It's a wonder I found music. Neither of my parents were very passionate about it. My uncle was a teenager during the late sixties and exposed me to a lot of the music I have enjoyed throughout my life.
I got a cheap acoustic guitar from a great aunt of mine who listened when I said I wanted one around holiday time. Some time later, my sister and I got into a fight and she Pete Townshended it, separating the top piece of wood from the rest of the body around the bottom. If you could picture the damage, it may have been the first (and possible only) acoustic with a built in whammy bar.
My first Dead concert was 5/5/77. Was it any wonder that I got the bug? Prior to that, being that I was only 12 at that time, I had only ever seen Harry Chapin and Franki Valli (both with mom......and both really good concerts). At the time, I was very heavily into Yes and Alice Cooper. I remember that my friend and I had had tickets to see the group "Boston" who was playing at the coliseum the next night. We were trying to trade our tickets for Dead tickets (don't really recall why) and there were some dead heads who saw us as two young kids who didn't belong there, and tried to talk us out of it. Eventually, we found a taker.
From my lengthy concert going experience, I had known about warm-up bands.....so naturally, I assumed....
Mid-way through the first set, my friend and I looked at each other and said "This band's pretty good.....I wonder who they are." I tapped the shoulder of a young lady in front of me and posed just that question to her........with a long, cold stare she replied, "It's.....The Dead". "Thank you", I said, and my friend and I proceeded to relocate to the other side of the coliseum.
Fast forward to 12 years later. Brendon Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ. In the parking lot, a young lady in our group says, "I hope they play Iko Iko!". They open the show with Let The Good Times Roll->Iko Iko. About 5 songs later she asked me, "So, when do the Dead come out?" I put my arm around her and said, "Let me tell ya a story".