NICE!! Jerry tunes all the way! Awesome Dark Star! Bob is certainly in top form for this tour! Catch him if you can; you won't regret it!
karl, Strafford, NH
Thank God Meadowbrook finally got a good act! I was a long-time Dead follower and have been longing for a good show up here in NH. It was such a wonderful experience. RatDog was smooth, strong, and in tune with the audience. The set list flowed beautifully with the audience, cool summer night, and bright stars. Thank you. Please come back and bring other great bands as well.
Kelly, Laconia, NH
Hmmm... where to begin?!?! Truth be told, I have never written a review for RatDog or any other band for that matter. But, after this show (the last of eight RatDog shows that I saw this year), I felt compelled to write this. To sum it up with one word, "STELLAR!!" RatDog does not get any better than last night at Meadowbrook in Gilford, NH--and only 1/2 hour from my home!! Gotta love it.
The show started with Hornsby jammin' with Bobby and the Boys to Jack Straw, which got everyone onto their feet and moving. The guy next to me had just lost his dog named Jack Straw, which made a tear come to his eye of both sadness and glee. It's just what he was looking for. Then, Dark Star morphing into Cassidy--WOW, was that great! Not a single person was sitting and the outdoor venue was a-rockin!!! Lazy River and Big Railroad were slower and melancholuy--a needed rest for what was just seen and what was still to come. K.C. Moan (I didn't remember the name of this song but knew all the words) was one of the highlights for me. In five years of seeing the Dog, I had never seen this. Everywhere you looked, people were dancing and smiling and grinning ear to ear. Friend of the Devil was slow but sweet. Man, has this band come a long way!! Then, with Even So followed by Wheel!! Again, Stellar!! Oh yeah, at one point in the night, Bobby turned his old insistent (and sometimes obnoxious) screaming and howling into a cool sounding werewolf--it totally fit in and I loved it! Next came SUGAREE and as much as I miss Jerry, Bobby was wailing in his own style--voice crackling like Garcia and all. It was one of the highlights of the night. Then, right into another jam; these boys were smoking!!! Teases of the Other One, Eleven, Playin in the Band.... Heck, one of my best friends even heard dabbles of Truckin' mixed amongst the killer tunes, only to unfold back into Dark Star and Cassidy all over again. Totally awesome!!
After a quick break, the soft soothing sound of Ripple filled the air; we new it from the first note. Everyone was swaying back and forth and singing. This was the best way I could have hoped to end a six straight show bender. Bobby's performance coupled with the band talent that he has assembled is right on!!! Keep playing shows like this one and I'll be sure to keep coming back.
Jonny L, Bow, NH
It was an amazing night at Meadowbrook. Great scene with plenty of room to dance inside the pavilion, and hassle free on the lawn for breaks. Horsnby's band was intense, with a distinctive "Tennessee Jed" jam during "Funhouse" and a deep "Dark Star" tease later in his set. "Jack Straw" had a reggae segment, as did "FOTD" later, and then "Dark Star" with Hornsby was satisfying. Highlight was "Sugaree," which was very introspective, and after jamming for a while, Bobby stares over the mic and says "Chasing Spooks" and then back into Sugaree. He was thinking of Jerry all night; just look at the song selection. "Dark Star" then returns as a monster! Most jam-oriented Bobby show I've ever seen!
Jim Jenkins, Weare, NH
I went to see my second Ratdog show with high expectations. Somehow the band produced the unexpected (a huge Dark Star/Cassidy sandwich) that sent me soaring to the wild beyond. Having grown up in New Hampshire, this date on the tour was a MUST SEE for me to get back home and patch my bones in my lazy summer home. My brother and sister joined me at the surprisingly wonderful Meadowbrook for the show. It was a delightful setting.
Ratdog came out, joined by Brusce Hornsby in a jam that slowly meandered its way into Jack Straw (with a really cool reggeae finish). Then they pulled out the showstopper--right at the start--with Dark Star. I couldn't believe my ears as they teased their way into this legendary epic so soon. Bob sang the whole notes of "dark" and "search" with an added half note that set the tone for the night. Intensely fluid flow of sound. It was like the band peaked early and soared like an eagle in the stratosphere for the rest of the night. It was a sweet stroll through the lazy river road into song after song. Then the soaring eagle gave us one more mighty flap of its wings and finished with a return to the Dark Star into Cassidy show stopper. The words to describe this have long since scattered like seabirds. Then, bringing us gently back to the ground, came Ripple to fill the air and bring us home singing 'La Da Da Da......' Very nice indeed.
Paul Keniston, Dallas, TX
I concur with these excellent reviews. It was a great show in a wonderful setting. (Meadowbrook is very laid back and mellow. Surprisingly good food and good drink. They've done a lot with the place.) One of the things I like about RatDog is that you have to expect the unexpected. This show was very jazzy and jammy, quite unlike the show I saw earlier this year at Hampton Beach, where they simply rocked the house. Highlights for me Friday were Big Railroad Blues (which I haven't heard in a long time and which really got a full head of steam going), and Sugaree, which started out with a reggae tint and built slowly into the familiar classic, but with RatDog's own stamp on it. The vocals/harmonies all night were very tight (I think I saw as many as five or even six at a time, at times), something you don't always get in the Dead family of bands. Bruce Hornsby was good as well and must have been a co-headliner, because he played about as long as Bobby--about two hours. No complaints, really, but I wish RatDog had played a little longer. This is a band with a lot of confidence right now, and it shows, especially with Robin Sylvester, who brings a lot more to the stage than Rob Wasserman did. His bass playing stood out Friday night. I'm not a huge Mark Karan fan. I think his playing tends to be a bit spotty, but he did hit some pretty good high spots. Now, if only Jimmy Herring were up there. That would be something!
Todd D., Fairlee, VT