As previously stated, the music is what brings me to shows. To hear live music played well, with a body of material that I enjoy, plus improvised and open ended stuff going on, keeps me coming back for more. It doesn't always work, but once in a while it works really well. The musicians bring new approaches and a sense of joy to the sound that still to this day works (IMHO) well.
For the most part, the 'scene' is what it is. I've been to a bunch of shows (that east coast location obviously helps) and understand Burt's concern about some of the 'stuff' that go on in the 'scene.' Their is a Pransker saying, stating "never trust a prankster." When talking about that expression, one of the Pranksters (I forget who) said that what was meant by this was that Pranksters were human and subject to human failings. People getting trashed, hurting themselves, trashing the environment, doing everything possible but listening to the music, etc does not serve as a model for what humanity is capable of. I have also seen positive loving compassionate understand and empathetic behavior exhibited at shows. Over the years I have learned to accept the good with the bad. I have no expectations that people who like this music will behave any better or worse then people who gather for other music, sports events or whatever. Once in a while you can get shown a light which reflects well on others, even Furthur fans. This is no excuse poor behavior, however...
This did turn into an interesting thread, so to the person who started it, here's hoping that you and your new cat are getting along, even though you might want to find a cooler name for him! At one point you stated that he is not even aware or could care less what you call him. One never knows!
Dave has a point about the body of work. We're very familiar with and look for the different ways its played. Furthur is sounding great these days, and the show in and of itself is well worth the price of admission.
I have to disagree with the second part. I do have a higher expectation of people at Dead related shows. I've seen it in the past, and it was very prevalent at RR. I behave differently at shows, I'm more polite and nicer to people than usual. I see most people there are the also, and its what I've come to expect. Its why I continue to go. For that matter, over time its made me nicer in daily life overall. Its what has make us Dead Heads, that unique group of people who behave the way they do.
I also expect to see things I don't really appreciate going on, just like my first show in 1982, all the tours, and currently. I looked past it then and that's become my standard. We all know its not perfect, and the band does too. We all still go, so it can't be that bad. Look at Phish tour for example, I didn't even go to the local show last year because of the scene.
As for the cat, well I claim he doesn't know his name or respond to any name, but I will tell you this...when I'm mad at him for making a mess or something and I call him using his full name including the middle names, Chester China Cat NYCDave Mushroom Man Zenobious Pigpen, he knows he's in trouble.
Cat's are very good at sensing human emotion. They know or sense when we are sick. I know this 'cause one time when I was babysitting a friends cat's, I came over after having a tooth extracted. My friends cats knew something was up. They came closer, and offered extra support, helping to soothe the pain. If they can figure all of that out, processing a name sounds easy.
As for being 'more polite and nicer to people during shows', the hope is that we can (if we so choose) extend this knowlede beyond shows. That we can (in theory) take what we learn (from behavior at shows) and extend this knowledge to our own day to day approach to others, beyond shows even.
In terms of 'have(ing) a higher expectation of people at 'Dead related shows', be careful (about expectations). They are kind of like assumptions. Remember (if you will) what Felix (of Felix and Oscar fame - see Odd Couple) said about assumptions. The point being, if we have 'expectation's' we open up the possibility of dissapointment. On the other hand, if people see 'kinder' behavior', we / they might just apply this knowledge to our / their own lives. One can (at least) hope this will happen. To 'expect' this to happen may just be asking for a bit much. Or so i've been told.