PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Port Chester will go psychedelic July 29 when a cross-country road trip straight out of 1964, full of hippies and Merry Pranksters, makes its first East Coast stop at Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre.
The “magic trip” has 42 stops from Oregon to Maine to Virginia, all made in a party bus with a paint job that would spin your head faster than Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, bought and painted the original “Furthur Bus” in 1964 for a cross-country trip to New York.
Now, 50 years later, the bus is on the road again and heading for Port Chester July 29. The band Cabinet will be performing that night at Garcia's, located at The Capitol.
“We think they’ll be the perfect band for something like this because it’s jam music and bluegrassy,” said Stefanie May, social media and marketing coordinator for The Capitol Theatre. “It’s a given that they would be the band to play.”
Cabinet has played Garcia’s opening for former Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh’s band, Phil Lesh & Friends. The Grateful Dead was one of several bands to immortalize the Furthur Bus’ 1964 trip in its song, “The Other One.”
“This legendary bus and its meaning and story is returning to a place that has so much meaning surrounding that whole era,” May said, referring to The Capitol Theatre. “If I were to talk to someone about The Capitol Theatre, I’d say every major ‘60s and ‘70s band played here. And the ‘60s is what the bus is all about.”
The Grateful Dead played The Capitol Theatre 18 times from 1970 to 1971 and lead guitarist Jerry Garcia has said, "See, there’s only two theaters, man… that are set up pretty groovy all around for music and for smooth stage changes, good lighting and all that – the Fillmore and The Capitol Theatre. And those are the only two in the whole country.”
Garcia was once married to a Merry Prankster named Mountain Girl, May said.
Like the originals in 1964, the new Merry Pranskters will film their trip, which will be complete with live FM broadcasting to make a rolling recording studio, according to the Furthur Bus Kickstarter page.
Garcia’s doors open at 6 p.m. for this free event and Cabinet goes on at 8 p.m., when May said she hopes the bus arrives. It will be coming from Ohio the previous day.