It was the last night of Bonnaroo 2016. The Grateful Dead and John Mayer were performing at the end of the night. We had been waiting all weekend to see them. We have someone in our friend group that adores The Grateful Dead. Upon entering the friend group, Ben attempted to convince all of us that The Grateful was easily one of the best musical groups in history. He tried to lure all of us one by one to see them live. We knew that this group did not hold many opportunities for us to see them, so when we saw them on the line up for Bonnaroo we knew we had to be there. Bonnaroo 2016 deserves a post all to itself and I definitely will, but this show changed me as a human being. I had to write about them first. It was the last night, it was storming, and the Grateful Dead had been postponed until the storm passed. I was bursting with energy and excitement, even as we were escorted out to go back to our campsites. Ben had been playing sets for us in the living room for about four months at this point. I, because I am such an impatient soul, did not enjoy the Grateful Dead at first. I kept waiting for a drop that would shatter my world, rather than listening for a melody that would put my world back together.
We laid out our tapestry when we were called back to Center-Roo and immediately made a home in the grass for the next four hours. There were ladies dressed as butterflies, people of all ages decked out in the Dead’s gear and making friends with one another. Everyone around me was radiating happiness. It was more than contagious. We were all more than excited to witness what some will never have the chance to. When the Grateful Dead began I was buzzing. They opened with Jam, into Truckin’. We had been separated from Ben and the rest of our group after the clearing out of Center-Roo, so we had no idea where he was. We wanted to share these moments with him, but we knew he was having fun somewhere in that mass amount of dead heads. Truckin’ is one of Ben’s favorite songs and is my favorite from them as well. The fact that it came on so early in their set made my heart swell in preparation for the rest of their show. Their visuals were life changing from the very beginning until the end. John Mayer and the Grateful Dead were close. You could tell from their overwhelmingly beautiful stage presence together. No one can perform like that if they have not experienced love, learning, and friendship. You could tell there was a connection between John Mayer and the Dead. I was honored to see two such iconic pieces of our history in one night.
During the second set, they played Fire on the Mountain as I was venturing to the restrooms. I turned around as I heard the familiar tune. I had a wonderful view from the small hill I was standing on, older men and women lost in a trance around my feet, eyes fixed on the stage. All the lights rose at once and met the sky, creating a golden, heavenly affect. I knew that in that moment I was to be grateful.