Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: giants stadium (page 1 of 2)

Now Take Another Step Back



Was there any attempt to wrangle the fans into pens, thereby ameliorating the chances of a crush, or was no attention whatsoever paid to safety?

“Second thing.”


Assorted Thoughts On A Swamp

Stadium shows sucked before the Jumbotron was invented.


This was the old Giants Stadium. Metlife Stadium, built in the parking lot while they tore down the old place, has Korean food, and gluten-free options, and matcha stands. At Giants, you could get a hot dog, or a pretzel, or a punch in the mouth (if the Jets were playing). If you were thirsty, you could have a beer or a Coke. Then you pissed in a trough. And we were grateful for what we had.


As I’ve mentioned, Giants Stadium was located in a swamp. That Springsteen line about being stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey? He wasn’t being poetic: most of New Jersey is a fetid bog. (The Garden State has other micro-climes: mountains with bitchin’, twisty roads running through ’em; the Shore; Newark; the green-as-fuck bit where Princeton is; horse country; and an actual, honest-to-God haunted forest where a monster lives.) This particular swamp is called the Meadowlands; it’s where the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers empty into Newark Bay. No one ever lived there. Not the Lenni-Lenape, and not the Dutch, and not the English, and not the Americans. It was a swamp.

BUT it was a swamp within spitting distance of New York City and the Turnpike.

This was my Meadowlands. Ominous and desolate, like Nick Cave’s sock drawer. That’s the Brendan Byrne Arena, where the Dead used to play in the winter, up front; and that’s Giants Stadium, where they played in the summer, behind and to the left; and that’s the racetrack, where Billy used to get drunk and punch jockeys, off to the right.

And you had to drive. See any rail lines in that photo? Public transportation is considered both communistic and blasphemous in New Jersey, so anyone who wanted to watch Lawrence Taylor cripple opponents in a cocaine-fueled rage needed a ride.You sat in traffic trying to get to the event, evented, and then sat in traffic trying to get out of the parking lot. My father would regularly force our family to leave games during the National Anthem just to beat the rush.

It’s better now:

No, I lied to you: it’s just as shitty, but in new and updated (but still totally Jersey) ways.

(AN ASIDE: You didn’t realize how enormous a horse track was, did you? I certainly didn’t.)

So, obviously, that’s the racetrack where they still run the trotters. At its peak, 25,000 gamblers would crowd in on a Saturday night, but it hasn’t made money in decades, and the state sold the venue to a French company in 2010.

The stadium is the new one, Metlife. It was going to be Allianz Stadium, but it turns out that Allianz did a lot of business with the Nazis during the war, and so the naming rights went to Metlife, a company I’m sure is unimpeachable in its morality and history.

The arena is no longer the Brendan Byrne Arena. (He was one of New Jersey’s long list of despised idiot governors; almost immediately after taking office, he was nicknamed OTB, which stood for One Term Byrne.) The former home of the Nets and Devils had a number of name changes–such as the Izod Center, the Continental Airlines Arena, and The Turdcuttery–but is now known simply as Meadowlands Arena. The reason for the simple sobriquet is that no one will pay for the naming rights anymore, as the venue has no tenants and is essentially an abandoned structure.

See that bullshit surrounding the arena? That’s Xanadu.

That’s the view from the highway.

It’s called The American Dream Mall now, but most Jerseyans will always know it as Xanadu. (You will note, please, that Xanadu can refer to either: A, a location that does not exist; or B, an enormous financial disaster.) In 2003, business leaders and elected officials put their heads together and this is the KONK sound it made. Not joking, either: they’ve been building this fucker since 2003 and it hasn’t opened yet. It is Alaska’s Road to Nowhere, or Boston’s Big Dig, but uglier and far more expensive.

Guess. C’mon, guess. Guess how much money this building–which is not an international airport or a particle accelerator–cost. GUESS!

Nah, you were way off: $5 billion. FOR A MALL! Sure, it’s got a massive food court, but still: a mall shouldn’t cost $5 billion.

Oh, and that angled section to the left? It’s an indoor ski slope. First one in America, as a matter of fact. It might not be able to accommodate the schussers and snowplowers when American Dream (tentatively) opens in late October, though. Engineers are worried about the structure’s integrity after it was damaged in–wait for it–a snow storm.

Oh, my old New Jersey home:
It’s a death trap;
It’s a suicide rap.
We gotta get out while we’re young

Find Parish!

Three seconds to find Parish!




