Rocky start as promoter left him much to be Grateful for

“[In 1971 the Grateful Dead] tour stopped at Wallace Wade Stadium at Duke University….Eric Greenspan was the student responsible for booking the show, which included the Dead, the Beach Boys and the Butterfield Blues Band. It was his first large outdoor event, and he was ill prepared. The stage was low and had no roof, the security barricade was a rope and there were no trailers for dressing rooms. The weather forecast was for rain….

“[But] the sun was bright as the gig day dawned, and…  among other chores, Eric took [crew member Bill] Candelario to the store, where he bought 15 pairs of Converse sneakers, and swapped them around so that everyone had two colors….

“Although there were only 7,000 kids in a  50,000-seat stadium — there had been no advertising or off-campus sales — or perhaps because there were only 7,000 kids, it was a blissful day that established the Dead in North Carolina forever….”

— From “A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead” by Dennis McNally (2002)

“Working on the Grateful Dead’s farewell shows in Chicago, [entertainment lawyer] Greenspan’s career had come full circle — back to a show he promoted as a Duke University student…. ‘Everything in my career dates back to that,’ he says.”

— From “Music’s Most Powerful Attorneys: From Litigation to Performing Rights, Radio to General Counsel” (July 22, 2015)


Peeling and sticking with the Grateful Dead

Between 1971 at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium and 1995 at the Charlotte Coliseum, the Grateful Dead by one count played 27 shows in North Carolina. For at least 19 of these shows, peel-and-stick backstage passes (not to be confused with the laminated security passes issued to band members and crew) were distributed among friends, fans and camp followers.

Like so much Dead memorabilia these strikingly designed passes drew from an iconography developed over the decades. Here’s a long strange slideshow from a sampling of their North Carolina performances.