My legs hurt from dancing, my voice from singing and my face from smiling as I believe last night's Ratgod show at the Tabernacle to be one of the most fulfilling musical experiences of my entire life. I have seen the Dog more than a handful of times and always follow what they are doing. Going into this show I new something special was going to take place simply from all the excitement and positive feedback the reviews have conveyed. On with the show:
With Wasserman droppping beats and the band tuning up, Bobby plays the first two licks and the mood for the evening is set with a "Shakedown" opener. The place is packed with all smiles as Shakedown is executed perfectly. The sound is great and the band seemed to be clicking on all cylinders. Shakedown makes a nice transition into "Easy Answers" which is apparently a favorite of the band. Wasserman is having a blast repeatedly singing Easy Answers into the mic. This tune was very well played, and then we were treated with an absolutely stellar "She Belongs to Me." It's songs like this that make Weir so god damn cool. He nailed this tune and the crowd responded with overwhelming joy. Such a perfect song for the Dog. Now picking it back up and what better to get the blood flowing than Minglewood. I love they way the Dog plays this old fav, especially Kenny, what a madman this guy his, wailing away with his eyes about to pop out of his head. With the crowd going nuts they slipped into "Josephine" which in a nutshell changed the minds of everybody in there from thinking "oh Josephine" to "I never knew how good this tune was." It was very well received by its end and just then comes "Brown-Eyed Women" out of nowhere!! With every single person in the venue singing the chorus out loud, it was nothing sort of awesome. You literally could not even hear Bobby sing the chorus, loving life at this point. After an extended jam they continued the trend by bursting out with "Eyes" and again the crowd participated in the festivites relentlessly. At this point the boys have been playing non-stop (and I mean playing, no bullshit noodling) for a strong hour and a half. The set ended and it was very apparent that Deadheads old and new (I'm old by the way) are impressed with this group of musicians (especially kenny and jeff).
Setbreak seemed rather long but that is probably b/c I was having so much fun and wanted them to come back on ASAP, especially since I knew Bobby would come out with the acoustic, always a favorite part of the show for me. Just Bobby and Rob did a very nice "Victim" which I think it a brilliant song, lyrically. I love the political side of Bob. Nostalgia set in as I heard for the first time in years a live BTW and it was the highlight of the night for me. WOW, I had a tear in my eyes as I listened to this flawless BTW. It was a special moment, a culmination and extension of a lifestyle I have chosen. While things could not get better at this point they did with a "Half-Step"... are you kidding me! Again, Bobby could barely be heard over the crowd and everyone in the venue is redefining the word "fun." The pain in my face from permagrin was only to be enhanced as I heard the beginning licks to old school vintage Bobby tune, that's right, "Playin' in the Band." The roof is being blown off the place and finally they go into some Ratgod originals, "Even So > Oct. Queen > The Deep End." This is pure heartfelt New Orleans blues and it came off woderfully. The Dog has everyone listening attentively and Bob really shows his song-writing ability and love for the blues here... loved it. After a sick Bass/Drums/Logic session (that was way too short), the band continued the whole singalong theme with what else but "UJB." Let me make this clear as the Dog is not just playing UJB but reinventing all these old favs. All the band members are adding their own little interpretations and they are TIGHT! WE know the close of the set is near and I know we are going to get something sweet and that's when Terrapin begins and musically they nailed it. It was long, intense and finally Bobby forgot the words (just for a second). It would not be a show if he didn't falter at least once. Inspiration, you damn right! Wait, what's this, back into UJB chorus, speechless, having too much fun.... Set ends and crowd cries out for more. I look at my wife and all I can say is "Jess, this is so god damn sick!" I proceed to call the encore from looking at the previous handful of encores and yes, the Dog was thinking the same thing as myself..LET IT SHINE LET IT SHINE LET IT SHINE!
- THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST NIGHTS OF MUSIC OF MY ENTIRE LIFE
- RATDOG CONSISTS OF A GROUP OF EXTREMELY TALENTED MUSICIANS
- THIS BAND IS TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT!
I love the Grateful Dead, everything it stands for, and always will!!!
