Deer Creek Disaster

Grateful Dead

Deer Creek - Noblesville, IN

July 2, 1995

First Appeared in The Music Box, August 1995, Volume 2, #7

Written by John Metzger


And yet another venue is gone. Why? It was complete and total insanity. So many people showed up for the show that it took longer to drive the last five miles to the parking lot than it did to get from Chicago to Indianapolis. It literally took us four hours to drive five miles!

Once we got the car situated in the lot, we fought our way through masses of ticketless folks to the first checkpoint. By the time we hit the gate and final checkpoint to the theater, the gates were so backed up that people began to panic since it was well past 7 p.m. Fortunately, things remained somewhat calm, and we made it safely into the show.

The Grateful Dead must have been in touch with what was going on because they held off on starting the show and thank goodness we didn't miss a thing. A solid Here Comes Sunshine opened with tight and strong vocals. Jerry Garcia also served up a solid Dire Wolf and a tasty Tennessee Jed. Phil Lesh was also right on target with an amazingly strong vocal performance on Broken Arrow.

The insanity returned about midway through an all-too-rare Desolation Row that Bob Weir just nailed. However, the crowd began cheering and paying more attention to the thousands of people pouring over the back fences, tearing holes on their way through. It was stupid, and authorities had every right to tear gas and club the assholes throwing rocks and bottles in the lot below. To help us escape the craziness, at least for a moment, Weir closed out the set with a rock-solid Let It Grow that sent us on a journey through the corn fields of the midwest.

After a long break, the band returned, but chose to keep the pavilion lights on for the remainder of the show. It was a bit of a distraction, and limited the screens somewhat, but it was necessary. A quick Scarlet Begonias led into a very long Fire on the Mountain. The pairing was nearly 25 minutes in length, but the last few verses of Fire were never sung. It was all jam!

Another solid Victim led it's way into Vince Welnick's latest cover tune It's All Too Much. While both tunes were strong, they paled in comparison to the versions at Auburn Hills and ended rather abruptly. Another strong Garcia performance, New Speedway Boogie left us dancing our way into drums, but faded all too quickly with Garcia chanting, "This Darkness got to give." The band was obviously distracted by the idiots who crashed the gates.

Drums and Space were solid. Space was quiet and mellow something we badly needed and led into a very pretty Attics of My Life. Weir's Sugar Magnolia got us dancin' again in a version similar to that at Auburn Hills, with the rock star prancing across the front of the stage. Mighty Quinn was the encore, giving the band plenty of time to escape before the roads filled with fans.

This was really a good, solid show, but unfortunately it was overshadowed by the idiots who insisted on getting inside without tickets. Why? I don't know. You can hear amazingly well just outside the theater, and there is plenty of room out there for dancing.

After witnessing this, I fear for the future of summer tour. Gates were crashed at Highgate, a scuffle broke out in Albany, and now this at Deer Creek. Later in the week, several people died of drug overdoses in St. Louis. What's going on? The Grateful Dead have never had to cancel a show before because of the fans. Now that is no longer true.

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Copyright 1995 The Music Box