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Gonzo Report: Sippin’ & spinnin’ with Jerry Garcia jammers at Del Mar Social

Into The Days Between

The spinners were in full effect.
The spinners were in full effect.

Jerry Garcia was born on August 1, 1942 and died on August 9, 1995. He was best known for being a founding member The Grateful Dead, a band born in the days of ‘60s counterculture in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, for which he played lead guitar and served as a vocalist. He would have turned 80 this year. The nine days between the dates of his birth and death is known in Deadhead circles as The Days Between.

I decided to kick off this seasonal Jerry celebration with Mystery Train and Easy Wind at the Del Mar Social. Mind you, the Del Mar Social is not to be confused with the Del Mar Social Club at the Fairmont Hotel. I had a feeling that my ride had brought me to the wrong place when I was informed of its mandatory valet parking. I chuckled at the thought of a bunch of Deadheads handing over the keys to their beaters and VW buses and wandering around the hotel grounds. Then my ride and I got back on the road.

Exit the 5, get on Tripp Court, and drive to the end of the street into a realm of industrial buildings, and you will find the Del Mar Social at which I was looking to socialize. It’s a pop-up event venue converted from a car garage. The alcoholic beverage station was located at the corner of the parking lot: beer was $8 and wine was $9. The stage was at the adjacent corner. At the entrance of the structure, I found a patch fake grass and a vendor selling grilled cheese sandwiches for $10. (Loaded with ham & tomato, $14.)

Sponsored
Sponsored

The summary I heard from multiple event-goers, verbatim: “This place is very comfortable, with a nice vibe.” The main structure (the garage) offered a lounge feel, with sofas, bar tables, and chairs, plus vendors selling clothing and crafts, and a mint-condition vintage Jeep in the left corner. There was a back bar area decorated with surfboards, guitars on the walls, a conga drum, and a Harley Davidson Motorcycle (also in mint condition). I did observe that some people were willing to share hugs, while some did not want to be touched, even for a handshake. I don’t think I have to get into the particulars about that.

I arrived as Easy Wind was completing their soundcheck — a good time to go talk to some of the band members. Patrick Brown, vocalist and rhythm guitar player, told me that he discovered the venue after he got a haircut across the street and wandered in to talk to the owner. He also let me know he wanted Easy Wind to kick off San Diego’s Days Between celebration with Mystery Train. That band, which primarily performs Jerry Garcia Band covers, started the show with some soulful (and yet sometimes powerful) Jerry grooves. They’re up and coming in the Dead scene. As they finished their set, I had the sense of something starting, not ending.

I could feel the energy polarizing as the sun began going down and more people started coming in. I did not see any one person pull out a joint or pipe, but a few (present company included) did pull out the ol’ vape cartridge. No words exchanged, but some implications of psychedelia in effect, judging by the darkness in some of the attendees’ eyes.

As the sun set, Easy Wind started playing. Patrick Brown and Rosy Dawn did double duty after singing back up vocals for Mystery Train. As the time eased from day to night, the band eased into “Cold Rain and Snow.” The crowd was a mixture of younger and older generations, all dancing together in harmony. Dominic Estes sidled up to Brown and Dawn as he played his own guitar, but it was impossible to not hone in on Dawn. She hits high notes like no other female vocalist, and her hip shaking and pointing to the sky got the crowd frenzied. The spinners (a straightforward enough name for people who spin around while dancing at a Grateful Dead concert) were spinning hard in the middle. They took over that area for a bit, their pace increasing to a dizzying pace to keep up with “Franklin’s Tower.” They were spinning so fast it made the room feel like it was moving — even though I was outside.

Video:

RIP Jerry Garcia, San Diego Deadheads 8-9-95 TV news report

8-9-95 local TV news report featuring News 8 reporter Ronnie Loaiza in Ocean Beach, La Mesa, and elsewhere

8-9-95 local TV news report featuring News 8 reporter Ronnie Loaiza in Ocean Beach, La Mesa, and elsewhere

Here’s where I stop the bus, because I’d like to wish Walt Burenin a happy birthday. He turned 69 on July 28th. He could have written this story better than I can, due to his uncanny ability to spot minor details. But he asked me not to share them, so I’ll respect his wishes. I’m also grateful for the graciousness, time, and insight that Patrick Brown and Rosy Dawn provided. Finally, a special thanks to drummer Frank Lazzaro of Easy Wind and Travel Agents. He’s been around the local Dead scene for a long time, and provided me my first ever Dead cover band experience almost 30 years ago. Finally, a special happy birthday to Jerry Garcia, and fare you well.

