This place is SMALL! In my opinion, it was waaaaaaaayyy oversold, but then again, I am getting older!
The audience had reached a fevered pitch by the time Bobby and the boys took the stage (over an hour late, by the way!). A tentative opening jam quickly gained confidence when it shifted into "Cassidy." Always one of my favorite Bobby tunes! As some of you know, Bobby has this habit of starting tunes early on in the show and then going back to those periodically as themes for the evening. This has the potential to be cool, but it could also belabor the setlist with predictability.... I was happy to hear that Bobby jammed "Cassidy" out to the end in this first slot; it was somehow more satisfying to me.
"Bird Song" came next (which is another tune that can creep up three or four times throughout a show), and while I appreciate the intent, I have simply heard RatDog play this song too many times... just had me waiting for whatever was next... and I was not disappointed!
"Odessa" is my favorite new Bobby rocker! Some say this tune has cheesy lyrics, but I think they're hilarious! "Odessa" had the audience pumped up and cuttin' the rug (on in this case, the dirt floor)! Another good new song, "Lucky Enough" followed; the crowd seemed really into this one, as well.
What came next will perhaps be my lasting impression of this show. "Ramble On Rose" found the crowd (myself included) singing along so loudly that I literally had to cover my ears after the "take you to the leader of the band" parts! Dear Lord! I haven't heard (or been part of) a crowd that was THAT PUMPED UP since the Good Ol' GD days!! What a blast! I was also very happy with the next pairing: "This Time Forever" and "Shade of Grey" (the first time I've seen these two since '98)! "This Time Forever" is such a beautiful (albeit sad) ballad of loss and "Shade of Grey" is its perfect rockin' complement with its visions of heartless, high-rise big-business practices and their counterparts "out in the streets." Life can't always be pretty and nice, and these two tunes appeal to the melancholy side of us all.
"West L.A. Fadeaway" and "Iko Iko" closed the first set out in rippin' fashion! Bobby was playing the tambourine for the beginning and the middle of "Iko Iko"...SWEET! He kept trying to fling it back onto its stand when he was finished, and it would knock his guitar slide off the adjacent stand. Well, some lucky guy in the front had the cool task of handing Bob's slide back to him! Bobby actually looked surprised and grateful that he got his slide back, too! It was some funny shit, I tell ya....
The second set started off with a nice little acoustic portion which included "K.C. Moan" and "Friend of the Devil"... short and sweet before it gave way to the JAMMIN'! A short, but exciting "Love Supreme Jam" found itself running into "New Speedway Boogie"! I've always loved this tune, and I think it played an important role in the Dead's final tour, saving many of those maligned shows from total disaster.
"New Speedway" boiled over and oozed its way into a VERY EXCITING "Other One"! I'm so glad Bobby is still jammin' tunes from the Primal-GD era! Still finding interesting places to take this old, time-tested warhorse. Gimme an "Other One" every time! Apparently, I'm not the only one who can't get enough of this one. It's all about the JAM, baby!
"He's Gone" came at a good spot...and the crowd had their singing voices at the ready! This was another sing-along that nearly blew the roof off the place! "Bass and Drums" came next which gave me a chance to catch my breath. A nice little Jam flowed into "Ashes and Glass." Not my favorite new tune by any stretch, but I didn't mind it after all the sweet choices that came before it. There was a nice little instrumental verse from "Dark Star" tucked in the middle of it, though, which was cool... another one from the Primal-Era... alright!
"China Cat" into "I Know You Rider" was a great way to end the set. Once again, I was ASTONISHED by the crowd energy during "Rider"!! I honestly had to cover my ears again! What a crowd!!
"Brokedown Palace" gave us all nice warm thoughts of Jerry and let us sing-along one more time ;-)... Thank you Bobby, Jay, Rob, Jeff, Mark, and Kenny for a REAL GOOD TIME!!
Having the hotel almost directly across the street from the venue (and right beside the beach) made for a beautiful evening.... There was also a full (or at least near-full) moon that night.... After the show we went and frolicked on the moonlit beach with some ol' friends...CLASSIC
BT Rhea, Mt. Pleasant, PA
Certainly worth takin' the ferry from Cape May to Lewes Delaware, then hitchhiking to the Delaware beaches. Needless to say ... within a short period I scored a ride from some fam and arrived in Rehobeth/ Dewey late afternoon. That was the first and only time ( east of Colorado or California ) since then or since the 80's that I hitchhiked anywhere. The east coast in a number of respects is a different nation than the west... but one thing stays pretty much the same... who are the Grateful Dead and why do they keep following me around ? Also discovered that camping is OK on the beach not too far south from where the venue was located. And so it should be... a largely unbuilt rural beach/ meadow area for what appears to be a few miles. Unlike New Jersey. Where they won't be happy til every square foot is paved and every camper / hippie is in some county jail somewhere. Oops!...back to the bright side !... Bobby always seems to find... and play in some of the coolest strangest places ...2002 was epic for this phenomanom ... and we've all been blessed to experience these strange places ... stranger people... and uniquely as strange things during many of the times I've been able to hit the road ... or in this case ... the water as well :-) "...all you have to do is just show up.." > Ratdog
alan, Kenzo to the TL