The first & most simple disguise I assumed was for an Elvis Costello concert. I wore a tight-fitting, dark suit with pants that ended about six inches above my shoes; a very narrow tie; black, horn-rimmed glasses. This costume was so successful that several women thought I was a member of Mr. Costello’s band, resulting in an extended investigation at a motel near Red Bank, NJ.
The relative success of this excursion resulted in an attempt to infiltrate a Grateful Dead concert. Frankly, I was frightened by this assignment. I feared what would happen to me if “Deadheads” discovered I was not only an unbeliever, but an atheist. To know the “Dead” & still reject them is considered a grievous spiritual apostasy.
I bought a wig resembling Cher’s hair circa 1970. I also invested in an expensive tie dye shirt & stocked up on love beads at a hippie shop on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. I borrowed some bongo drums, bought a pair of sandals at K Mart, & tucked several clove cigarettes & a small scented candle into a small leather pouch. For complete acceptance into Dead parking lot van culture, I re-recorded a legitimate live Dead album using a cheap tape recorder, marking the cassette with the cryptic code, “7/7/77 Sandusky”.
Near the arena, I cautiously approached a group of “Deadheads” who were sitting in a Volkswagon van, scooping humus from a plastic container with their fingers. I repeated the phrase, “I need a miracle” over & over. One of that group, a man I later learned had the name, “Tripping Skippy,” asked if I had anything to trade, as he might have the miracle I was searching for. I showed him my bogus cassette tape.
“Man, that’s not cool,” he said sadly. “I happen to know that Jerry was laid up with a toothache in Marin on that date, & Bob Weir was scuba diving with his dolphin friends near Santa Catalina Island.” The Dead did play Sandusky, but not on the date I picked.
Although I failed to obtain a ticket to the concert, I did accept a large glass of herbal iced tea from the Deadheads & spent the remainder of the afternoon marveling at how the lines on my left hand formed a perfect map of Tibet. Also, an iguana can stare for a long time without blinking its eyes.
The benefit concert for college radio station WSOU at the Birch Hill Club did not work out so well. As instructed, I wore a combination of leather & denim clothing with no creative alterations. However, there must have been some mistake by committee < researchers in their characterization of the sponsoring institution as, “Roman Catholic”. First, I forgot my ear plugs. Then, I asked for a glass when I ordered a bottle of Budweiser, which attracted a great deal of attention. Finally, certain remarks I made to a female “DJ” were misinterpreted, resulting in my being thrown to the floor & receiving a terrible puncture wound in my thigh from a spiked shoe heel. Please find enclosed bill from Raritan Bay Medical Center Emergency Room.
Despite that experience, I did attend the Marilyn Manson appearance
at the 1997 Ozziefest. For the Manson show, I dyed my hair black, wore
black combat boots, very white makeup, black lipstick & a black dress.
I have having wonderful time until I jumped out of my seat, ran across
the field, was tackled by a State Trooper & taken to the security office,
where I was strip-searched by a police matron.
© Bob Rixon