This was an evening of Ratdog at its finest; the show opener Jack Straw was fitting of what was yet to come. They all seemed primed for a high energy show equipped with tasty musical treats. If you were lucky enough to be at this show, you are feeling the energy I still have at 2:00 am; if you weren't at this show you'll be very happy if you give a listen to this fine evening of musical pleasure.
Erik, Nashua, NH
Tremendous show, bursting with energy, great song selection and exceptional playing overall! This is the first Ratdog show I have seen with new bass player Robin Sylvester, who did a great job and has some big shoes to fill. Last night's show felt as though the band had transported us back in time to the Fillmore East during the long and raging second set which started out with a mellow El Paso that layed the foundation for the raging epic of A Love Supreme > Jam > Truckin > OTHERONE > DarkStar > LadywithaFan > Terrapin > DearPrudence > SugarMag E One More Sat Nite... truly mindblowing!! Dear Prudence was truly sublime, the balcony was rocking during the barnburner combo of Sugar Mag/Saturday Night. To be honest, I was not always the biggest Ratdog fan, having seen the Dead peaking during the mid 80s, but I am glad to say Bob Weir still has it; he proved it last night! I urge you to get a copy of this show--one of the finest shows I have ever seen!! Thanks Bob! and to quote Bob, "Fuck The Yankees"!!
CandyFlipper, Boston, MA
Well last night Bobby and Ratdog came to Boston to entertain us as only they can. When the "Dead et al" are around there is really nothing better than to go to the show, and as I often say, "a good time was had by all." Good old friend Dennis told us to come on down, so Ellen, Nick and myself went on down.
As usual the show started on time at 8pm. A jam struck things up into a classic Jack Straw that started things off while we all got settled uneventfully. Then to my surprise so early in the evening Dark Star appeared, and you know it wasn't really working, and the band seemed to know it. So they changed direction and started throwing out an Odessa that did work and made everyone happy. It had kind of a vintage 60s sort of sound to it that just got us up out of our seats, movin our feet, and clapping our hands. Ace then again sort of switched on us by strapping on an acoustic, and he strummed the beautiful beginnings of Weather Report which had some very nice moments and led into a Let It Grow, on which Mark Karan showed us that he was indeed warmed up with some very high ringing solo parts. Ace put back on an electric, and they all came together wonderfully. Jeff Chimenti's playing was especially noteworthy tonight; I have never heard him as such an integral part of the band before. His playing, along with Kenny Brooks' on sax, was just such an important part of last night's sound. It seems that these guys have been playing as this unit long enough now that the music of the Dead has also become their music in the manner they play it. They were rock 'n' roll, honky tonk, and jazzy in a moving sort of way as the music went. You could feel their oneness with the music. The sound that they gave the band was there quite frankly like never before.
Tennessee Jed was an absolute highlight of the night that just played to the crowd. From this point on, the night was just one long singalong. Bobby tried out some blues with a Wang Dang Doodle during which he seemed to enjoy the throaty vocals he was throwing out. But the next number, She Says, again caught that vintage 60s sound that got everyone jumping and clapping and added wow feeling, which would end up going into Liberty, still keeping everyone with the happy feelings of singin' and dancin'.
The second set started acoustically with Bobby, Mark, and new bassist Robin Sylvester on stand-up bass with El Paso, always a crowd pleaser. Then things got real up with an awesome Corrina that started with the three guys on acoustic, and joining up were Chimenti, Kenny, and drummer Jay Lane. Ace built the song with some full string strumming, and Karan filled in with some great leads on the acoustic. With Bobby again taking things back with some wonderful full sounding driving strumming, Karan switched to electric and took back the lead. Along with the sax and keyboards, they were all coming together in one of those moments that brings us to where we want to be. Ace found his way back to his electric during this and a small jam ensued with the familiar "DadadadadaDa....." intro to Truckin' that got everyone in that excitable state we all enjoy so much. It's like some substance is released in our minds that makes us all feel so good. The hard driving Truckin' beat segued into the hard driving instrumental beginnings of The Other One that seemed like it would stay instrumental until Bobby decided to lead us all into the vocals together. This led to a wind down that let us catch our breath, a Dark Star reprise that was just a short stop into the Lady with Fan and ultimately into a splendid Terrapin that continued to keep us all up up up. It of course wound it self down with some very heavy chords and then delicate ones that surprised us all by becoming a Dear Prudence, to make us all feel happy goin round and round and round.... It semed like things would end there, which would have been a fine end to a night of entertainment. But the band had other ideas, it being Saturday night, and Saturday night should always end on an up note, so upon us was sprung Sugar Mag for everyone to just cut loose for one more time, and it was splendid. Sugar Mag always makes for happy fun feelings. And of course there was an encore, before which Bobby gave us a sympathetic acknowledgment by yelling out "fuck the Yankees." (I wonder what he'll say in NY?) They struck up the fitting end to the night--a One More Saturday Night that kept us all up and going home with the best of feelings.
