After circulating in and around the Dead / side project scene since the mid 70s, I'd say that this was one of those "I can't believe I missed it" outings. Sorta like JGB '95 last show in Providence before Jerry's demise. Add to that an intensely intimate venue with a crowd in rapt attention and you've got yourself a homer! Kenny Brooks had an outstanding evening. Bob's delivery was flawless and his fret work dead on. John Perry Barlow sighting added to the "holy s*&t" factor! Now go and tell your friends! Ratdog is friendly, worthy, and won't bite.
GTC, Boston, MA
What a sweet surprise to end a couple weeks of touring. Seeing the 'Dog in a 150-person ballroom is a once in a lifetime. The funny thing was it was the furthest away from the band I'd been all tour except at the Orpheum.
Bob, Mark, and Robin opened with an acoustic Blackbird that didn't scare the old ladies in the benefit crowd, then the rest of the band joined them for Deep Elem, which set the dancers apart from the suits. Victim ended the acoustic set, then they played a solid electric set that closed with the tour-neglected Throwin Stones. "Once again we find ourselves out of time in Boston," and a singalong Ripple closed the night.
It is impossible to compare this show to a fullblown venue, but it was a special event I will not soon forget. Bill the roadie was dancing through the crowd, giving hugs to those of us he recognized and thanking us for our support of the band. Thank YOU Ratdog for one hell of a ride!
Squidley, Rockland, MA
This was a wonderful experience in a very intimate setting. Somehow, I ended up at a table right in front of Bob for the whole show, about four feet away, which I could not have even imagined ever happening in my wildest dreams. But it did!
The setlist is posted, so I probably do not need to get into detail about that, but I will say that the standouts were a locked-in Jack Straw, a gorgeous, exploratory Eyes, and a raucous Throwin' Stones. And, of course, a sing-along Ripple that had all in attendance chiming in. They went over time and replaced the scheduled NFA with the Ripple, an obviously good choice.
The benefit crowd, which I thought might not all "get it," seemed to include very few early exits, and at some point mid-set, I turned around to see that everybody was grooving to the music, even the kids from the Farm School, who were dancing up a storm!
A last note is that I am trying to contact my buddy, as we have some great up-close pics, mostly of Bobby. When I get his permission, I'll upload them all for everyone to see.
Paul Rizzi, Watertown, MA