Thursday, February 16, 2012

Growing Up Dead by Peter Conners - Grateful Dead Book Review

Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead by Peter Conners

Another book I read during my 3 years hiatus from this blog was Growing up Dead. I enjoyed this book immensely in much the same way as Tiger in a Trance.  Both books share some similarities but reading one does not detract from enjoying the other.

This book is about an East Coast teenager who get's hip to The Dead in his teen years.  Peter's first show is 1987 at the age of 16 and it is an epic concert at Kingswood Theater in Canada. He proceeds to follow the band on and off until their final shows in 1995.

It's great to read passages about "life on the bus" (a vw camper in this case) and the daily grind of going to shows and making it to the next one.  Also, this book is a little more detailed about the Dead concert musical experience than Tiger in a Trance. Peter gives detailed reviews of seleced shows.

You will also enjoy reading about Peter's life "off of tour-" going to college (on and off) and trying to find himself on the road.  He makes some amusing observations about social structure of teenagers and how hippies fit into that.

The protagonist gets disillusioned with the Dead scene in the later years of the band's existence - pointing out the problems like arrests and the crowd  gate crashing shows (at Deer Creek).  He does get interested in some of the newer jam band upstarts on the East Coast during this period (like Phish, Blues Traveler, etc).

Overall, if you want to go down memory lane and be reminded (or learn about) life on the Dead lot in the 80's  - this  book will not disappoint.

Growing up Dead Book Rating: N/A(not going to do any more numerical ratings of books like this because they are not perfect yet I am too appreciative of their existence to give anything but a 10.0).

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