The Forum – Buffalo, NY
‘Truckin’ up to Buffalo
Been thinking you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go
Just keep truckin’ on’
I am so happy to be going to NY! Ecstatic! This is the longest amount of time that I have been away from my home state – 7 months! My fondest memories – come to think of it – my only memories of Buffalo – are about the Grateful Dead. My first time to Buffalo was for the 4th of July show in 1986 at Rich Stadium. We tried to rent a car to get there because the car my boyfriend was driving at the time would not make it. Somehow I convinced my dad to loan us his old Dodge van. I still can’t believe he did. It was like a life or death situation – I HAD TO GO TO BUFFALO TO SEE DYLAN AND THE DEAD!!!!!!!!! The ride seemed like it took forever. We got pulled over along the way and mildly searched. I think they were on witch hunt for hippies. I had all my jewelry and other apparel to be selling at the show. The cop let us go on our merry way. I’m sure there was weed in the car; but he never found it. My father would have killed me! I feel like everyone I knew would be at this show. With 90,000 people and no cell phones – wasn’t sure that I would find any off them. We always had meeting places like – behind the stage during Drums/ Space… or at the flag pole in front of the arena after the show. This helped us to stay connected. I had been working for weeks on a whole display of beaded jewelry. I made Comanche earrings, Peyote stitch crystals, lace necklaces and the big bread winner was the bell anklets. They took about 20 minutes to make and I sold them for $15. I remember opening up my handmade velvet jewelry display board and girls came running over. I cleaned up at that show. This was going to fund my entire trip. Anyway, it was a blistering hot day -so hot outside that I actually passed out waiting in the massive line to enter the stadium. Next thing I knew people were pouring water over me and then I drank a whole lot of it. I was immediately better. There were so many people there it was overwhelming. There is nothing better than live music outside in the summertime. I loved just about everything about the scene — the sparkly girls, original funny bumper stickers that only Deadheads would get, the artwork, the colorful people, the music in the parking lots, the smells, the songs that filled the air, great veggie food. The Grateful Dead shakedown had everything you could ever want or need – and things you would never even imagine. We have found that some people are starting to drive long hours and hop on planes to come see us. We all agreed that it would be so cool if people really started traveling around to see us. I never felt alone on the road when touring with the Dead. There was always someone from the GD community there – on the highway, at the rest stops, in the restaurants, at the hotel. We really took over! I told the girls that I think it’s my karma that this should start happening with us because I spent so many years doing it myself.
We are so grateful to all of our fans – whether they come to 1 or 200 shows or just support us however they do…….but it would be really cool. I think I’ll start dreaming about what the Zepparella fan touring scene would look like. I’ll have to get back to you on that one!
So we made it up to Buffalo with time to go to Niagara Falls. What a treat! Again, my memories of going to the Falls were during various trips up to see the Grateful Dead. I remember wearing the raincoats and walking on all those wooden decks under the Falls, walking over Rainbow Bridge into Canada and going to the wax museum over there. Clem had been to the Falls before. She was like a little kid bursting with excitement over going. She used to come here with a friend of hers who was psychic. This friend was one of a family of psychics who believe that their abilities came from living by this divine natural wonder. The waters are energizing. This spot is, after all, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Gretchen and Angeline had never been and Clem and I were supercharged about it. I told them that as many times that I have come here – I had never been on ‘The Maid Of The Mist’. For those of you who don’t know about it – it’s a boat that takes you on a ride under both the American and the Canadian Falls. Clementine treated us to tix. We got our cute little blue plastic rain ponchos and headed down to the dock.
It was amazing! This felt like a Zepparella vacation!!! There’s always this rainbow at the bottom of the Falls. It was spectacular. They boats Captain told the story of the woman who went over Falls in a barrel in the 1920’s and survived. He also told a story about a 7 year old boy who accidentally fell over and was only wearing a life jacket. Miraculously the boy survived and was saved by this exact boat.
Thank you Clementine for such a beautiful diversion!
Oh yeah! We have a show tonight and a few interviews!
We got to the venue and there was a really interesting singer songwriter who was sort’ve howling at his captive audience of about 15. Later he was joined by a violinist. We were just about to load in when we met Patrick. Pat works for the club – he came out to help us. He told us that he heard we needed some fresh meat. I don’t know what it is about him – but we unanimously agreed that Pat is special! By the end of the night when we were getting off the stage – Clem said ‘thanks Pat’ and I felt as if he’d been touring with us for 10 years!
I was super excited to see an old dear friend from my post college days. She is originally from the Buffalo area and moved back to be closer to family and to start a family. Wendy and Matt arrived early enough so I could have a little bit of catch up before the show – which was not enough time! We got called outside to do a video interview for a local radio station. Three guys and a camera outside off the tea house. They tried to ask us different questions than we’re used to – but the truth is that it’s hard to do. They were very sweet and super appreciative that we came to Buffalo. They thought we’d never come.
I reconvened with Wendy until I noticed that the show was starting in 15 minutes and I had to go. This is what happens when you let years go by without seeing people. I dashed off for a quick costume change and hit the stage. We wrestled with a few sound problems at the beginning of the set but were able to work through it. It was a great house for a Monday night. The owner Vinny said that we would double if we came in September through December. Everyone does outside things in the summer. We still had a great crowd. Again it was that sit down situation; but right from the beginning we had a nice little posse of mostly women standing in the front and then there were all the dudes on the other dark stage – felt like a standing room only section. I told the audience that this room was approved for dancing. All the sitting folks clapped and didn’t move. Latter I used a more straightforward approach; and it worked!!!! So many years I had played music in the Hudson Valley and looked out to see my angelic friend Wendy out in the audience….here she was again. Now I really felt that I was home! Seeing her out there groovin and smiling really made my night!!!! Thank you Wendy for representing!
Once I got everyone up – they stayed up for the show. Way to go Buffalo!
After the show we met some really cool people – someone who sees us in SF who comes back home to Buffalo for the summer. I had a great conversation with another guy who wants to fly out to another show……see…..it’s happening!!!!
Kudos to our super helpful Buffalo chapter of Zep Road Crew: Matt, Wendy and Pat.
Thank you Buffalo – love you! Love you Wendy! Miss you Pat!
Two days off and I’m homeward bound!!!!!!
See you in Northampton!
Song of the day: Neil Young – On The Way Home & Tell Me Why