Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dead Heads Prove to Be Neighborly

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dead Heads Prove to Be Neighborly

Article excerpt

Alberta Ochs became concerned when she saw hundreds of strange-looking people in even stranger-looking vehicles camping in a field across from her Chesterfield subdivision.

"I called my daughter in Kansas," said Ochs. "She said, `Mom, they're just Dead Heads. They won't hurt anybody.' "

The Grateful Dead is in town for sold-out concerts Tuesday and tonight at the Riverport Amphitheatre.

John Parker, of Imperial, Mo., was at the concert Tuesday and said he took off today so he could go back again tonight.

"The real variable at Dead concerts is how Jerry sounds," he said, referring to guitarist Jerry Garcia. "Tonight, Jerry sounds good." Parker said he hadn't heard the Dead play since 1987.

Charlie Spoonhour, coach of the St. Louis University Billikens basketball team, said he had never heard the band before, but he was having a great time.

"I like this," he said. "I like them better now that I've heard them." Spoonhour and his wife, Vicki, were up dancing and whirling with the rest of the crowd.

One concert-goer described the scene as "windmills run amok."

Maryland Heights police said late Tuesday that six fans who ran amok in another direction were arrested. The officer would not say why. He also said that some fans had been evicted, but he didn't know how many.

A group of fans from California - Kari, Jeff, Sophie and Aggie - danced on the lawn throughout the first set of nine songs. They said that Tuesday's was the 22nd Dead concert they had been to since May.

So it has always been - where the venerable rock band goes, so go their legions of fearless followers.

No ticket, no problem, say the faithful. A miracle might get them in. If not, they party outside amid the good vibes.

After being reassured by their daughter, Alberta Ochs and her husband, Lilburn Ochs, 81, went where their neighbors feared to tred. They strolled through the encampment on Creve Coeur Mill Road.

"They have dogs and children, they sell food - they're really cute," Alberta Ochs said late Tuesday morning.

The Mangiamelis - Barbara and John - brought their camera to record the colorful parade entering the field Tuesday across from their home in Old Farm Estates.

Barbara Mangiameli read off the license plates: Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma . . . .

"What's with the peace signs? They're still doing peace signs?" she said. "I don't believe the garb on those guys. That's really going back in time. They must have all the clothes I threw out."

Barbara Mangiameli was looking at Douglas Seaton, a k a Trash Captain - "I try and keep things clean" - and his friend, Jasper Moondancer, who were standing near the entrance. The captain wore the Dead Head uniform of patched jeans, tie-dyed shirt, Guatemalan tam and a perpetual smile.

The Captain, Moondancer said, is "the oldest Dead Head. He's been doing this for 25 years. …

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