That rocked. Some may try to break down a show and disect every song and every transition. I just want to say the vibe was great, and it has been too long. A show to warm the soul, agreed?
Ian, Chicago, IL
Was at the show last night with my girlfriend and had to say that it was one amazing venue. Having traveled all the way from the Bronx, New York, I must say that it was well worth the trip. The music set was great, the venue was cozy with a positive vibe, and the crowd just seemed to gooble it up. Dancing, drinking, and Bobby can make a long strange trip well worth it. He looked great and sounded better than ever. Looks like Bobby and the boys will see us this whole tour. The Bronx will have to go on without us, but we will be back, full of energy, kindness and of course, recharged from all the great music we will hear...........:o)
Ms. Pabone and Homey Gromey, Bronx, NY
What an outstanding show. The whole trip with my friends was sooooo worth it. Even though I have a job, calling in sick was one of the smartest things I could do because it was so worth it. They looked great and sounded even better. Good for you guys for coming together as one and getting the whole crowd on their feet dancing the night away. I am in the airport now, dreading going back to New York because I want to join my friends on tour but gotta be back at work. Maybe next week, hopefully, I 'll get sick again, who knows.........
Brooks, Bronx, NY
Wow. Holy Cow. That was my third Ratdog show and by far the best. I don't know what was going on in there. The buzz from the crowd and the Dog was crazy. Shakedown Street: awesome. New Minglewood Blues: awesome. Friend of the Devil: one of the best versions I've heard. The crowd was also real mellow. I was standing next to this guy in a Sox visor, and he was sayin he'd seen all Dead-related bands and the Dead since 76. That was cool to hear some of his stories. Ending with Brokedown Palace was way unexpected and was the perfect way to end the show. Thanks Ratdog for a sweet evening.
Mike, Chicago, IL
I thought Shakedown was a nice way to start it off, and the jams were pretty interesting. I felt the other vocalists should have joined Bobby on the 'just gotta poke around' segment to make it more layered--Bob seemed a little on-his-own there. She Belongs To Me was a nice choice, but it was my friend Vince's birthday (big 4-0) and he really hoped for Masterpiece, so he lost out here.... Minglewood was pretty good, a bit on the mellow side, but it's a tune we expect from Bob and we can't complain when we get it! Bob affected a funny old-timey tone of voice for the extended "number one occupation" vamp at the end. Crazy Fingers was the first truly pleasant suprise of the night and was well done. Bob clearly needed his teleprompter on this one, but he hung in pretty well and the band supported him nicely. I consider this a pretty challenging tune (saw the Dead pretty well mangle it at least once), and Ratdog delivered. It seemed a bit shorter than I expected it to be, but I'm not sure they actually skipped anything. Karan did get off one nice tremulous guitar jam that made for a nice peak in the proceedings. Rooster was truly mellow, WAAAAYYYY down in the blues groove--a little sleepy really, but it had some nice subtlety and the energy built up big a few times to good effect. I really enjoyed hearing Bob sing Lazy River Road, but it was very quiet and I think he lost a good bit of the audience with this one. More a critique of the audience than the band in my opinion.... Great song, and nice to hear Bob sing it. Odessa was well played but didn't seem to rip like some past versions I've heard. I wouldn't have labeled the next jam "Shakedown Jam", but without having a copy of the show to review, I'm not sure about that one. Either way, it was a pretty cool transition into Eyes and perked the room up nicely. We got some major horn blowing on this one and I really enjoyed it. Then "Stronger Than Dirt"--I had this in my head as "Robin Bass Solo," which hearkened back nicely to Phil's solos of
yore on Eyes. I guess I wasn't hearing him clearly enough to know if he was really doing "Dirt." Either way, a nice diversion and the band re-joined him to good effect and threw a slick planned ending onto it to close the set.
I had high hopes for Second Set to really take off, and it started on a great note with Jack-A-Roe, one of my old favorites. Bob did a funny vocal slip with his teleprompter and said "my fingers they
are falls" which made me laugh out loud. I wasn't sure Bob's acoustic guitar tone was as sweet as I've heard it in past, but all that little stuff aside, this one made me real happy. FOTD sounded sweeter in the mix and was nicely jammed by Bob and Karan and the gang--solos and ensemble-jamming abound, and they did a nice instrumental drop-out for the vocals-only choruses. Victim is another tune high on my list, and this was a nice extended version. Having seen Weir/Wass do many duo versions of this one in past, it was interesting to hear Bob relegate some of the musical duties to the band and stick with some sparser playing himself. I thought it was nicely done--I was really into this one. The transition to Greatest was a little weird. Bob's guitar tone got pretty crazy (he switched to electric here with a major envelope filter or something that was not entirely pleasing at first), but it settled nicely and made for a nice version--this is another tune I'll always welcome at any Bob show. Althea was the crowning jewel of this medley, an excellent selection and very nicely executed by all. They kept the litlting feel of a good Dead Althea, but also gave it some heft that I felt really worked. Victim > Greatest > Althea was definitely the highlight of the show for me personally. And we'll let Bob slide for wrestling with the teleprompter on this one, too. Kind of all downhill from there for me. I'm not nuts about Ashes and Glass, the drums/jam was actually pretty fun and let the band feature a bit while Bob did whatever Bob does on his break, but then Prudence seemed to really go on a bit past it's prime.... Great song, an emotional one for most in the room I imagine, but I didn't feel like this one was that cohesive. I honestly thought it was over more than once, only to have another verse/chorus come at us. I will give Bob an 'A' for dynamics on this one--each pass at a new verse had a different feel and tone/volume than the previous, so that was nice. And finally, Sugar Mags at a Ratdog show is always kind of a letdown for me upon arrival, but this one rocked pretty hard in the end, with Bob bouncing around the stage like a kid again, so it was actually pretty fun and stirred the joint up nicely to close out the set.
Though I was secretely wishing for a big jammed out encore, hoping against hope for an Estimated or Terrapin, I really dug the Brokedown closer. Bob and band all sang and played elegantly. The crowd helped on the vocals too and really sweetened it up. Everybody left pretty happy.
So, not the most mind-boggling affair I've had with Ratdog, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Much like a Dead show, Ratdog shows always have their high and lower moments, and tonight was no exception. That second set trio of Victim > Greatest > Althea will be my keeper from this one. See you next time.
Scott Judd, Chicago, IL
WOW! This show is still ringin' in my ears. One of the best live musical experiences I've had. Highly unexplainable what exactly clicked this night, but it was by far the best Ratdog performance I have seen. So soaked with energy, incredible jams, a great setlist, everything you'd want in a dead show. Grab the show from ratdoglive.com or anywhere else and listen. There is some serious funk in between Odessa and Eyes. First you think Music Never Stopped, then Help on the Way, wait, Easy Answers tease form the night beofre, wait back into Shakedown and then a clear Eyes of the World. Such a mind game those boys were playing. Check out the show and enjoy, as it was hands down one of the best performances Ratdog has played.
AJ, Milwaukee, WI