decided to revisit the 1983 fall tour. In addition to the St. Stephen break out in MSG, (10-11-83), the tour has these undeniable classics: 10-14-83 Scarlet > Fire, 10-12-83 Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower, 10-17-83 Sugaree and Deal. My goal was to get inside each venue and listen to the show on its anniversary. If I couldn’t infiltrate the arena, I got as close as possible. I hadn’t visited places like Richmond, Greensboro, Worcester and Syracuse in decades. And the place I looked forward to revisiting most was Lake Placid. Along the way, I decided to see some other venues that Jerry and GD played at like Music Mountain, Stabler Arena, Colgate, City Island…etc.
The seeds of all this were planted on my initial pilgrimage to Barton Hall in 2015. I was finishing Grateful dead 1977: The Rise of Terrapin Nation, and I was compelled to visit Ithaca and see Barton Hall. I included that pilgrimage as the last chapter in The Grateful Pilgrimage: Time Travel with the Dead, which you can preview here: https://amzn.to/3LzqQfb