Thought this was one of the BEST Ratdog shows I have seen!!!! The crowd was about 1300 in a 1400-seat hall. The opera house was small and intimate, and the sound was loud but crystal clear. The opening jam into Playin was a spectacular opener. At this moment I thought this was going to be one heck of a show. Man, was I right!!! The next song was one I have not heard in a long time: I need A Miracle. One word can describe this song--NICE. It had to be atleast six years since I saw this song live. One of my favorites. The rest of the first set was solid, and we were treated to some excellent versions of Let it Grow and West L.A. Fadeaway.
The second set was even stronger than the first set. Memphis Blues, Hell in a Bucket, and Space were tight. But the next 5 songs (Wharf Rat, Playin Reprise, China Cat Sunflower, I Know You Rider, and Johnny B. Goode) had the place dancing. The momentum just kept building as the show drew closer to the end.
Enjoyed myself. The band looked like they were having fun. All in all it was a good evening in the Finger lakes.
Wally Bisset, Buffalo, NY
The setlist for this show speaks for itself. How much happier does it get than a Jam into Playin' In The Band to open the show? The first set was like a Dead salad with some Wang Dang croutons and ragtime Artificial Flowers dressing; tasty indeed! Everyone sang along with I Need A Miracle. Weather Report Suite>Let It Grow was (and always is) a diverse musical journey. The West L.A. first set closer was a comfortable, bluesy finish taking us to intermission.
The second set opener, City Girls, kept the audience guessing for a moment. "Wwow, no fantasy RD points here." Stuck Inside A Mobile... was a surprising Dylan treat. Hell In A Bucket shook the balcony. The Other One Jam into Astronomy Domine baffled even the most DEADicated fans. Then, as we landed from the Space Jam, Bobby is back onstage serving up a nice, lush Wharf Rat. A return to Playin' has the crowd bouncing again and anticipating the end of the show. But, wait, I think I hear the first strains of China Cat... IT IS, IT IS!! Will they continue into Rider? YES!!!! What an unbelievable finish to a MONSTER second set. The encore was a lively, rockin' Johnny B. Goode.
This is an outstanding collection of musicians. Kenny Brooks is as expressive with his face as he is with his solo lines. Mark Karan is delicate or forceful as the circumstance requires--great solos. Jeff Chimenti dazzles, surrounded by a keyboard laboratory. Jay Lane lays down the perfect groove, and Robin Sylvester rounds out a very tight rhythm section with solid bass foundations.
For the current tour, mostly smaller venues, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that if you want to really see everybody, get close. If you want to hear everybody, put some distance between yourself and the stage. Whatever your preference, you've got to get to this show. Thanks, Bobby and RATDOG, for a terrifically entertaining evening of music.
Otter and Friends, Utica, NY
Well my third trip to the Smith was again enjoyable. I was the purple-haired masked man. My friend Major Tom reported that the Beacon was very high energy; I felt that the Smith show was very mellow and relaxed. Loved the red shirt Bob sported! Several times I felt a bit disoriented with the wild beard and red t-shirt combo....
Very nice Memphis Blues, Weather Report Suite, and I most enjoyed the spacey part of West LA (little red light thing). Of course Wharf Rat is classic and again the red shirt only added to this tunes effect. Shade of Grey is a personal favorite. The band without Bob with the drummer singing was sweet; I would have liked more of that action. I could have done without the encore, but one man's alligator tail is another man's filet mignon.
I hope the band returns to this great hall as a regular stop. The local powers were very accomodating on this night, and as was announced at the beginning of the show, the Opera House is stellar so let's keep it that way.... Saw lots of familiar faces, and as Major Tom commented at one point, "I'm all about the Ratdog." I second that emotion. Adios from deep in space...
Rob Talijan, Cayuga Lake, NY