An acid flashback from 1976 co-starring the Grateful Dead and the Who and a cast of 40,000 and miscellaneous hallucinations

R. Crumb used to say: “My father’s generation told war stories. My generation told drug stories.” Ha ha. Here’s an acid flashback drug story from me that occurred to me today when I spotted this photo on the internet.

I had moved to California from New Jersey in 1976, age 19. My whole adult life ahead of me, just starting out on my own as young man in this crazy world of ours. And me and my sister and her boyfriend went to one of those big “Bill Graham Presents” Day On The Green concerts at the Oakland Colesium (home of the Oakland A’s and the Oakland Raiders). And the double-bill was the Who and the Grateful Dead. And this was like my Welcome To California party. So it had deep personal meaning to me at the time. California — the Golden State — unfolding to me in all its glory. And California was really happening back then. Unlike today. 44 years later. Sigh. I had moved to California to escape from my sordid New Jersey past. And now I was starting over. Making a new life for myself.

Anyways. We dropped acid for the show. Me, my sister, and her boyfriend. So we’re tripping balls as the Dead started one of their endless groovy cosmic jams. And some people thought it was an odd double-bill — the mellow good vibe Grateful Dead and the aggro aggressive Who. But I had records from both bands in my record collection. And I bet a lot of the 40,000 people in the audience liked both bands too.

So anyways, at the peak of my acid trip — when I’m really out there in this Other Realm — this woman, this total stranger, suddenly appears in front of my face and points her finger at my face and says: “You’re Peter Labriola! And you’re Kathy Labriola! And you’re Eric Svahn!” And then disappeared into the crowd.

I was stunned. I wondered at the time if I had hallucinated the whole thing. Because I had just moved to California and nobody in the entire west coast knew who I was. So I was completely mystified by how this vision had manifested out of nowhere (the mind-boggling LSD effect adding to my mystification).

Later I found out it was Jo Adell, who was in my high school class in New Jersey, class of ’74. And she had also travelled 3,000 miles to go to that Dead/Who show.

The moral of the story? You can’t get away from your past. No matter how many miles you travel and how many drugs you take.

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