It was the summer of 1990 and I was on the Grateful Dead tour. It was right after Brent Midland, their keyboardist, overdosed on a speedball. We were at Three Rivers stadium. First in the lot and then in the stadium. Concerts, especially Grateful Dead concerts were a little different back then. You could walk all over the stadium from the nosebleed seats to the field. When the band played everyone was down on the field enjoying the music. Except those indulging in drugs that is.
For whatever reason I decided it was time to be cool and trip on some acid. I was no novice. As an LSD dealer I had unlimited access to acid and dosed regularly. But this event was special and I decided to take 75 hits of LSD in one setting. Not the brightest of ideas, but to each his own. Plus I was young and adventurous. Bold and reckless. Ready to trip balls on the Dead tour.
I had a bottle of liquid. It was an empty food coloring bottle. I had a Jimi Hendrix bandana too. I poured and splashed about 3/4 of the bottle of liquid LSD onto my bandana and quickly tied it around my head. My running partner, who we’ll call Taylor, drank the rest of the bottle, about 25 hits. Ingesting it directly. Willing and ready to go down the rabbit hole with me.
The band hadn’t even started yet and as we waited for the acid to kick in we felt an urge to smoke some kind bud. Luckily in my pocket was a big bag of nugs. Kentucky gold, straight out of the Cumberland Gap. An indica/sitiva cross that gave you a nice and heavy, but floating type of high. We headed to the top of the stadium because that’s where everyone was smoking buds.
We walked all the way up to the very tip of the stadium. It was a trek, but everybody agreed that the partaking of marijuana would be in one place, so that no random busts would be going down. The authorities would have to arrest a large group that was all doing the same thing. Which they were less apt to time. The mob rules mentality in Deadhead land.
We took our seats among the other smokers, rolled a fattie and waited for the acid to kick in. But we waited to long. When the band started playing everyone ran down the steps back to the infield to get as close to the music as they could. Me and Taylor tried to also but we discovered we were tripping too hard. The steep stairs descending to the infield seemed a sheer cliff.
We took a step or two and slowly pulled up. It was like scaling down a mountain. We couldn’t do it. We were scared to death. It was just too much to make our way down those stairs. We returned to our perch at the top of Three Rivers stadium and rolled another joint. That was how we spent our afternoon. Stoned, tripping and stuck in the nosebleed seats. We could hear the music, but the band was so far away.
A couple of our friends came up to smoke out and told us to come down to see the band. We told them we were good. Because for real, we weren’t going anywhere. If we attempted to journey down the mountain at that time it might have been a bad move. So we sat. All afternoon we sat.
The band played, did their encore and left the stage. We were still sitting and tripping in the heights. All the fans and deadheads started filtering out of the stadium. Still we sat. Frozen. Watching the people file out like ants.
The stadium cleaning crew started sweeping the aisles. We remained in our seats. One of the janitors, a skinny black dude, approached us.
“You know we’re cleaning.” He said. “Everyone’s left. You guys got to go.”
“Ok cool,” I told him. But we weren’t going anywhere. Every time I looked down those steps it seemed like some impenetrable path that would be insurmountable to maneuver. If I was ready to go then Taylor was schizing out. We were undecided. We knew we had to bounce, but we just couldn’t do it. Finally some time later the same janitor came up to us. Kind of bemused in a way.
“We’re about to lock the stadium up.” He told us. “If you don’t leave you’ll be locked in here.”
That was the impetus that sparked us to action. We had to go. Things had come to a head. It was do or die time. Maybe jumping off a cliff wasn’t that bad an idea. We didn’t want to be trapped in Three Rivers stadium over night tripping balls. It was time to make a move.
After the janitor left yet again we cautiously stepped out on the stair case. I Imagined a Slalom run. Instead of looking down the steps, which was tripping me out and fucking with my equilibrium I started crawling down he steps backwards like a baby navigating stairs. I felt like a crab going down those stairs, but for real I couldn’t walk. It was just too steep and I couldn’t deal with traversing those stairs as I would in my right mind.
Tripping on the acid reduced me to crab walking down the steps. I couldn’t stand upright until we got back to the first main level which led to the exit back to the lot. If we just made it to the lot we’d be in safe territory. It was a serious journey for us and luckily we made it out with no drama or bad scenarios that would have been intense due to our acid fueled state.
It was a live reality show that we barely got through. When we finally made it to the lot we were cool. We were back in out element, heading for Shakedown Street and laughing off the bad trip that had us sitting at the top of a stadium all day long. Missing the show we were there to witness.