Phil's in town in a few weeks so we will revisit the good feelings that the spirit of the music brings us.
Larry Snyder, Boston, MA
It was an triumphant emotional return to the Orpheum in Boston for me after 23 years of living on the west coast. The last time I was here was for two Jerry shows around 7/26/80 (I think)--the 2nd and 3rd shows I'd taped. It was also 10 years since my last Dead show, so being back with my tribe was like coming home again. The show opened like many a Dead show with Jack Straw, but then something amazing happened: DARK STAR. For the first time in over 150 Dead shows, I finally get to hear and record a Dark Star--and from Bobby no less! After that I knew it was going to be much better than I expected from a Bobby show. Another surprise was Weather Report Suite->Let It Grow, something I'd longed to hear since I first started listening to the Dead in the late 70s. When Bobby started into Tennessee Jed I realized he's finally gotten out on his own, and him playing all the great songs that Jerry use to sing brought tears to my eyes. There was a ripping Wang Dang Doodle next followed by She Says & Liberty! Some songs I've never heard before but found inspiring to hear....
Second Set opened with an acoustic trio doing El Paso, a nice treat. Then with Bobby still on Acoustic a rousing version of Corrina. A nice Love Supreme Jam into Truckin' to get us all rockin and rollin' into a hot Other One. Then the second verse of Dark Star to complete my fantasy of ever seeing one live. That trailed off into another surprise--a Terrapin Station by Bobby that left me feeling all warm and fuzzy. Dear Prudence slipped in totaly unexpected from Bobby, that ol sly ratdog..... A hot Sugar Mags closed the show like Dead days of old. Then Bobby's little remark about the Yankees slipped right by me until I listened to the recording afterwards. It was just One More Saturday Night dancing like the old days with the Dead!
Shiva Ho, Ojai, CA
I too was at the Boston show. My first time seeing Ratdog and my wife's first REAL experience with the "scene". Anyway, I didn't really know what to expect going in (I have 23 Dead shows under my belt but wasn't sure how this would be). I personally thought that everything was just exactly perfect!
I love Jack Straw and seeing it as an first set opener got me fired up! WRS > Let it Grow was spectacular. I liked "She Says" a lot; I had never heard it previously. Just a really good time. Dark Star was cool, Odessa was fun, and Wang Dang Doodle was very fun. Shame on those who were late getting back into the room for Set II and had to miss the acoustic El Paso opener. That was awesome.
Truckin > TOO > Dark Star was excellent. I thought Kenny was having a really good time with the Dark Star riffs on the sax. Then there was Terrapin, and I thought the place might explode. Booming and powerful, it brought back memories of the Garden '94.... Dear Prudence was cool--I am not a huge fan but it was still enjoyable--and Sugar Mag got everyone really groovin' if they weren't already. Bob's "F*** the Yanks" before the encore was priceless!
All in all, a fantastic time with a great group of folks!
Jason, Boston, MA
There seemed to be energy the second I walked through the doors of the Orpheum Theater Saturday evening, perhaps left over from an amazing Gov't Mule show the night before. When the lights went down and RatDog took the stage, I was all smiles.
Opening with a nice jam into Jack Straw, it was sure to be a show to remember. The band sounded GREAT. They were tight throughout the show, and Bob seemed much more animated then I have ever seen. Nice suprises in the first set; WRS > Let It Grow was a treat, along with a nice version of Wang Dang Doodle and Tennesse Jed. The crowd was singing along, and the band fed off the energy. A great version of Liberty to end the first set... heartfelt singing from Bob.
Second set started with an acoustic El Paso. I will mention this was the first time I have seen RD with Robin Sylvester. He did a great job. Stand up bass on El Paso and the start of Corrina was a great sound. The set started on fire and stayed that way through the whole set with classics like Truckin', Terrapin Station, and Sugar Mag.
The band was so tight. Mark and Jeff did an outstanding job on backup vocals. And Bob's vocals were like ten plus years ago. I have been to many RD shows, but this show was the best I have seen from them. Bob seems comfortable with the rest of the band and did not conduct as much as he did in the past. A great show! Thank you RatDog. Come back soon.
Danny O, Medway, MA