Chris Taylor, Atlanta, GA
What a SHOW!! The boys were on last night ladies and gentlemen. They never cease to amaze me. I have seen probably at least 30 post-Dead Ratdog, Other Ones... Bobby shows. They get tighter every time I see em. They were smokin last night. I FINALLY got my Black-Throated Wind!!!! Waited at least 10 shows for it. They started with a nice Jam into SHAKEDOWN. This was a good start. Next comes Easy Answers....... She Belongs to Me and a crowd-pleasing Minglewood. Next Josephine into Brown-Eyed women. Another Jam and end of first set with a Great EYES. Set break. Second set started Acoustic with Victim..... nice to hear again. Heard it many times in 94-95. Now Bobby busted into my Black-Throated Wind. I felt Jerry sittin on the speaker grinning for this one. I waited a long time for this song. Missed it by one show last year. It was a perfect rendition. I listened to it on GDLIVE from '72 all day before the show last night. Sometimes before the show you get this premonition and listen to some song a bunch and if you get lucky they may play it. Last year I listened to THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME all day and that night Bobby busted it out.......... first post-Jerry. These guys really have it nailed. Moving on, next we get a Mississippi Half step.... Great version. Feels just like old times!!!!!! Next we get a great classic PLAYIN.... Always great to watch BOBBY sing that... no matter how many times you ever hear it, it's always a treat. The other Highlights for me were Uncle John's Band and Terrapin. Also... it is not listed here but I beleive this was Lady with a Fan > Terrapin.
I only heard UJB once many years ago. One of my best friends was with me that night in '93 and I was blessed again this year as he stood/danced beside me last night. When we heard the opening notes, we just looked at each other in disbelief.
Now for the Encore.... I run up to the highest balcony with the fewest people... all spinners up there. I wanted plenty of room and had it. They bust out Lovelight. Beautiful and LOUD... once again, like the old days.
I have read all the complaints over the years and disagree with most of them.
Although Ratdog is doing better now, they have always done well. I have seen them at least four times every year since Jerry passed.
BOBBY had IT then, has IT now, and will have IT always, and his brothers in Music do as well.
Keep on Truckin,
Peace and Love BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Jamie Dotson, Atlanta, GA
The day started off wonderfully. Around 3 or so in the afternoon, my buddy and I were walking through the Olympic park, and just so happened to cross paths with Bobby! We didn't want to interrupt his jog, so we just said hey and I asked for a Minglewood. When we walked back across the street, Mark was out in front of the Tabernacle, and so we actually got to chit-chat with him a little bit, and once again I asked for Minglewood. Lucky me!!! The Shakedown opener set the nigh for me. I knew not only the afternoon, but the show itself would be great. Easy Answers, another one of my favs, was really hot too. She Belongs to Me was good, but I'm not a fan of the song. Then... MINGLEWOOD! Absolutely fabulous. Then Josephine? WOW! Just when I think it can't get any better, here comes the BE Women riff. So much energy, the place went nuts! I've never heard Ratdog play a better Eyes than last night's. The jam was so intense. Second set started off with Bob, Rob and Jay doing Victim/Crime then BT Wind. Both were very nice last night. I'm one of the few people who like Victim/Crime, and how could you not like it last night? Wonderful stuff. Miss 1/2 Step, also a very nice jam into Playin. The people around me, including myself, were hyped. I love Playin. I've heard Even So too many times I think. I could've done without it. Bass/Drums... blah, blah, blah, we all know Wasserman is the man! Then Terrapin... all I can say is THANK YOU BOBBY! I havent heard Terrapin since Furthur 2000, and I think it will always be my favorite tune. The UJB reprise was awesome, although I was hoping for a Playin reprise. Either or, the night was so good until... the Lovelight encore. DAMN! Im pushing towards the 40 Ratdog shows mark and last night's Lovelight was one of the best things I've ever heard them do. I'm really happy I got tickets for Memphis, Nashville, B'ham and N'awlins, especially after last night. Thanks for honoring my request Bobby and Mark!
Kevin, Decatur, AL