The Surprising Thing They're Telling Security Personnel at the Grateful Dead Farewell Shows This Weekend
The Grateful Dead (minus Jerry Garcia, of course) are playing their farewell shows in Chicago this weekend. Tens of thousands of Deadheads are expected to fill Soldier Field over the three-night run.
The iconic jam band's shows have long been legendary not only for the music, but also for the rampant use of psychedelics by attendees, some of whom never actually make into the show itself. These shows will likely be no exception.
Not to worry this time around, though. Security has this covered. According to the music website Live For Live Music, security personnel working the shows have been given a flyer alerting them that they may well run across people taking LSD, or "acid" in hipster lingo.
"LSD is a mind-altering chemical, also known as an hallucinogen," the flyer helpfully explains. "LSD produces a change in the user's sense of reality, thought patterns, and perceptions. You cannot predict the type of experience a guest under the influence of LSD will have."
Users "may 'see' images, 'hear' sounds, and 'feel' sensations that do not actually exist," the flyer elaborates. "These effects can be pleasurable, frightening, disorienting, and/or disturbing."
People "high" on acid may harmlessly trance out, dance, spin, and wave their hands around, but they may also have a "bad trip" and be "combative," have "poor judgement," or even "act on their enhanced sexuality" by getting naked or something.
"DO NOT MAKE CONTACT WITH THESE GUESTS!" the flyer warns security personnel about people having an "upsetting experience." Leave it instead to medical personnel, the flyer says.
And don't touch them! "LSD CAN BE ABSORBED THROUGH SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT. DO NOT TOUCH ANY GUESTS SUSPECTED OF BEING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF LSD. (Gloves are available in the uniform room.)
And, oddly enough, the flyer instructs security not to refer to people as "tripping," but as having "IPR (Intense Psychedelic Response).
It's easy to poke a little fun at the flyer with its hokey wording and 1967 Readers' Digest feel, but it's actually a well-intentioned effort at harm reduction. And it is aimed at security guards, who may not be the most aware of drugs popular with the Deadhead set.
The flyer is produced by Rock Medicine, which has been staffing medical tents at concerts for more than 40 years and says it is "setting the standard in non-judgmental event medicine." Those are the folks security guards are supposed to call when confronted by IPRing fans unhinged by the music.
"Take care of the individual right now. Return him or her to their friends or family and do away with the necessity of either hospitalizing the individual or getting involved with the law,Rock Medicine founder and former director Dr. George R. "Skip" Gay says prominently on the website.
Appropriately enough, Rock Medicine got its start when legendary San Francisco rock promoter Bill Graham asked the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic to staff its outdoor Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin concerts in 1972. Dr. Gay formalized it as Rock Medicine the following year.
And now they're there at the last Dead shows ever. What a long, strange trip it's been.