Most English summers are unremarkable. The sun shines more often than the winter time, temperatures don’t rise much above the low 20’s as a general rule, but rain is never far away. Thus, the favourite pastime during an English summer is to complain about the summer weather, one way or another.
However, every once in a while the meteorological aspects are in our favour and we get a hot one. Day that is – not summer. On such days I down tools, close my workshop door with aplomb, spread a comfy mat out on the grass, pour myself a cold beer, and plug my headphones into the only Dead show that will do it for me right now – 27th August 1972, County Fair Ground, Veneta, Oregon. The Grateful Dead played a benefit concert for the Springfield Creamery that day.
I close my eyes, lay back and just as the sun beats down on my pallid skin, in a few majestic moments my head is there.
It was hot that day in Oregon. Hot, damn hot. Hotter than a rattlesnake in a wagon rut. 20,ooo people turned up waving tickets printed on Nancy’s Yoghurt labels.
The show features regular announcements about water supplies, taking care in the sun and so on. The band played under little shade. Guitars must have warped before their very eyes. The whole event was captured on film using a number of cameras and is an unreleased feature now known as “Sunshine Daydream”. (Come on Rhino (Records) – get your act together. Tart this up and release it properly. )
Enjoy, for a moment, a sequence from that day. See if you can watch it without wincing at the thought of all that sunburn. Caution: there are lots of bare chests of both sexes.
The clip is 15 minutes long but if you have fifteen minutes to kick back and rest your head in sunshine and music then it’s fun. It must have been one helluva day.