Yes, Enthusiasts: it turns out that the true Steve Parish was within you all along.

These posts are getting stupider and stupider.

So’s the country.

Yeah, okay.

The Giants Stadium Box Set: An FAQ

Oh, has there been a new box set announced?

Yes, there has. It’s five shows from the venerable and now-gone Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

You can’t be any more specific than “in New Jersey?”

It was in a swamp in New Jersey. For purposes of taxation and postal service, the venue was technically in East Rutherford, but Giants Stadium wasn’t anywhere near East Rutherford. It was in a swamp and you could only get there via a superhighway.

A swamp?

They paved it.

Sure. Which shows?

One from ’87, two from ’89, and two from ’91 including the Dark Star Tease show.

Eyes opener, braj.

Eyes opener.

One small question. 

Anything for you, Boldy.

The picture you’ve posted is of the 9/2/78 show at Giants Stadium, which was the Dead’s first appearance at the venue and also a cash-grab before Egypt.

It is, yes.

You didn’t mention the ’78 when you listed the box set’s contents.

No, because the ’78 is not included in the new box set and DAVID LEMIEUX OWES ME AN EXPLANATION.

He doesn’t owe you anything except his best effort at archivisting.

I want an explanation and a letter of apology.

Didn’t the Dead have other dates at Giants Stadium beside the five on the box set and ’78?

The Grateful Dead visited the Meadowlands Sports Complex to play the big room eight more times after ’91.

So why aren’t you bitching about those shows not being included?

Because they sucked. It would be morally wrong to ask Deadheads to pay for those ’95 shows. Not as wrong as a $3,000 blanket with a Stealie slapped on it, but still wrong. The ’78 show was good, dammit.

Did David Lemieuxa’dib release a charmingly folksy video announcing the box set? Perhaps he explains the exclusion of the ’78 in that.


Didn’t you watch it?

I did.

Were you fucking around on your phone the entire time David was speaking?

I was.

You’re a dillweed.


[A TOTD SIDENOTE} Dave is too skinny. Canadians have usually begun to pack on their winter fat by this point. I fear DL is not catching enough salmon, and I blame this all on Climate Change.

A Lesser Giant

The second of the Grateful Dead’s two Giants Stadium shows in 1991 opened up with Eyes of The World; the first show kicked off with Picasso Moon. Don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out. 6/16/91 features both a rendition of Stagger Lee and a completely generic second set, but it’s the Dusborne Matrix version and someone‘s gotta listen to post-Brent shows.



“Yes, sir?”

“We need to decide on visuals for the Dead shows.”

“I’m ready, sir.”

“What year is it?”

“1991, sir.”

“Close-ups of Garcia! Fish-eye lens that lard-ass!”

“I was thinking maybe we kept the camera on Bobby and the drummers.”

“Nonsense! Close as you can on Garcia! Make him look like the Ghost of Christmas Something.”

“Oh, fine. What about the projections?”

“Colorful bullshit.”

“Would you like to be more specific, sir?”

“I would not.”


One of you must know this: when did the Dead start using the Jumbotrons? Has someone written a history of the Jumbotron in rock? I am now incredibly interested in this topic.


Here’s the thing about ’91 shows: they exist in a world wherein ’73 shows also exist. I don’t know if I’ve listened to September of ’73 enough–let alone March!– to  justify spending so much time on a ’91 that’s not 9/10/91.

I might ripcord out of this sucker. That’s all I’m saying.

Hey, Son, You Wanna Try The Big Top?

There’s folks who like knowing how the trick is done, and there’s folks who don’t. Neither position is the morally superior one.

Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Enthusiasts, this shot of 5/15/77 from the St. Louis Arena has never before been seen.

That’s because it’s from Giants Stadium in ’78.


That is clearly a stadium, not an arena. It is also clearly Giants Stadium, a dump to which we pilgrimaged to at least twice a year for our entire childhood.


St. Louis.

Go sew your lips to a goose’s asshole.

I just wanted the nice people to listen to the Eyes.

Then why did you feel the need to lie to them?

I didn’t need to. I wanted to.

Go find a goose.



I Spy With My Flying Eyeball

  • Parish.
  • A biker who has been outlawed.
  • Fret-Eeze.
  • Hot lesbian action right next to the guy from the record company.
  • A band set up wrong.
  • Trio of chickies.
  • Schmuck in a hat.
  • Reef shark.

How many do you see?

