One night, while I was home for Christmas, my dad and I trooped down into the basement to watch a 2005 Bruce Springsteen show in Spain, which my dad had on DVD. It was kind of a cool moment, not just because the show was excellent (it was), but also because it was just neat to sit in the basement with my dad and share something that he thought was really cool. So we struck a deal: if I brought him to a Furthur show, he’d bring me to see Springsteen. Well, two weeks ago I upheld my half of the bargain. The Boy and I flew home to take dad to his very first Furthur show (by the way, this will mark the fourth time that I have actually gotten on a plane to see these bozos play, and the sixth time I have traveled more than a hundred miles).
Would this be my number one favorite Furthur show of all time? Musically speaking, no. As I’ve said before, that’s kind of the delightful and frustrating thing about this music: you never know when lightning will strike. But I will never forget how cool it was to have my dad with me at a show. Of all the people we have introduced to this music, and there have been several, no one was as openminded or sincerely invested as my father. He showed up genuinely excited to participate in this thing The Boy and I are always running off to do. I think this speaks to one of my favorite things about my dad: he has always taken my thoughts, my opinions, and my values seriously. This music is something I really care about, so he wanted to see what it was all about, and I love him for that.
During the set break, my dad turned to me and asked, “So which one of you was a deadhead first?” And I had to say, “Both of us.” The Boy and I fell in love listening to Furthur and the Grateful Dead; you could almost call it the third wheel of our relationship. The very first time we heard Furthur play, we were sitting in camp chairs at a music festival, both completely immobilized by awe and wonder. He told me he loved me for the first time that night. The band played at the same festival again the following year, and that was the night The Boy proposed. I’ve never gone to a show without him, and even though I love this music with all my heart on my own, I’m not sure that I could. So more than anything else, that was the coolest part about sharing this with my dad. With the wedding less than three months away, I got to invite him into my relationship a little, and show him this magical thing that The Boy and I care about together.
UPDATE: My heart goes out to Bob Weir, that magnificent weirdo, in his recovery. Please stay with us, I’m not ready to let go of this music just yet.
The image at top is the sweet poster from Furthur’s Capitol Theatre show on April 20th, which is now rolled up in my closet. Photo courtesy of Furthur.