Judging by the lines outside the venue, I thought it would be a real "crush" inside. But, I easily found a seat in the bleacher section. The pre-show Zappa playing through the PA was a good omen for me, as I am a huge FZ fan.
One thing about this current lineup is they are REAL TIGHT and wasted no time gettin' down to business with a Jam > Feel Like a Stranger. That segued into Queen Jane Approximately > Easy Answers, which was long and jammed out. The excellent sax playing of Kenny Brooks was prominent and it certainly infused a new flavor into thes songs. We were then treated to the first "Jerry" tune of the night, Mission in the Rain, which had a guitar solo that was very Jerry. A nice Walking Blues was next and transformed into Loser, which slowed things up a bit. But, oh, the Big Boss Man to follow was to die for. Even better was the way it melted into the outro to Feel Like a Stranger which in turn smoldered, and out of those ashes rose Eyes of the World. Jeff Chimenti's keys have a real "Brent" presence, I feel BTW. Bobby, I assume, still gets a little choked up doing the Jerry tunes, as he left extra breaks where verses were to go. And he "pulled a Jerry" by flubbing the last verse, but he quickly righted the train. What a way to end the first set!
Set two brought out the acoustics. Blackbird, which I wished for and got, started things rolling. It was just Bobby on guitar and Rob Barraco on bass and had a different ending. Friend of the Devil threw the crowd into a karaoke-like frenzy, and a personal favorite of mine, Black-Throated Wind, was simply amazing. When Help on the Way kicked off I thought, "oh, here comes your basic triplet of Help > Slip > Franklin's." But what followed was a wonderful joyride of Help > Slip > jam! > Born Cross-Eyed (where the hell did THAT come from? It was wonderful!) > two new songs to me, forgive me, She Says and Two Djinn > Corrina! > Franklin's Tower. The encore was, you guessed, One More Saturday Night.
These guys sure are primed and ready to record their next release. It was a pleasure and an honor to see and hear them perform. One slight reservation I had was that I miss Wasserman so much because he is such a phenom. But, RatDog can still roll dem' bones! Have fun in Anaheim, y'all! Peace.
William Norkelun, Orient, NY
I want to start off by saying that guest bassist, Rob Barraco, was absolutely stunning, and I could not take my eyes off him. What a kind face he has! (And his playing wasn't too bad either--*wink wink*!) They were in top form as usual, and I actually got to hear my very favorite song from Evening Moods, the beautiful, dynamic, and totally fantastic "Two Djinn", and I was very pleased when they merged into "Corrina" right afterwards (just like the album!).
After the show, I was chatting with a man who had just seen the show as well and the fellow said how he had hoped they would have played "Cumberland Blues." I smiled and told him how they had played my favorite song, and then just by chance asked if he had their album, Evening Moods. He said he had never even heard it, and I could not help but exclaim, "I can't believe you don't have it... what a masterpiece it truly is.... So get it, get it!"
Yes, and during the show, when they played the two songs off Evening Moods, I noticed how few people seemed to know them well, "Two Djinn" mostly. All the people who have never even heard Evening Moods don't even know the half of what they are missing! (I am a huge Bob Dylan fan, too, and always think it's lovely when I hear them do a Dylan song--this show it was "Queen Jane"...) So this is a grand review of the show on the 8th (I flew all the way from my hometown of Seattle just to see this extraordinary band, too!!!), but it's also to give mucho praise to their Evening Moods album. Can't wait until they release another album, too, and I think they can do no wrong. It was my fourth Ratdog show, and I know I may get into trouble (if any of my bobdylan.com pals read this, that is!) for saying this, but I KNOW that Ratdog rocks harder than Bob Dylan and his band do!
The crowd loved them, everyone on their feet (ha, and one cat in the lobby doing cartwheels during "Corrina"!) just having the best time! Thank you Ratdog, and please come see me soon in Seattle! We love you guys with all our hearts and souls....absolutely brilliant show!!!!
P.S. Jay Lane, man....what a man!!!! And more and more and infinitely more praise to that kind-faced bassist: Rob Barraco!!! BRAVO! Love,
Johanna, Seattle, WA