Upon parking one could immediately sense that a great vibe emanated from the Heads and then flowed through the city. Ventura covered in marine layer added to the ambiance. I tell you this because the vibe was picked up by the band.
Bertha is a good starter, but for the first couple songs, you can feel the band still trying to figure out the logistics of the fresh tour. Bird Song unites the Dog and the show rocks from then on. Rooster, Money for Gasoline, and Loose Lucy end a solid first set. The crowd began singing the chorus in Birdsong and didn't stop singing until the last "Thank you for a real good time" at the end of Loose Lucy. Or maybe that was just me. Couldn’t really tell the difference.
The second set brought on a fiddler and a mandolin player with all the guitarists joining in on acoustic. The great vibe kept rolling. A couple of times I yelled to my wife who had not seen the Dead, "This vibe. This is the Dead. This is it."
First You Win Again, blistering El Paso, everything in the second set is great. They threw in a couple of Bird Song teases because they never got around to finishing the song in the first set. Just look at this list and take as my word that every song rocked in its own way: FOTD> Masterpiece> Half-Step> Even So> October Queen. Great. At the end, they follow a solid Come Together with some delightful tidying up: end of Birdsong into One More Saturday Night, which everyone knew they needed to play.
And then, if that was not enough. They decide to return quickly for their encore and proceed to blow the minds of each and every person in the Majestic Ventura Theater. An a capella rendering of Attics of My Life. Staggering.
I don't know how the show will turn out on CD, but it sounded great to all of those who attended.
Hank Sassafras, Camarillo, CA
If there ever was a show that needed seats, this was it. Not a lot of energy and somewhat sloppy and, uhm , uhm, lyrically, uhm, uhm, forgetful. Very sorry I missed 2/9 show... it musta wore the boys out!
Marc, Wrightwood, CA
Really enjoyed this show. Seems like Bobby was playing looser than I've seen him in years. He really let the band do its thing too. Nice to see him smile at the beginning.
RobC, Los Angeles, CA
The show was great! However, the mix at the start of the 2nd set was a huge disappointment. I was standing about 6 feet in front of the soundboard, and the fiddle was absent and the mandolin barely audible. I was about to go tell the sound man to shape up, but he had one ear of the headphones to his head and it looked as if he was addressing a problem. Bob waved em off early so I suspect there was a problem and this wasn't just a bad mix. Anyhow, I loved dancin to the band in my hometown for a change :). I like the idea that Bob is singing a lot of Jerry songs. Mississippi Half Step was great. I doubt the Dead played it that well ever!
PK, Ventura, CA
Coming in at Bird Song I missed all of the first song and most of the second, but I absolutely loved this concert. The town of Ventura has an intimate feel and coming upon the venue was like going back in time. I wish all of the GD shows could have been in smaller venues like this.
Weir and Ratdog now demonstrate their true depth and quality.....the ability to stimulate this familiar transcendent feeling.
It maintains my sense of interconnection across the years. Bobby sounded absolutely great...never better and the Ventura audience was a warm supportive crowd.
For me it was a time to celebrate the Grammy award for the Grateful Dead. At times, there was almost a "painfully Jerry" sound. We miss Jerry,
but Bob and Ratdog have stepped up to the plate in a most extraordinary way. I feel that I am in their debt for a very memorable show. Count me in as a fan. The
encore was especially touching and memorable for me.
Teresa, Los Angeles, CA
AWESOME SHOW Got to love the security....A dozen Frank Stalone lookalikes!!!
I saw one of them take a joint away and take a hit before he put it out...LOVE IT
This was my first time to Ventura...I loved how the venue was so close to the hotel and so close to the ocean....I really enjoyed the acoustic set with Phil Salazar and the other guy...(sorry forgot his name)....Can't forget the Bertha>JStraw to open the show!
SF, Las Vegas, NV
I had a reaaly great time. I'm one of those who hasn't cared about RatDog and now I am changing my ways. To all those deadheads who are waiting for something new(can't replace the dead, just something new) THIS IS IT!
Ratdog is bringin' it together. I also thought that Bertha was movin' a little slow, like the guys were feeling their way along but it still made me very happy. From there, things really got rolling. I was singing my lungs out for Loose Lucy and then noticed that I was just onwe of many. thank you deadheads, ratheads and thank you VENTURA !!!!!!
Mark Radmilovich, San Pedro
My sister and I get to our hotel and on the 5th floor balcony a seagull comes and hangs out for twenty minutes,is this a sign? Of course it is as they played a fantastic show with not one but two Birdsongs and a little red rooster,the half step was totally awesome and the venue was very cool and the crowd was great,Ratdog just quite simply ROCKS!!!!!
Chris, San Diego
8 hours on a Greyhound bus, meeting up with a friend from Ventura, getting to a sold out venue, and still the people of Ventura came through. We were able to score 3 VIP section tickets.
When they came on stage the crowds vibes were amazing. They ripped apart the opening with Bertha, Oh man was that great. Bobby and MK blew up for what I thought was an epic first two sets. Ah yes, and then came the encore...oh what else can I say other than everyone in a fifteen foot radius around me was on the verge of tears. Anybody who didn't enjoy this show was too messed up on drugs because it was mind boggling.
Thank you Rat-Dog for another great show. Keep up the great work.
Tito and Brynn, Santa Cruz
This was a great show. The outside scene was a bit out of tune, but the music was mind blowing. When i paint My Masterpiece, my goodness if that didn't give you the feeling of the old days nothing will. There was a bit of a tussle, or to be more exact this big jerk got knocked out, but other than that the show was an amazing experience. There is hope my brothers and sisters, there is hope.
Benjamen, Santa Barbara