Sunshine Daydream is a story about Deadheads. As such, the music The Grateful Dead is very important to the story. In direct contrast to most musicians, The Dead have always allowed anyone who wanted to, to record their live shows. As a result there are literally tens of thousands of copies of entire concerts available.
I spent the vast majority of the time I worked on this book with live shows playing in the background. This was especially important to the scenes where Bailey and Teague are at shows. I wanted to convey exactly what it would have been like to be at that show, therefore the fictional events in the book are directly related to the music that the Dead actually played on a specific night. A great example is Deer Creek, July 18, 1990. What Bailey and Teague experience in Chapter 39 could not have happened at any other show.
Back in the day, the only way to get copies of shows was to buy or trade for tapes from a taper. Or get one of your friends to make a copy for you. But with the advent of digital media, it's much easier. If you'd like to hear anything referenced in Sunshine Daydream, it's literally just a few clicks away. Here's how to do it:
The most complete online source for Grateful Dead music is Archive.org. There's a GD link right on their home page. You can filter by year, search for a specific show or venue, etc. This website was instrumental in bringing accuracy to my story, and a portion of every purchase of Sunshine Daydream is donated to Archive.org to ensure the content remains available and free of charge to anyone with an inquiring mind (and a love of the Grateful Dead!).
There were times while I was writing when listening wasn't enough. I needed to see the venue, the crowd, the stage. It was extremely important to me that every detail was as accurate as possible. So I turned to YouTube. You can, with a bit of work, find most of the shows in my book. Or, if you're just looking to get your fill of the Dead, I'd recommend Winterland 1974 to start. Then let YouTube take you where it will.
There were a few things that were harder to find online. Things I knew about because I was there. Verifying Duprees Diamond News and the way mail order was done were both more difficult than finding shows. Most of the things I collected on tour- shirts, ticket stubs, stickers- are long gone. Moving a dozen times will do that! I've still got a copy or two of Duprees, but I wanted more than that. So I turned to eBay and was able to see a dozen editions of the newsletter. Then there was the search for mail order envelopes. I have never personally mail ordered. I either was miracled, bought a ticket at the show, or used a credit card to order from Ticketmaster. But I knew lots of people who did mail order, and I wanted to see the kinds of envelopes they made. Lucky for me, The Grateful Dead's official website includes an archive of envelopes they've received over the years. I lost an entire afternoon just scrolling through them. You can check them out at Dead.net.
Still want more? While I was writing, I pinned all kinds of things I wanted to remember. T-shirts, pics from the lot (there's not all that many because there was no such thing as smartphones yet), posters, ticket stubs. Click here to check out my Pinterest pages to see what I was looking at! And while you're there, you can sneak a peek at what I'm working on now.