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The Mothership: All the Years Combined

The Mothership: All the Years Combined

“There’s a band out on the highway – and they’re high stepping into town…”
                                                                                                                           -Grateful Dead

The Band:  The Grateful Dead.
The Highway:  Interstate 64.
The Town:  Hampton, Virginia.

Hampton Coliseum, for Deadheads who have ventured along the Mid-Atlantic's Golden Road in Virginia, is the place where magic happens.

From 1968 to 1992, six cities and multiple venues along the 177-mile stretch of I-64 from Virginia Beach To Charlottesville, Virginia hosted the band beyond description.  The Virginia Beach Civic Center (The Dome) 68, Norfolk Scope 82, Williamsburg’s William and Mary Hall in the mid-70s, Richmond’s Mosque in 77 and Coliseum in the mid 80s, and Charlottesville’s University Hall in 82 all hosted shows, each of which appear in the geographically accurate background of this work.  More  often than not, these shows reinforced the well-known axiom coined by Willy Legate that “There is 
Nothing like a Grateful Dead Concert.” 


And then, there is the crown jewel of the I-64 venues…the Hampton Coliseum.  

When things can be referenced by a single word, they have broken through.  When you say “Hampton”…deadheads understand.  Sometimes monikers are earned and become legendary.  Such is the case with the Hampton Coliseum:  The Mothership.


The Hampton Coliseum’s role as “The Mothership” was first observed in John Colt’s Virginia-Pilot newspaper review of the Grateful Dead’s 1981 visit to the building.  When Colt wrote, “The Coliseum in that garish light looked like an intergalactic Mothership loaded with 14,000 lunatics headed for the edge of the universe,” it was as if he smashed a bottle of interstellar champagne against it, christening it a ship of singular worthiness, that the band and their fans would repeatedly board for liftoff over the next decade. 

Artist, Una Toibin, attended all of the Grateful Dead’s stops on I-64 from 1982 to 1992 and she first stepped foot into the Hampton Coliseum in 1983. Throughout the 1980s, it was usually the coming of spring that brought the band back to Hampton, with the exception of one unforgettable weekend in October of 1989.  They would bring with them their timeless tales and those reoccurring moments of a lifetime that are somehow unique to the Grateful Dead.  

This work celebrates those years. Una Toibin’s imagery calls to mind many of the songs in which those moments, both immediate and eternal, became etched into our personal and collective  memory.  This is an illustration from our communal book of love’s own dream. 


This work it is dedicated:
To those we still have and those we have lost. 
To those who were there and to those who are still there in spirit. 
To those who still look for direction and those who seek inspiration.  
To those who by the silver stream sleep, where rivers roll on and willows do weep. 
To those who play in gold-hearted bands and to those who still ask 
shall we go while we can?   
To those who once more, will make rusty strings shine and to all those who 
wonder what happened to time… 
To those who the wind has blown safely home… 
and especially to hearts who hear songs of their own. 

-Brian Toibin



These archival laser prints are 18 x24, on 100 lb. matte stock, signed and numbered as a run of 350.


Nestled throughout the illustration you will find 53 song references, some obvious while others  more obscure. Many of the songs, as an observant eye will note, are shown with a year they were played, whether that year was either personal to me or otherwise known to have been an exceptional version (see below for list).  


~Enjoy, in joy.



Songs included:


  • Scarlet Begonias

  • Lost Sailor

  • Saint of Circumstance

  • Music Never Stopped

  • US Blues

  • Mississippi Half-Step

  • Cassidy

  • Franklins Tower

  • Ship of Fools

  • Loser

  • Dark Star

  • Throwing Stones

  • Jack Straw

  • China Cat Sunflower

  • Lazy Lightning 

  • Space

  • Terrapin

  • Uncle John’s Band

  • Fire on the Mountain

  • The Other One

  • The Wheel

  • Help on the Way

  • Estimated Prophet

  • Eyes of the World

  • I Know Your Rider

  • Promised Land

  • Tons of Steel

  • Bertha

  • Roadrunner

  • Brokedown Palace

  • Let it Grow

  • Sugar Magnolia

  • Slipknot

  • Cold Rain and Snow

  • To Lay Me Down

  • Box of Rain

  • Must Have Been the Roses

  • Morning Dew

  • Attics of My Life

  • Bid you Goodnight

  • Little Red Rooster

  • Brown Eyed-Women

  • Dire Wolf

  • Not Fade Away

  • He’s Gone

  • Passenger

  • Crazy Fingers

  • Turn on Your Lovelight

  • Ramble on Rose

  • Stella Blue

  • Playing in the Band

  • I Need a Miracle

  • So Many Roads

  • **Little Star 


  • Medium:

    Adobe Photohop


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