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Fourth echelon

Grateful Dead goodbye starts with parking lot busts, serious stage jams

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SANTA CLARA, CALIF. – The undercover cops didn’t help the vibe, most of all for Moondog. They wore jeans and t-shirts and carried backpacks that made them look almost like everybody else, except not really. They wouldn’t talk to me as they scooped up the spoils of the copyright shakedown – pins and t-shirts – and Moondog, growing uglier by the second as he stood helplessly next to his camper, cursed out the Dead, mocked Bobby and Phil Lesh, then pledged to return next time with bags of heroin decorated with Jerry’s face. Ouch.

It marked a depressing start to the day, but thankfully, only a start.

This isn’t 1978. And there’s money to be made and money to be protected. That clock started ticking Saturday night when the Grateful Dead, or the Grateful Dead without Jerry, opened the first of five farewell shows that will wrap July 5 in Chicago.





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