Made the Road Trip over the weekend to the RR HOF in Cleveland and to see Tiger on display in Indianapolis.
!!! SPOILER ALERT !!!
This was my third trip to the Hall of Fame- the first time I went Tiger was among the Garcia guitars waiting to greet me in the lobby. This was the sight upon arrival:
No Garcia guitars in the free lobby this time- they were all up in the special exhibit display. I always forget that almost everything on display is on the "first" floor- as you go up there's very little until floors 5 and 6 where the special exhibit is. When you get to 5 there are some clothes (including Jerry's striped rainbow pants and Top Hat from the Haight days), Bill Graham's Father Time gown, some tape archive boxes, Dead Head stuff, and a video loop of an early 70's show out on a lawn- with Pig and full blown Courtenay Pollock tie dye grills! Another treat was the two audio boxes used for all the Hot Line messages back in pre-historic pre- Internet days (ahhh, the times we had with those boxes.. the anticipation of a fresh message!). A number of hand-written or typed lyric manuscripts (there was an early Truckin script in the main collection downstairs with some verses that never made it.)
Up the stairs to the top of the pyramid where all the 'quipment was. Rosebud, Bobby's Pepto and early Cowboy (the swimming pool area was pretty beat and gutted up), An early Phil Modulus (4-string?), Top Hat, Lightning Bolt, the white Bean with the red "Ass, Grass.." sticker. Two drum kits, a Space equipment stand. Pig's Hammond and another portable keyboard. A very few speaker cabs and touring crates. Three stacked Macs, one of them Bud Man. No Jerry rack or Twin. The equipment seemed meager to me, I was expecting more. Also cool up there was some of the original cover artwork- Live Dead, Tiger Rose, Egypt, all the Workingmans charcoals. They were all pretty big- like almost 3'x3'. If I could have slipped out with one thing it would have been the Live Dead artwork. All cool stuff, but for almost a 50 year span, just seemed like too little. There was a nice video loop on a big screen of later Grateful Dead shows.
Oh, I should mention- before you enter the special exhibit there's a small McIntosh display of current products and a sign saying that the Dead exhibit is sponsored by McIntosh.
On to Indy to see Tiger. The Irsay display is on a narrow "bridge" that connects two parts of the Indiana State Museum. The On the Road scroll is unwound the whole length of the bridge in one long display case. Very cool. On the other side of the aisle are a number of display cases with guitars, footballl stuff, letters penned by Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. Between the cases are large photo blow-ups of some of the guitars in use- including Jerry with Tiger.
In the first case is an old Keith Richards Silvertone, Tiger, and an Elvis Martin. Not too shabby company. Tiger looks good, although the lighting is a bit dim (maybe on purpose?) and there should be a mirror behind to allow seeing the vine. I was surprised (and happy) to see the obvious wood grain on the ebony peghead. It rarely shows up in photos- it usually looks jet black. My new Phiga Tiger has it and I was a bit surprised by it, but "that's the way it really is". I also looked for and saw the little chip out of the top at the edge of the pickup selector plate on the knob side. Never had noticed it before until I saw it in the Guitar World poster. The bridge was pitted, but it had been cleaned up- not much green corrosion. As expected, it was the white Tiger plate inlay (as it has been since it was retired), not the gold one. I spent a few hours just soaking it in, the place wasn't crowded. Makes you feel a little geeky when you're oogling one of the most interesting things in your world and people are walking by- "Cool guitar, hey look there's Peyton's jersey!"
Edit- just remembered- the middle pickup on Tiger was tipped so that the bridge coil was quite close to the strings and the neck coil was maybe 1/8" lower. Don't know if Jerry had it that way or if it's changed since- Waldo, do you remember it being that way when you had access to it? The other two pickups were flat. All toggles were "up" and selector was set for bridge (not typical Jerry settings).
Other guitars- George Harrison's SG and an acoustic 12-string, a few guitars given to Irsay from Stills, Petty, Springsteen, etc. There was also an eclectic case with a JFK cigar box, Python manuscript, and a few other interesting things that I forgot.
Tiger didn't pack the emotional wallop that it did the first time I saw it at the RRHOF, but then that was not too long after Jerry died and before the auction. Still very nice to visit and well worth the trip.
"Do not write so that you can be understood, write so that you cannot be misunderstood." -Epictetus
First show: 8/16/69 (Woodstock)
Last show: 3/19/95 (Unbroken Chain breakout)
Member of the Four-Decade Club
Charter Member, President & CEO of OAD (Order of the Ancient Deadheads)