Last time I saw Bobby was at Tinley Park, Chicago in summer '92 with Rob Wasserman. Missed all the UK shows this time around and was determined to catch him in Italy. I chose the intimate and picturesque venue in Pistoia. The boys came on around 9:45 and played for about an hour. A light jam segued into a rocking Minglewood followed by a delightful She Belongs to Me (he did remember the words this time around!) which laid up a solid Easy Answers and things were looking good. Then a couple I didn't recognize (having been out of the scene for some time)... fairly lame. Picked up somewhat with Loose Lucy and then a rollicking Samson and Delilah. A bit of noodling and out came... Terrapin! Aborted ending (due to time constraints) and a Johnny B. Goode bookend. Decent crowd (around 1500 by my reckoning), given that the Dead had never toured this part of the world... mostly locals. Hope Bobby comes back w/ Phil and the rest next year.
Rog, London, England
Short (1 hour or so), fast and very very good. Well worth the wait. The band was on top form. Two hours beforehand the sky opened and almost drowened the church square, but by the time the bands came on it was fine. Pistoia is a small rural town 25 miles from Florence and every year it is invaded by blues cats for three days of party. Half the people did not have a clue who Weir or Ratdog were but everyone was pleased by what went on. Prior to Ratdog, there was incidental music which I think was part of the show. The stage was set up at the side of the town hall--we are talking about in the middle of town--quite intimate, good crowd, not full but busy, everybody dancing. Ratdog took the unknowing crowd on, face to face, and walked away with the cup, no contest. Bob at his finger-wagging best, and no time to pause, the final note still in the air when the opening bars of the next song took you on another trip. After Ratdog we got the last show by B.B. King including "You Are My Sunshine" and "When the Saints."
Very different, very humourous, a bit sad--missing you already mister King. Hi to my new friends you know who you are.
France and Eric, Burbank, Scotland and San Martino, Italy