Wow, what a show! The whole vibe of the evening, from the minute Bobby & crew took the stage, to the bitter end of the encore. After seeing the Spokane show the night before (another excellent show), we were ready to rock! Bobby's vocals on Bird Song are outstanding, but then when he tore into Little Red Rooster, I knew we had arrived. Ending the 1st set with Aiko Aiko, the whole crowd was answering in unison. Beginning the 2nd set with a beautiful Blackbird, it was nice to hear the acoustic side of things. From Candyman to Masterpiece (oh yeah, I'm also a Band/Dylan fan), they go into a jam; by the time they got to Uncle John's Band, the crowd was right there with them - nearly deafening we all were singing so loud! What can one say about Bass/Drums? Rob's da bomb! Happy B-day Rob - he really looked surprised when the crew brought out the b-day cake & sang a quick happy birthday. Then back into the jam they went. Bird Song again led into a simply amazing China Cat/Rider - one of the best China Cat's I've heard since '95! To sum it up, the whole band is really tight - I've seen them since their conception and they really are growing as a band. I can't wait for the next Northwest appearance of da Dog! Woof!
Mia, Seattle, WA
Hello doggies. Here's my one-and-a-half-month-later recollection of the 3/31/2002 show. I wrote it with more than a feeling of affection, as it was a wonderful reintroduction into Bob and Rob and Grateful Dead as they sound in 2002, in my humble opinion.
As it had been a mere six and three quarters of a year since I'd seen Bobby, I thought it'd be smart to see Ratdog while in Seattle resting my bones from my regular life in Hong Kong. I'd last seen Bob and Rob in Tacoma, Washington, while a student at the University of Puget Sound and liked that show. In fact, I barely remember that ancient show, save for the "Misty."
The last verbal utterance I'd heard Bobby say was: "Fuck the 'Religious Right,'" after the last Northwest Dead shows at Portland Meadows in May '95 where Chuck Berry had opened for the band on the Saturday and Sunday shows.
Getting back to the end of March, I was real chuffed and excited to being see Ratdog in the 'Emerald City.'
The night of the show, the sky was shrouded in Pink and Blue clouds akin to the artwork on Dick's Pick 10 (Winterland Arena 12/27/77). So I thought that was auspicious. And the day before the Dead played in Seattle in '94, there had been a rainbow that pointed at the city of Seattle. Anyways, I digress. So I walked to the shows, following different alleyways from my home in Queen Anne, to avoid cars. It took about half an hour to get to the Showbox, and it was starting to get slightly chilly. Reached the venue around five minutes before the show commenced and I was very unsure what Ratdog would sound like and felt like I used to at shows when I was giddy to predict the opener. In the day--between '89 and '95--I'd become a pretty good guesser.
Ratdog opened with a standardish opener: a jam into Birdsong. Really didn't expect that at all, but i dig surprises. Very uplifting, confident and made my soul soar... yippee. The Jack Straw that followed was strong and much of the crowd sang along to the venerable western anthem. I was happily sucking on a Rainier beer, a tipple I'd enjoyed greatly as a college boy! Supplication was a nice surprise and was crossing my fingers that Bob was gonna bust into a '78 era Mojo, but alas, no big, as I really enjoyed the West LA Fadeaway. What a song!!! Jerry would be proud with Ratdog's performance that night--"21 rooms, but one will do." Woo hoo, myself, crowd and band definately in a funky groove, cuz its gotta be funky. Pumped for Greatest Story--"asked me for mercy, so I gave him a gun."
Second set was fun. For me, the Blackbird was completely unexpected. Nice rendering of the McCartney classic into a lovely and believeable Candyman. Ratdog can truly lay it down on numbers that require the players to have some fire in the bellies and souls. I've been having a couple of tough months and Masterpiece always helps me to put things in perspective and dream a lot of little dreams! Mrs. Hippy was welcome and sounded sonically gorgeous. Uncle John's Band was great to hear and always reminds me of my Uncle John, who lives in Atherton, California, where Bob grew up. My dad and Uncle John also went to Palo Alto High, where Jerry attended high school, but not at the same time; they're a touch older that the "Fatman." Then Bob and company dug into Samson and Delilah. In light of the crumbling of institutions like the Catholic church, religious extremism the world over, soulless accountants and bankers, hearing that song reaffirms my belief that there will be a lot of social upheaval everywhere in the coming years, unfortunately. Happy Birthday to Rob, was lovely...everyone was in jolly spirits including Chief Seattle, I suspect. Bird Song reprised into China/Rider and a rock n roll classic, Johnny B. Goode, to round out a brilliant night for Ratdog, myself and I believe: everyone else in attendance.
Thank you Ratdog.
Dave Freidenrich, Hong Kong, China