A Podiatrist's View of a Dead Show


I am on a plane returning home to Houston, TX from visiting Denver with my buddy Wayne to see The Dead perform. This is the latest incarnation of the Grateful Dead (Editorializing: It is ridiculous that all major tours don't come through Houston, the fourth largest city in the USA!). The show was amazing - worth the trip! But as has always been typical with the scene - The Dead, Phish, String Cheese Incident, etc - shoes are optional.

For the uninitiated, the pre-show parking lot scene is a big part of the experience. Thousands of people going through a traveling bazaar selling t-shirts, posters, jewelry, and more. Looking around, I'd say about 10% of those walking around were barefoot. As a podiatrist, I notice these things! I also notice the considerable amount of broken glass on the ground, as well as other hazards. Stepping on this would likely need immediate treatment, antibiotics, and a tetanus shot. Not to mention risking missing the show!

Once inside, the percentage of barefoot attendees increased. Dancing on the floor and in the seats of the arena on the hard concrete. Although the dangers from outside are less (but not entirely absent) you now have people in close quarters dancing to the music. Trust me, you don't want a 200 pound guy accidentally stepping down on your bare foot!

The concrete floors also provide a significant amount of shock when dancing. The force of your body weight on your feet is one thing, but the force coming up into your foot from the concrete is another. A rubber sole of any sort will help to moderate that shock.

I intend to be at many more concerts. I'm sure I'll notice the same things at the next one. Just be careful, take care so you can enjoy the show comfortably and safely.
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