Wow, First I must say The Mule was Fantastic!!!!
Im looking forward to seeing them again at the HOB in AC in July.
Maybe the anticipation???? I have been waiting to see Ratdog since their inception, seems like each time they would visit the Slc area I was somewhere else. I have seen Weir Wasserman (pre Ratdog)once back in Philly. That was the barometer for me. I have seen all of the Bob Weir bands since 73'.many times. Last night there were many great tunes played, Weather Report/Let it Grow was excellent. However I though as a whole the show really lacked that special magic energy and meticulous continuity I have come to expect. They played one Ratdog Song, I was sorta hopeing for several after all it was a Ratdog show. It was sorta like they were barely warmed up and it was over. Seems like the mix latley has been almost 75% Dead. I hope they come back soon and play another show, an entire show where they do a couple of sets. More Ratdog or Bobby and his boys hook back up with Phil and his boys and those other two guys that play all those drums and do The Dead as the Dead. I know, Opinions are like...............
Mike T, Stansbury Park, UT/Phila,Pa
A couple months ago when the announcement came out that Ratdog would be doing a summer tour with Gov't Mule at the Depot i was very excited. i spent the next several weeks eagerly anticipating this event. i had never seen Gov't mule before and thought this was probably a very rare opportunity to see two amazing bands in a venue with a capacity 0f 1200.
Regrettably, i have very mixed feelings about this event. i must say up front that none of my regrets regarding this show had anything to do with the bands, as they were both clearly at the top of their games and presented their craft
in a very engaging manner.
The evening started out in a promising manner with my wife and myself taking in some of Salt Lake City's finer Mexican food at the Blue Iguana. As showtime neared we made our way to the Depot a few blocks away. After we parked we walked past the bands tour vehicles as an older head quickly passed us by nervously saying he hoped he could still get tickets. Turns out he was out of luck. The show was sold out. Last time the band was in town at Great
Salt Air, it was a loose and roomy affair. Turns out this was an omen for the evening.
i am getting a little older now, and i tend to really enjoy the atmosphere of shows with the older heads. They tend to be more laid back affairs in my view. i don't mind people enjoying themselves as long as they don't forget their are others around. This turned out to be the major issue of the evening for my wife and myself.
When we entered the venue official goods were being peddled just as the tickets were taken. We snagged a concert shirt and made our way inside.
Once inside i was thrilled to see how intimate the venue was. We made our way around and got a close up look of the Dead's old soundboard from the 60's that Ratdog uses. As showtime approached, it looked like a pretty good
mix of older and younger fans. Mule played for well over two hours with a clock perched in plain site for Warren to keep his eye on. it looked to me to be a token for the evening as the band played long and loose. It was a treat to be 10 feet away from such a fine musician as Haynes.
While Gov't Mule is no doubt a fine band, they don't quite cover the range of musical spots Ratdog does. To me, for the most part you get in your face loud distorted rock and roll. NO complaints, just my personal preferences. i am not that well versed on their music so i will not do a detailed review, other than if high octane Rock and Roll is your bag then they are not to be missed. Definately a throw back band. All in all, Mule played for well over two hours. i was initially concerned this may have cut into Ratdog's set. That turned out not to be an issue at all.
The problem for the evening to me was venue opening at 6, band plays around 7, they don't stop till well after 9. Add another half hour to change equipment. Now you have a situation, that gives a suddenly younger, party oriented crowd around 3.5 hrs to consume alcohol on top of any other substances they may have used before they came in.
i think this being an earlier week show may have kept older folks away. By ten o'clock tues nite at the Depot you had a young group of fans liquored up and damn well ready to party come hell or high water. Turns out the mrs. and i were the high water.
My wife had left our spot at little earlier to get some air and a drink. On her return as she attempted to make her way back to me she was met with aggressive and threating behavior. Some folks grabbing and trying to hold her as she passed, others swearing and threatening. i turned to find her as she made her way through the crowd and one "fan"had grabbed her and was holding her confronting her asking "where did she think she was going?" Fortunately, i was close enough to the situation to let him know he was making a serious error in judgment. He seemed to have a very quick change of heart. i realized at this point we may be in for a rough evening.
On to the review. Ratdog started out jamming into stranger. Very well done, Bobby was animated and making facial gestures and engaging the crowd. Top notch performance. Got the crowd going, singing along and doing back-up vocals for the band. Then something happened, The band broad out Haynes to help out on Casey Jones, the place went nuts. The younger drunken fans got very exuberant and began singing along enthusiastically(slurred). A younger couple pushed forcibly past my wife and myself literally knocking us out of their way to get in front of us. Their really was no room for them to go but they made their own and began to dance wildly swinging their arms, jumping up and down and generally having no conception of the limited amount of room behind them. My first though was o.k., excited drunken folks make a little room live and let live. Casey Jones continued on an excellent version rowdy high energy and excellent interplay. Weir appearing to glance around advising, trouble ahead..... watch your speed...... half smiling. Excellent, perfect fit for the evening.
