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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Scarlet Begonias

During the last few days of May I mentioned to Mimi that I would love to see the Grateful Dead play in the sphere in Las Vegas. Mimi smiled and said they were playing there now for around 20 nights. I had heard from friends who had gone there for the U2  show that it was mind blowing and probably the beginning of something new. Mimi and I were ready to get out of town and have our minds blown. We looked at the calendar and it didn’t look like we had any windows that would allow for enough days to make it worth it. We like to go for two or three nights with Dead, it all just makes more sense that way. 10 minutes later Mimi had a big smile on her face, I’ve seen this particular smile before, uh oh, what happened?

She told me that we were leaving the day after tomorrow, flying out on Friday morning, going to the show Friday night and flying home Saturday morning and happy Father’s Day! I secretly wondered if we even needed a hotel at all. Sometimes we stay up late the night of a dead show catching up with old friends and having a good time. She nipped that fantasy in the bud by telling me next that the flights and the hotel had been booked. All I had to do was to be prepared to wake up at 4 am for a 7am flight out of Jackson on Friday. Best Father’s Day gift ever. We are in the middle of some big stuff going on in our work world and our home world, this is the only way to go do something special like this, get Trucking’All the doo dah day. I kept trying to make it difficult as if we were going away for a good length of time. I was thinking about tweeking my irrigation system, watering up the plants extra heavy and all that stuff you do right before you leave to go out of town. Mimi had to keep reminding me that we were coming home tomorrow. We packed so light it made us laugh. Clothes to fly there and back in, clothes for the show, toothbrushes and a couple of apples, we were hustling to get to the Jackson airport excited. We had not seen them play for a while and the sneaking out of town under then radar was extra fun. We got stuffed into a sardine can on our flight to Atlanta and then got in some tiny little seats that the seat backs seemed to curve the wrong direction for about 4 hours. Flying ain’t what it’s used to be.

Luckily we bumped into no hitches or hiccups with the weather or doors flying off the plane in mid flight, just a good ole fashioned stuffed full airplane. We had a few hours before the show to settle in and take some Uber rides to get provisions. We were certain that we had made the right decision to get on out of there the next day, there was nothing in Vegas for us. My legs got tired just thinking about walking around that place searching for nothing.We did get to see their landscapes while riding around. They have very little water accessible for watering plants. It was 104 degrees on May 31st. You can imagine what a landscape in those conditions would look like. I would love to use the words “minimalist “ or “simplistic” but that would be too kind. The true words would be “barren” or “untended”. I expected Wiley Coyote to be slingshotting an anvil at the Road Runner right outside the Belagio Hotel. The buildings were nice, weird, but nice, the plants around town are generally on their own except in the courtyards of some of the big hotels that negotiated for enough water to keep the plants looking respectable. This place just isn’t our thing, but the Sphere definitely is. Gotta give a little, take a little.We decided to leave the hotel for the show pretty early so we could get near the Dead show scene to see what was happening and to have plenty time to tour the sphere and find some sphere food so we could find our seats for show time.

Mimi’s found some great seats right in the middle, the perfect place to sit to take in the kaleidoscope visuals coming at you. We found some great street tacos, found our seats and met our neighbors for the night. Sometimes concert neighbors can make or break your night. There are some who sing every word at the top of their lungs or need extra space for dancing, like in my space. We got lucky and got in a crowd of fun Dead heads that knew how to act. The music was great as always but the visuals of the sphere are incredible. It would be hard for me to describe just the vastness of it, it’s the first of its kind and I believe it will be the new way to watch music. It makes I-Max look like a phone screen and they have added so many new features. At one point early in the show we start out looking out of Jerry Garcia window on Haight-Ashburry street in San Francisco, the camera comes out to the neighborhood, the city, the state , the country, the planet and out into space for a twenty minute ride of craziness, all you can do is laugh it’s so unbelievable. 4 hours later we wind up back in space untill we catch a glimpse of planet Earth while we slowly approach Earth, the U.S., San Fran and back into the window of the house where the band had it’s beginnings in the 60’s, such a fun night. We made it back to the hotel with enough time to catch a few hours sleep then back to the airport for our sardine like flight home. We are excited about getting home today and waking up at our house Sunday with a few day to stretch it out and recover. We will probably feel like getting our bodies moving a little bit in the yard to work out the stiffness.

I know I’m not describing the scene in the Sphere with any justice, you can see the videos from other people at these shows who had their minds blown and posted them on You Tube for all to enjoy. Now that we’ve had a practice run we are ready for our next journey at the end of June to see Goose play in Atlanta on the way to see our daughter, Mia in South Carolina, then we will be pros for the end of July for Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Denver then Ziggy Marley, Sublime and Stick Figure. Try them out if you don’t know them, you just might like them. I hope you are finding some escape to whatever it is that makes your day, sometimes it takes a little effort to get what you want since it’s usually worth it. You know what they say… “You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need.”

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