This Looks Like A Job For…




“It’s the past, so we weren’t pussies or spazzes.”

I can’t have this argument with you again: adhering to modern safety protocols do not make you a pussy or a spaz. And you know we’re not saying “pussy” any more.

“I’m in 1978. We’re still saying pussy. Hell, we’re still saying fa–”

Just stop there. I cannot stress enough how ‘carnival in the mall parking lot’ this all looks.

“We weren’t going for aesthetics.”

You succeeded. What would happen if someone fell off?

“They’d die.”

What if the Deadheads took the structure?

“Lots of fuckers’d die.”

Uh-huh. What’s the rope assemblage for?

“Well, there’s another cluster stand on the other side of the field, so–”

Please don’t say zip-line.

“–we rigged up a zip-line. But, you know, the rope forms a parabola.”

You get stuck in the middle.

“Parish did. Fell on a couple fans. He’s okay.”

And the fans?

“No idea.”

There’s A Band In The Meadow Of Bottomless Time

The Dead sold out in Jersey. This is 9/2/78 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. First show at the new(ish) venue: the Giants used to play at Yankee Stadium, but by the mid-70’s everyone had a car and could drive to a swamp in the middle of nowhere–there was no form of public transportation to Giants Stadium that did not count among its steps “sprinting across Route 22” and people died all the time–so the New York Giants moved to New Jersey in 1976 and still haven’t gotten around to updating the team name or logo. Then the Jets moved in eight years later; they, too, neglected to change their name to the New Jersey Jets. Which is just rubbing our noses in it: I can understand the Giants not wanting to be associated with Jersey, as they are a classy organization, but the Jets–the organization and their fans–are greasy diner trash full of cheap beer and Sopranos reruns.

Giants Stadium (not Giant’s, thank you) was part of a destination-entertainment complex that also included an arena and a horse track. State law mandated that only trotters run; these are the races in which the jockey sits in a wheeled sling directly behind the animal. (When the law was passed, the politicians behind it were quoted as saying, “We weren’t paid off by a lawyer representing an association of trotter-horse breeders. If that’s what you were thinking.”) My parents would take BoTotD there once in a while. Something to do on a sunny day. The horses had wonderful names. I think they let me place bets once I turned 15 or so. No one gave a fuck back then.

Betting any more than two bucks on a horse race makes you a degenerate. Do not question this.

The arena was first called Meadowlands Arena, and then the Brendan Byrne Arena, and then the Izod Center, and then it was lost to the Space Beavers, and then it was the Izod Center again, but the version from the evil Mirror Universe and an entire Ice Capade was eaten, and now it’s abandoned (but secretly still occupied by the Space Beavers). The Nets of basketball played there, and so did the Devils of hockey; they wore startlingly different shoes to do so. Bruce Springsteen played there in the winter, across the parking lot from his summer grounds.

And another highway. These three venues sit in an enormous marsh where there are no buildings at all–the ground is swampy and damp and tough to work on–and they still managed to run a highway in between them. New Jersey invented trolling through civic engineering. The arena did not have enough parking to handle a full house, so the overflow went across the highway to the stadium’s lots. To get to the game, you walked a skybridge over the eight-lane state road. The walls and roof of the bridge were aluminum siding and did not stop the weather or the sound of the cars beneath you. Graffiti was rare.

Anyway, it wasn’t a matter of whether to Dead could draw–almost exactly a year before, they had played to 250,000 paying customers 40 miles up the road–but whether they’d be allowed to at all. The first rock concert at Giants Stadium had only been three months prior: Beach Boys, with Steve Miller opening. The support acts were Pablo Cruise and Stanky Brown, and if you’re wondering whether a character named Stanky Brown will soon be introduced to one timeline or the other: yes, he will. Luckily, the kids were all right and the Dead was permitted to choogle in the marshes.

The show’s the ’78 equivalent of the ’72 Academy of Music run: cash for the upcoming journey, but the Dead gave the kiddies their money’s worth. The New Riders played, and so did Willie Nelson. The band was in the shape it was in for the Egypt trip, but their bowels were most likely far more predictable than when they were actually on the Egypt trip. Everyone was a junkie except for Bobby and Phil (who was a drunk) and Billy’s wrist was broken. Still: the Scarlet>Fire is a hoot.




Just one question.


That rope on the right side of backstage, the one with the brightly-colored pennants?

“It’s load-bearing.”

That was my question.

“It’s actually load-bearing as shit. Kinda the linchpin to the whole stage.”


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