Unfortunately, it seems it was all out of the bag. All Along the Watchtower followed with Warren still on stage trading of verses with Weir. Another excellent choice and well played. i couldn't help but think to myself how ironic Weir would choose this song as a near brawl was breaking out behind me, and my young drunken friend in front of me had taken up incessantly grinding his ass into my midsection. It was getting harder to follow the music. i kept
telling myself "no way i will let these people ruin my evening". Weather Report suite>let it grow followed. Beautiful song and helped bring the mood down a bit. As let it grow started my ass grinding friend managed to extract the pogo stick he had smuggled into the Depot. Jumping up and down over and over, landing on my wifes toes knocking into me. i had to push him forcibly five or six time after asking him "please don't" several times. The only coherent response i got? "come on man, there is only a few inches of space her mannnnnnssshhhhiisshh, huh huh.
At this point we decided it may be best to change our location. We ended up going to the lounge in back to watch the remainder of the show from the closed circuit tv.
Weir brought out the acoustic for nice versions of Peggy-o and Mexicali. Quinn the Eskimo followed and again was top notch.
The Silvio>Tequila jam followed. i must admit i am not personally a fan of this as it reminded
me a little too much of the Pee Wee Herman movie scene
where Pee Wee was forced to dance for his life on top of the bar in front of a crowd a bikers. Seemed a little to close
to home regarding the scenario for the evening. My wife and i laughed about that as we watched it from the
"safety " of the bar area. Stuff>ashes and glass followed, and Wharf Rat made an appearance. All well played and meaningful for the evening. At the conclusion of Wharf Rat it was approaching midnite. We thought considering the company we were keeping, the choice of songs and events of the evening we thought it best, to make our way towards
home rather than brave the potential after show events.
The band did do the old fave Throwing Stones>NFA.
As i said earlier in spite of all the events the bands put together a wonderful nite of music. They should both be commended for their integrity and quality of art they produced. For the life of me i cannot understand the criticisms of Ratdog i sometimes read on this board.
On this nite in particular Weir and his gang put together
an amazing production utilizing incredible forethought and song selection for the atmosphere of the evening. i can't help but wonder if a message was being sent, or more probable, if a message was received.
Thanx Bobby for a wonderful evening of vibrant pertinent music that after decades you still manage to make it all new and relevant in an ever changing world.
Graybeard, Saratoga Springs
Well, The Depot in Salt Lake City has to earn a place in the “sticky floor” hall of fame. We got there shortly after Government Mule’s two-hour plus set. The television screens were showing a series of seemingly unrelated images which my wife said reminded her of Koyanaasquati (sp). There was an interesting offer at the gift stand. Twenty five dollars would purchase a bracelet. Then, after the show, you could trade the bracelet in for a CD of the show. Cool (although not as cool as finding someone in a parking lot after a show playing the bootleg they had just made).
The band got right into it shortly after 10 with a bluesy/jazzy/reggaeish (could I coin the word “ratdogish” to describe this approach to jamming?) prelude before jumping into a Feel Like a Stranger. Always a nice way to start a show. Then an abrupt transition into Casey Jones, the start of which brought to the stage the hulking figure of Warren Haynes. He and Bob traded off verses before speeding it up at the end (a metaphor for an out of control train or someone in the midst of a cocaine binge?). Next up was a visit to Bob Dylan land with All Along the Watchtower. This incorporated a nice reggae break in the middle. At the end Bob encouraged all to thank Warren for his assistance. The entire Weather Report/Let it Grow was next. Very nicely performed. The whole band was on.
Acoustic guitar was Bob’s choice as a delightful Peggy O and Mexicali Blues made an appearance. Then, another visit to Dylan land with Mighty Quinn. Bob made a prefatory remark, I believe alluding to the song’s similarity to Casey Jones. It also seemed like Bob relied on a teleprompter for this one. I missed the call on the next one, mistaking Sylvio for Good Loving. This was another highlight for me, although the drops into the sax-driven Tequila romp were a little cheesy. This led to a first for me, Ashes and Glass. Quite pleasant. It trailed off into the missing Bob formation for some stuff and drums leading up to a powerful Wharf Rat. The set ended with Throwing Stones, with lyrics modified to encourage voting. A brief exit preceded a Not Fade Away encore.
As at least one other reviewer has noted, a little light on the original Rat Dog content. Nonetheless, the band’s approach to some of the Grateful Dead’s catalogue provides for some novel listening experiences. A similar effect comes from Rat Dog’s approach to the Dylan material.
