By Sarah Preston Gorenstein for the Orbitz Travel Blog
You mail-ordered your commemorative "Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead" tickets. (You... um... got DEE-nied.) You waited online for hours, and hours, trying to order them through Ticketmaster. (Denied again.)
But somehow -- some way -- you're going to Chicago for the Dead shows at Soldier Field July 3, 4 and 5. After all, it's been 20 years since the surviving members -- Mickey Hart, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzman -- played together as THE Grateful Dead, since Jerry Garcia's untimely passing in 1995. And this time, they'll be on stage with Phish's Trey Anastasio, as well as Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. So you'll be there too obv, because let's face it: Jerry would want it that way.
Here's some help getting back into the hippie groove scene this Fourth of July in Chicago, which is the top U.S. destination for the holiday weekend. In case you forgot your 'head code, just don't say or do any of these 15 things.
1. This is my first Dead show!
That's adorable. But if this is, in fact, your first Dead show, and you scored a coveted ticket, we strongly urge you to keep that bit of info to yourself.
2. I hope they play "Truckin'."
No, you don't. You want them to play "Terrapin Station," "Dire Wolf," "Althea, "Dark Star," "Scarlet Begonias," and okay maybe a "Shakedown Street." On second thought, you'll take what you can get.
3. Who's got my miracle?
Honey, this is not the '80s. We're grown-ups now, and we pay for things. There were over 300,000 ticket requests through mail order alone, only about 20 percent were actually honored, so don't come to Soldier Field expecting to get miracle'd. Pony up, like the rest of us.
4. That's okay; I don't need a ticket. I'll just sneak into Soldier Field.
We have two words for you: Deer Creek. 1995. Gate crashing. Okay, that's five words.
5. Trey's a better guitarist than Jerry ever was.
Let's not do this. But if you really feel that way, Phish Phan, you best not bring that attitude to Soldier Field. Did we mention this is where Jerry played his last show in 1995? You're treading on sacred ground.
6. Where can I get a balloon?
Balloons became the source of serious controversy among card-carrying hippies. This is otherwise known as hippie crack, and nitrous oxide kills brain cells. And you're an adult now. Stay. Away. From. Balloons. In. The. Lot.
7. Hey, you're in my seat!
True Deadheads know that actual seat assignments don't really matter; once you're in the stadium, we're all family. Be kind to your fellow hippies, and let them pick grapes where ever they're feeling the groove.
8. I've seen the Dead at Furthur, how is this any different?
If you don't understand why this is different and special--It's the band's 50th anniversary! It's been 20 years since they played their last shows at Soldier Field!--then we recommend watching the shows streamed live on YouTube or at the Park West. You'll see the difference.
9. Where can I get those awesome Limited Edition Grateful Dead Crocs?GDTS TOO (Grateful Dead promotions) is merchandising the heck out of these reunion shows. Among the well-worn Birks you'll see kicking up dirt in the parking lot at Soldier Field, you'll also see Dancing Bears-adorned Crocs. They're actually kind of cute, in that I'm-a-grown-up-now kind of way. (But don't ask about them.)
10. Does Chicago have any homeopathic stores?
The famous German Merz Apothocary in Lincoln Square has been ground zero for homeopathic and natural healthcare products for over 140 years. Next door at Q Brothers they also carry an impressive selection of men's products (including pomade for your beard). And, no joke, thyme and lemongrass pit paste (you heard that right). And you'll probably need it.
11. Chicago doesn't have any good vegetarian or vegan restaurants, does it?
12. Is there a beach I can rinse off at, in between shows?
Chicago has no less than 24 beaches in the city. You can head to the Museum Campus, near Soldier Field, to cool off in Lake Michigan. Or if you want to venture north, Montrose Beach has a longstanding reputation with its hippies. Bring your dog for a swim, too, or just bury your barking dogs in the sand--you'll be amongst your people.
13. Can I crash on your couch, dude?
That goes without saying, man. If you know anyone who lives in the Chicagoland area--or anyone's cousin for that matter -- you don't even need to ask. But in case you want a more comfortable place to sleep and shower (or just sleep), these hotels are still available.
14. I didn't get tickets to the show. Is there anything else going on?
Is there anything not going on in Chicago, is a better question. Everyone from Terrapin Flyer at Martyrs' and Dark Star Orchestra at the Vic, to Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and Robert Randolph at Concord Music Hall, plus so many more great jam bands playing Grateful Dead and Phish tributes are in town. Here's the complete pre- and post-party lineup, with ticket info.
15. Ew, what's that pungent smell?
It's patchouli oil, a.k.a. hippie perfume. Mixed with a couple of other smells. It's going to be a long three days, you'll get used to it.
Have a great show!