Dead Air Celebrates 15 Years on KLCC

Hosted by Downtown Deb
with music by The Great All Merge
Free cake, Dead giveaways, Grateful Dead videos, and fun, fun, fun.
Thanks for coming! Let's do it again!

Dead Air Party
Review by Jeff Harrison
May 12, 2006

{1}Well, the years go by, and to some extent they indeed do melt into a dream -- but those periodic Dead Air birthdays sure do stand out as great moments along the golden road! Once again the faithful -- -decked out in their best old T-shirts -- gathered to celebrate the music of the Grateful Dead and our dear purveyor of said music over the KLCC airwaves, Downtown Deb.

What a beautiful evening May 12 turned out to be. The wide-open door at Cozmic Pizza made it feel like we were dancin' in the streets, as folks wandered in and out all evening long. The bubble guy outside kept floating his 5-foot bubbles out over the scene, adding one of the many layers of fun -- sorta like at a Dead show! Lots of people walked to the party, filling the sidewalks with smiling faces knowing they were headed for a good time.

Inside, great thanks to good ol' Sweet Life and servers Gayle and Shirley, the cake was flowing. And the crowds were milling. Friends were hugging. Kids were running around laughing. Video was rolling (an '89 show, I think). Around 8:00 p.m. Deb got up on stage and thanked the crowd for showing up and for supporting Dead Air all these years. She had a "Close Encounters" moment: when the guy sees the Mother Ship come down he says, "This means something"; Deb epiphanically observed that "THIS means something: this community, these friends, this music and the connections we have to it and through it." Yeah! We're all connected to the Mother Ship!

For many people, this was the first time they'd placed a face with the beloved Saturday night voice. One fellow was overheard saying to Deb as she left the stage, "I always thought you were a blond!" Many fans had their pictures made -- or took pictures of their children -- with Deb. What a wonderful chance to make connections, and keep the Dead family strong!

The Great All Merge, a local band, got the crowd dancing to Dead covers; they started out with a rousing "Golden Road" and then worked acoustically through the songs of Workingman's Dead. Later they busted out some electric Shakedown (Deb's song!), Terrapin Station, and others.

Also pleasing the crowd were some Dead Give-aways! Happy folks won copies of various Dick's Picks, Garcia albums, Dead Air mugs and T-shirts, and concert DVD's. Talk about good times!

Fifteen years of Dead Air on KLCC were well worth celebrating, and the Dead Heads of this community came out and did it right. This community is not only large in numbers, but in geography: some came from Yachats, Bend, Salem, and even Portland for the event. As the band always said, it's a two-way street: the fans need the band and the band needs the fans -- together we made the music. And this party showed how much that ethic is still alive in Dead-dom. Though we couldn't have done it without them all those years, it was our party all along -- and it still is. The band might have packed and gone, but we're still dancing.