A couple of venue-related comments. Like Graybeard, I experienced quite a bit of obnoxious, presumably alcohol-fueled behavior. I missed the pogo stick, but there was some aggressive shuffling during Wharf Rat. A guy near us tossed a cup of ice (just the ice, not the cup) across the room. There was a lot of dripping/spilling from the balcony above and somebody tossed some stuff up on stage.
So, I missed the call on the “Salt Lake City”. That would have been predictable in a non-predictable way. I think the single set approach may be related to the opening act. Although, it was not much after midnight when they wrapped and they could have fit a short break and a couple of more tunes in before drop dead time.
Finally, does Bob every use the tambourine riding on his mic stand?
david y., highland, utah
good show,but, worst drunken obnoxious crowd that I have ever seen. fights ,idiocy, and just plain rudeness. I started seeing GD in 1980 and had never seen a more agro crowd ever ! That's not what it's about people. It's about enjoying the music that we all love and having a good time. People in slc just don't get it. Boise on the other hand was epic. I hadn't felt that much joy since the GD at the Greeks
Mike Wallett, Sun Valley, Idaho
Amen Graybeard! I'm glad we weren't the only ones who felt this way about the SLC venue. I've never been to a show with so many drunk out of control people. And the ones creating most of the problems didn't seem like the usuall Deadhead fans. A very young looking crowd, that doesn't understand the music, or the scene. It was to bad, my husband and I were so disgusted we left early and went back to our hotel. It's not enjoyable to try to listen to a band you love. With everyone around you trying to ruin it. Hope to see them in a different State, and venue soon!
good show if not great show!!! both bands did put their footprint on what they do best on stage. as far as the crowd goes i didn't see or hear about the worst drunken obnoxious, fights, idiocy and rudeness types. being from the city and knowing over at least 100 people at the show, the people in slc just don't get it comment is very unfair. my first show was at red rocks in '78 and at any show you see the percentage of way to messed up, out of their mind type crowd. i did see some of that at the depot and that is normal for the scene. some people young and old just don't get it and if they are ruining it for you and your area you change the situation. you might of been in the wrong place at the wrong time or it wasn't taken care of properly. i was all over the place. up front and in the back, upstairs. i had to change the situation a few times and i always do, at the 100 plus shows i have seen. if you do it with kindness and respect and what is true and right even the most wasted people will get it. it just might take a little longer. anyway if you get a chance to see this stuff it is well worth it. keep an open mind and get in your perfect space and then enjoy. i am not always right but, i have never been wrong.
Marco S., SLC,Ut.
Sorry to hear about louts in the crowd, I was upstairs just behind the balcony seats and saw none of that. I thought this was a great show and I visited with some really cool people during both sets... felt the Mule played too long, but they were good.. Bob and the band played on into the night, treated me to some gems I have either not heard in decades or *ever* in the live venue... I'm already hoping they play here again next year!
Mike M, Henrieville, UT
Hot. crowded. loud. I wore flip flops. my feet were covered in beer by the end of the night and I loved every damn minute of it. We got into SLC from idaho just in time to line up. I lived in SLC from '91 to '99 so it was good to be back in my ol' stomping grounds (the delta center was just across the street where the dead played one of the last good runs in '95).
Every review you read above is 'dead' on. As I said we got there a bit early. My girlfriend and I were able to score spots right in front of the stage. Something we would come to regret at least a few time throughout the eve. But we sure had fun. The 'wierdest' of all moments being the set up between bands. Everyone left to get drinks during the break and with their spots filled in by other crazies it was very hard to reclaim the stage front views. but everyone tried which made for some pushing and shoving. I thought I would never see my girlfriend again. With her hair in pig tails and holding two beers she was able to twist and turn her way back up to the front. I stood my ground the whole time. Im so glad I did.
Things didnt losen up for awhile. Casey Jones really got everyone crazy. But than a miracle happened. Just as the first few notes of WRS were being played, the space cleared around a few of us in front. perfect timing. I had been wanting to hear Let it Grow for a long time and I could not believe that Bob was pulling it off in SLC.
There was a little more shoving throughout the night. I agree with earlier reviews. The "let's get pissy drunk and party" like mind set had really set in at the Depot this night. but we had a real good time. One of the best Ratdog shows Ive seen in SLC (Makes up for that furthur festival show of '96 at park west. that dog show just plain sucked).
We had a great night. my girlfriend scored a smile and a guitar pick from warren (a moment that unfolded to be one of my fave concert going memories ever). and I loved that I saw Ratdog at a great venue that was located on Karl Malone drive. As a Utah Jazz fan (no, I dont like the Warriors) and deadhead it was a little nastolgic to be back in Utah for Ratdog. The setlist was great and Gov't Mule rocked! (my first Mule show was back in 96 at the Zephyr club in SLC) loved the Low Spark of High Heeled Boys! I think we were one of the last people to leave. We could have left early if we tried and I'm so glad we didn't!!
desertdan, oakland california