"...Lately it occurs to me...What a long strange trip it's been..."- The Grateful Dead, "Truckin' "
Hi, kids!!! Good day, eh... & welcome to "This Blog Is Not A Toy"! Well, I've thought about it for quite a while, and today, I'm finally gonna try to write it down... Hope I can still remember it all... Lol I'm doing this to have it down for posterity (or "poster"-ity, as the case may be...); and to show just how actually stupid and suggestible I truly was back then. Anyway, here now for your enjoyment , the famous "Six Hits Of Acid" story!!!
(This really works better when I tell it in person, but I'll try my best to translate it to the electronic page...)
Summer 2001, Saratoga Springs, New York. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (or SPAC, as it's more commonly known...) was abuzz with activity, as Phil Lesh (former Grateful Dead bass player) And Friends and some other groups were in town for a tour known as "The Furthur Festival". As some of you may know, "Furthur" refers to Ken Kesey's old psychedelic bus... For more info on Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, check out "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Tom Wolfe.
The Grateful Dead was the house band for some of the original Acid Tests in the late 60's... Phil Lesh was there, along with the rest of the Dead: Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann on percussion and drums, Bob Weir on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Jerry Garcia on lead guitar and vocals. The Grateful Dead, or "The Dead" as they were sometimes called, created a loyal following with their blues-based rock'n'roll. They toured incessantly through the 70's and 80's, and great fun was had by all who saw them play...
"Get to the story!" I'm just filling in some background for those who weren't there!!! Gosh!!!
One big part of the Grateful Dead's fan base were people who called themselves "Deadheads". Deadheads would sometimes follow the band on tour, traveling from city to city just to see the Dad play. It was one such Deadhead that my friend Paul* (name changed to protect his privacy) found in the SPAC parking lot, in a stereotypically psychedelic painted van. This girl sold Paul and I some white blotter acid.(I think it was white... It might have had pictures on it... I don't remember...) I paid her for eight hits, and she handed me the sheet, which was wrapped in tinfoil, and said to me, "You break it off, I don't wanna trip yet." Fine, doll... I ended up grabbing like ten hits, handed her her sheet back and thanked her.
Paul and I walked off to find a place where we could enjoy our new purchase. The air was filled with excitement... and other things... In the parking lot, a few different groups of people were playing Grateful Dead music from their car stereos, and a few even brought their own instruments, and were jamming away just like their heroes. Some people sold different items out of their cars, spread out on blankets. Most of the vendors were just regular people who wanted to make a buck or two. Some of the people sold things to make money to travel with The Dead (or in this case, Phil & Friends) to the next stop on the tour... Some sold things because they were into crafts...Still others sold things to fuel their drug intake... Paul and I walked around and around and around the lot, when the acid finally kicked in. It was pretty mellow... A really good scene... "Shakedown Street" (the parking lot/vending area, named from another Dead song) was pretty lively that day, as show time crept closer and closer.
We bought bottled beer from a vendor to quench our thirsts... It was a hot, slightly muggy summer day, and the parking lot was a little dusty. After the beer, we also bought a balloon of nitrous oxide. Laughing gas, as it's also known, is a quick, intense high that doesn't last too long; but is pleasurable. As with most drugs, it's inhaled through the mouth. The user then holds their breath until they can no longer do so. Nitrous produces a kind of ringing sensation inside your head for a couple minutes after use, along with general (short-lived) euphoria.
The area around the tanks of nitrous oxide were like no place I'd ever been at any other concert, before or since. Nitrous oxide has no smell that I'm aware of, but it filled the surrounding air. Every once in awhile, one of the balloons broke with a loud "POP!!!" This allowed all the contents of that balloon to get into the surrounding air. Here's where that euphoria comes in... At most concerts, no matter what drugs people are on, or what band is playing that night, there's bound to be at least one spot of trouble. Someone will argue or fight with someone else; it doesn't matter who, nor does it matter what started the original dispute... In this area, there was none of that. As I looked about, nearly EVERYONE I saw was smiling. Could've been the nitrous oxide, maybe not... It was weird, but a really good kind of weird.
Paul and I began to edge closer to the bridge that would take us to the venue. The parking lot we were in was across the road from SPAC, and there was a bridge over the highway.