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The spinners were in full effect.
The spinners were in full effect.

Jerry Garcia was born on August 1, 1942 and died on August 9, 1995. He was best known for being a founding member The Grateful Dead, a band born in the days of ‘60s counterculture in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, for which he played lead guitar and served as a vocalist. He would have turned 80 this year. The nine days between the dates of his birth and death is known in Deadhead circles as The Days Between.

I decided to kick off this seasonal Jerry celebration with Mystery Train and Easy Wind at the Del Mar Social. Mind you, the Del Mar Social is not to be confused with the Del Mar Social Club at the Fairmont Hotel. I had a feeling that my ride had brought me to the wrong place when I was informed of its mandatory valet parking. I chuckled at the thought of a bunch of Deadheads handing over the keys to their beaters and VW buses and wandering around the hotel grounds. Then my ride and I got back on the road.

Exit the 5, get on Tripp Court, and drive to the end of the street into a realm of industrial buildings, and you will find the Del Mar Social at which I was looking to socialize. It’s a pop-up event venue converted from a car garage. The alcoholic beverage station was located at the corner of the parking lot: beer was $8 and wine was $9. The stage was at the adjacent corner. At the entrance of the structure, I found a patch fake grass and a vendor selling grilled cheese sandwiches for $10. (Loaded with ham & tomato, $14.)

Sponsored
Sponsored

The summary I heard from multiple event-goers, verbatim: “This place is very comfortable, with a nice vibe.” The main structure (the garage) offered a lounge feel, with sofas, bar tables, and chairs, plus vendors selling clothing and crafts, and a mint-condition vintage Jeep in the left corner. There was a back bar area decorated with surfboards, guitars on the walls, a conga drum, and a Harley Davidson Motorcycle (also in mint condition). I did observe that some people were willing to share hugs, while some did not want to be touched, even for a handshake. I don’t think I have to get into the particulars about that.

I arrived as Easy Wind was completing their soundcheck — a good time to go talk to some of the band members. Patrick Brown, vocalist and rhythm guitar player, told me that he discovered the venue after he got a haircut across the street and wandered in to talk to the owner. He also let me know he wanted Easy Wind to kick off San Diego’s Days Between celebration with Mystery Train. That band, which primarily performs Jerry Garcia Band covers, started the show with some soulful (and yet sometimes powerful) Jerry grooves. They’re up and coming in the Dead scene. As they finished their set, I had the sense of something starting, not ending.

I could feel the energy polarizing as the sun began going down and more people started coming in. I did not see any one person pull out a joint or pipe, but a few (present company included) did pull out the ol’ vape cartridge. No words exchanged, but some implications of psychedelia in effect, judging by the darkness in some of the attendees’ eyes.

As the sun set, Easy Wind started playing. Patrick Brown and Rosy Dawn did double duty after singing back up vocals for Mystery Train. As the time eased from day to night, the band eased into “Cold Rain and Snow.” The crowd was a mixture of younger and older generations, all dancing together in harmony. Dominic Estes sidled up to Brown and Dawn as he played his own guitar, but it was impossible to not hone in on Dawn. She hits high notes like no other female vocalist, and her hip shaking and pointing to the sky got the crowd frenzied. The spinners (a straightforward enough name for people who spin around while dancing at a Grateful Dead concert) were spinning hard in the middle. They took over that area for a bit, their pace increasing to a dizzying pace to keep up with “Franklin’s Tower.” They were spinning so fast it made the room feel like it was moving — even though I was outside.

Video:

RIP Jerry Garcia, San Diego Deadheads 8-9-95 TV news report

8-9-95 local TV news report featuring News 8 reporter Ronnie Loaiza in Ocean Beach, La Mesa, and elsewhere

8-9-95 local TV news report featuring News 8 reporter Ronnie Loaiza in Ocean Beach, La Mesa, and elsewhere

Here’s where I stop the bus, because I’d like to wish Walt Burenin a happy birthday. He turned 69 on July 28th. He could have written this story better than I can, due to his uncanny ability to spot minor details. But he asked me not to share them, so I’ll respect his wishes. I’m also grateful for the graciousness, time, and insight that Patrick Brown and Rosy Dawn provided. Finally, a special thanks to drummer Frank Lazzaro of Easy Wind and Travel Agents. He’s been around the local Dead scene for a long time, and provided me my first ever Dead cover band experience almost 30 years ago. Finally, a special happy birthday to Jerry Garcia, and fare you well.

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