The telltale signs of nitrous oxide - the whoosing of tanks, the scattering of balloons - were clear for anyone to hear and see outside Nassau Coliseum, which hosted two Dead & Company concerts on November 5-6 in Uniondale, NY.
Nitrous has been commonly huffed outside Dead shows for decades. Before and after, dealers fill ballons with the gas that makes you lightheaded and sell them for $5 a piece. Deadheads are seen with two or three walking around the parking lot. It's a ritual that persists all these years after the Grateful Dead started playing live shows more than 50 years ago.
However, 16 nitrous dealers were eventually busted outside the arena with their tanks confiscated by police. Another 10 attendees were arrested for drug possession, including New York marijuana activist Todd Hinden, who was charged with with five felony counts of drug possession and intent to sell. Hinden was held at the Nassau Country Correctional Center until his $10,000 bond was paid on November 16.
A taper, Hinden attends most shows. He was at the November 5 show, but it's unclear if he ever entered the November 6 show.
A total of 26 people were arrested on drug charges during the two days Dead & Company appeared at one of their favorite venues. During the second night, a tie-dyed banner with the number 44 - the number of times the Dead have played the Coliseum - was raised during the set break.
Dead & Company's short fall tour ended on November 8-9 at Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA.
This article was posted on November 8. It was updated on November 16.