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...the Road to Bethel
July 9, 2006

"This is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago"

In what certainly seemed like a dream, the road to Bethel was a glorious one. When one arrives, the dream comes into consciousness and it is apparent you are on sacred grounds.

This ever evolving dream of peace and love, dreamed in generations past and future is still alive today. It can still be seen and felt in the lush green trees and rolling hills of upstate New York and on the road to Bethel Woods. The feeling of Community and Spirit is also invoked by the thriving Hasidic Jewish community around the surrounding area.

While driving these quiet lush country roads, we pondered the cosmicity of this venue and this day - July 9, 2006.

The date marked 11 years since the last Grateful Dead show at Soldiers Field in Chicago.

And on this particular day in 2006 - the moon was near Full.

Now this had the Rider checking the 13 Moon Calendar.

As synchronicity would have it, I found out it was Yellow Planetary Human.

This is Day 13 of the 28 day month, of the 13th and final Month - Cosmic Moon, in the Year of the Yellow Cosmic Seed. And on top of that: a Galactic Activation Portal Day!

Yellow Planetary Human
I Perfect in order to Influence
Producing Wisdom
I seal the Process of Free Will
With the Planetary tone of Manifestation
I am guided by the power of Universal Fire
I am a galactic activation portal - - enter me

* * *

And this was what the music would deliver: Planetary Humans in cosmic union, hearing the music piped through the Group Mind. Wisdom. Manifestation. Universal Fire. ACTIVATION!

OK, OK, so now we know there's some cosmic power happening, and Phil and all of his Phriends were going to activate things, so let's turn our attention to the venue.

A brand new state-of-the-art amphitheatre built on the grounds of the original Summer of Love 1969 Woodstock event. Kudos to the Family that has launched this new masterpiece, for it is truly one of the finest venues in the country. The venue grounds include structures which seem as sacred temples, laid out in a Garden of Eden. The sound, the endless views, the tasty food and beverages, the incredibly KIND staff, the bathrooms, and oh yeah, the VIBE! This was only the 3rd concert here at the new Bethel Woods venue and Phil the first of the original 60's pioneers to return to play here.

The Duo and GRAB kicked off things with GRAB busting a nice Uncle Albert / Hands Across the Water. Trey invoked the Woodstock Spirit when he did his best Hendrix impression - with an implied - lighting his guitar on fire and then played a few notes of Star Spangled Banner.

"Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart"

When Phil and Friends hit the stage with a blistering SHAKEDOWN STREET the Vista Cruiser was already firing! This blasted into a slamming country hoedown CUMBERLAND BLUES - and we answered the question, "I don't know now if I'm going back again". The answer was a resounding YES! Back again at BETHEL for PHILSTOCK 2006!

One of the cosmic themes of the day rang true (Universal Fire), as Larry howled a scorching THIS WHEEL'S ON FIRE. Another nod to the area and to the past as THE BAND was no stranger here. You could now feel the energy in the air and see that "phamiliar" look on everyone's faces - it was apparent that the CANDYMAN was in town again! After a near meltdown, we were pulled into a dancing frenzy with a walloping I KNOW YOU RIDER. Once more, I welcomed the namesake of this intermittent publication like phamily. Surrounded by Spinners, after all of the years - somehow this version was among the best.

At set break, we caught our breath and realized we were in for a special second set.

The music had that instant cohesiveness and connectedness with Phil pumping out the Sacred Sound. Phil was in rare form, more on a roll, since the Inauguration of the Oral History project at Jones beach. In a sense, this is where the proverbial Road to Bethel began…

As Phil asked us the questions: "Why do the Sixties remain so devilishly fascinating to us today? Is it the sense of an opportunity lost, or a vision brought to life? For our elders, is it nostalgia for a golden age?"

And citing Allen Cohen: "Peace and love weren't just slogans but states of mind and experiences that we were living and bearing witness to. Living in harmony with the earth was an ideal that we felt and perceived as real experience."

Phil served as moderator for a community discussion panel discussing these concepts. He also asked the phans to share their magical or synchronistic experiences. Kudos to Phil for his quest to activate and ignite concepts of peace and love. Perhaps the Golden Age has not yet arrived? As Phil said, "..if we want our species to survive the next century without self-destructing..", well then we best together reach for the golden ring before it's too late.

Phil's set at Jones Beach was thick with allusions of the day's earlier discussions and themes. Phil experimented with some Chance Music with a dubious but slamming OTHER ONE and an experimental STELLA BLUE. Phil ended the show with the message, "No our love will NOT FADE AWAY" and US BLUES, reminding us that LOVE can prevail through these trying times.

Off and away leaving Jones beach behind us, the Road to Bethel included a brief stop at Darien Lakes where Phil dropped one of this tour's only UNBROKEN CHAINs.

"Come hear Uncle John's Band, playing to the tide
Come with me or go alone - He's come to take his children home…"

The moon rose brightly over the stage and Set Two opened with a feverish UNCLE JOHNS BAND, serving to take us home. With the help of Trey and phriends, what ensued after UJB was Phil and Friend's PAY DIRT - a replaying of the original Grateful Dead Woodstock set:


It was clear the Activation Portal was open and the Spirit played the Band. By the time the set ended, our lovelights were turned on bright and indeed did shine, shine, shine.

When the band returned to the stage, Phil's DONOR WRAP sounded like some futuristic language of LOVE. There was a buzz in the air as we anticipated a special encore.

Phil did not disappoint and delivered a triple encore, memorializing JERRY, VINCE, and the last Dead show with HE'S GONE -> TOUCH OF GREY -> BOX OF RAIN.

The Road to Bethel ended with this spectacular show. The Group Mind was in full activation. The collective consciousness, feeling of love and peace, enlightenment, synchronicity, and the 60's Spirit were once again MANIFESTED by Phil and Phamily.

Thanks Phil. For keeping it alive. We'll gladly phollow you down that Road any day.

Much Love,
Rolling Rider

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Rolling Rider Rolls Florida - 6.24.06

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