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Grateful Dead brings the Garden alive again

Musicians Bob Weir and Mickey Hart of the

Musicians Bob Weir and Mickey Hart of the band 'The Grateful Dead' attend the 2015 National Association of Music Merchants show at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 23, 2015 in Anaheim, California. Photo Credit: Getty Images for NAMM / Jesse Grant

Bob Weir called it "horrifying and at the same time titillating." It was electric and unforgettable. Above all, it was never, ever boring.

Those were the Grateful Dead founder's memories of Madison Square Garden - a veritable ballad to the building that housed 52 of their concerts from 1979 to 1994. Turns out, MSG loved them right back.

Weir, along with bandmate Bill Kreutzmann, and Trixie Garcia and Reya Hart, daughters of Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart, were on hand at MSG Monday to celebrate the Grateful Dead's induction to the building's Walk of Fame. They were joined by fellow inductees Eddie Giacomin, the Hall of Fame Rangers goalie; Knicks iron man and Hall of Famer Harry Gallatin; and MSG official photographer George Kalinsky, a 49-year veteran of the craft.

"It was a building that shook and rolled and everything," Kreutzmann said. "It was a miracle for us to play [here]."

Celebrating its golden anniversary, the Dead still know how to attract a following -- Deadheads chanted and applauded from a cordoned-off section of the news conference. It was a shadow of the past, when fans used to show up to MSG hours before concerts, eager with anticipation or hoping to score an extra ticket, said radio DJ Jim Kerr, who introduced the band.

"The audience here was discerning but also ravenous," Weir said.

And through it all, Kalinsky was there. He's responsible for innumerable iconic shots -- from Jimi Hendrix to John Lennon, Michael Jordan and Pope John Paul II (that one stayed on the pontiff's desk until he died, Kalinsky said). Once, in the 70s, Elvis Presley asked him about his favorite moment at MSG.

"And I said, right now," he said. He added that he's had plenty of "right now" moments since then.

There are now 61 members of the Walk of Fame, which began in 1992 in an effort to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the building's lore. This is the first induction class since 2006.


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