3/7/2014 Setlist, Photos, and Reviews

RatDog

Friday, March 7, 2014
Chicago Theatre
Chicago, IL

Reviews

I thought this music was great. Of course I have always loved Steve but he does cause a hole to be in the music as no one is in a driving guitar force. Every subsequent Chicago show makes me realize that I am proud to no longer consider Chicagoland my home as the crowds tend to be rude and loud, like has already been an issue, too much alcohol...just enough herb but we need our psychedelics back in our scene bad.i won't recite the setlistcause anyone can look that up but the playing was tops. Love you Bobby but I can pass on your delivery of Days Between, nothing personal it is just one song that I have kept to Jerry in my heart.

jeff, duluth, mn
Well, well, well...after a few years it's great to have Ratdog back in Chicago! While everyone looks a bit older, the band played with verve and were spot on the entire night. It was especially nice to see Robin Sylvester (sp?) back on stage and the double treat with Rob Wasserman gave nice texture and foundation to the bottom end. Overall, a mellow set list at first glance with some great sparks. Highlights for me: Rooster, Masterpiece, a fantastic Supplication (a huge surprise, too, because I often look past this song, and Other One. Other One, always appreciated on my end, but tonight it was a full-on spectacle. I loved Shakey Ground and Queen Jane were also super good fun. The second set will not disappoint, either. El Paso acoustic opener, Terrapin, and a good Easy to Slip were great. Bob looked and sounded great, he gave the show his all...I can't say enough about the rest of the band...they were solid. Is anyone else out there super-captivated by Jay Lane? He can put down a great mood with each song. The audience was great, polite, kind, and treated the venerable Chicago Theatre with respect. I enjoyed the fact that the sound wasn't overpowering and the mix was great...you could hear everything. As always, thanks to Bob, the band, and the Ratdog crew for bringing a great show to town. It was a great evening!

Mr. Kotter, Chicago, IL
I need to apologize if I sounded down on Steve. Just this line up/tour is very laid back and I still haven't recovered from the absence of a sax or a more forceful lead guitar. Very nice playing though. Trippy even though I probably only had 50 mics in my system from an old and questionable strip. Smelled very Coloradoish but not much variety, seemed a bit like "the best of a herbalists walfart". I am wandering from mentioning specific tunes but I still need to correctly recall it or wait until it is posted. Special encore in my book. I had a very distracted show during the first set due to obnoxious fools and coincidentally the ones drinking were the worst. Spilled drinks and inappropriate yelling. Would've been a perfect show/scene ifLucy and Fungus even appeared on the map. Depressing considering that's where it all began. Some choose sobriety due to genetics and /or poor self-control but cannabis cannot make up for the effects of alcohol on the crowd. Seems obliteration is the name of the game and not an enlightenedlove for one another. Atleast the music got me high, though I'd prefer a hefty side of lysergia land to go. Great music.

jeff, duluth, mn
I was pleased to see Bob and the band! Bob looked great and sounded outstanding. The theatre was beautiful! I will say that some of the people that unfortunatley happened to be in front of me seemed as though they were not there for music. They also had an annoying camera phone/picture addition. Its weird how something as annoying as that can take my focus off the band and music. Its cool to get a picture just not multiple ones with big flashing lights. Or maybe that was brain that was flashing. Wait was I even there last night? where am I now? if this hot chick laying next to me and why do I only have one crumpled up dollar bill left?. But hey, it was still an oustanding time and i am looking to Milwaukee!

Josh, Baraboo
I am tired of people critiquing everything about a show. People get out of a show what they want if you are so distracted about
Something get up and move to somewhere else in the venue!!! The show was awesome!!!!! Bobby's vocals were so impressive it's amazing after all these years how good he sounds. The band was on que I felt the whole night. I am so grateful that the torch is still burning and we have the opportunity keep witnessing this music. It's truly a blessing!!! So instead of looking at the negatives always look at the positives we won't have this forever and when it's gone we our all gonna miss it !!!!! Keep the fire buring my fellow heads and thank you bobby and the band!!!!!!

Cc, Chcicsgo
I am tired of people critiquing everything about a show. People get out of a show what they want if you are so distracted about
Something get up and move to somewhere else in the venue!!! The show was awesome!!!!! Bobby's vocals were so impressive it's amazing after all these years how good he sounds. The band was on que I felt the whole night. I am so grateful that the torch is still burning and we have the opportunity keep witnessing this music. It's truly a blessing!!! So instead of looking at the negatives always look at the positives we won't have this forever and when it's gone we our all gonna miss it !!!!! Keep the fire buring my fellow heads and thank you bobby and the band!!!!!!

Cc, Chcicsgo
It was 45-50 out yesterday and it felt like Miami for many people from Chicago. Being able to drink at a bar and walk casually to the show was a great way to get the night started.

The MNS never really got started. I will have to listen again because a lot of folks around me were just arriving and it was hard to get stuck in. Shaky Ground was a first for me and is a good enough tune for a first set. Queen Jane was solid. Chicago Shout Outs in Little Red Rooster and West LA felt classic and were played well but were not taking the roof off. Loved the Easy to Slip. Wish the frat boys were back at the frat house so I could have enjoyed it more. Jesus! Go to Kid Rock. Canít wait to hear it again and the Supplication as well. So groovy and fun. Johnny B. Goode was fun for some. I like it. Seemed others needed something more exotic.

Second set. Love El Paso. Love it more when Bobby canít remember the words. I find it silly. The Catfish John had people dancing near me. Not a song I would normally think was so danceable. You could feel things building. I am not sure if I have ever seen a Masterpiece and then have it followed by a masterpiece. But last night that is what went down. The rest of the night is just amazing. These guys are so good when the hand break is off. Best TOO I have seen in a long long time. Crazy fun funky Scarlet. The encore was very kind. They could have kicked down a simple tune and I think most would have left happy. But they just killed it for another 10 minutes.

Slow start Powered Home!

That One Guy, Chicago
Cool, show. Music Never opener was punctuated by a funky, hard-hitting Shakey Ground insert, short but sweet, Bob really blasting the vocal. Queen Jane had a little extra kick in her step, I dug it. Rooster was a serviceable nod to the blues and Willy Dixon, who Bob once worked with ("Eternity"). Greatest Story seemed to suffer from its leaden tempo, so it was missing the snap that I generally associate with that song. Went by pretty quickly. West LA Fadeaway was a nice long rendition with healthy jams from all and a cool Weir vocal delivery. They really took their time with this one, Bob's guitar way out front, possibly my favorite song of the set. But Easy To Slip was also gorgeously rendered and a very nice contrast to LA - this pairing was the peak of set one for me. I was pumped to hear Supplication next, an inspired choice for sure. Vocally the timing seemed weird to me, but the instrumental sections were nice. It seemed to go as quickly as it came, and then JBG signaled the clear end of the set.

Mix-wise, everything sounded great to me - Bob's guitar was super-clear all night, and Kimock, Chimenti and Lane all cut through nicely, as well. Bob's voice was in great form. My only gripe was that two basses seemed a bit lost where we were sitting just under the edge of the balcony. I pondered moving to solve that problem, but never did it. No biggie, but it would have been nice to hear more of Mr Wasserman's contributions. I saw him and Bob as a duo many times pre-Ratdog, so it's always cool to see them together after all these years.

Second set acoustic openers were fun. El Paso benefitted from Kimock's nod to the original on the cowboy guitar phrasings, real tasty. And I could only chuckle at Bob's continuing inability (unwillingness?!) to recall the vocals on this one, a tune he has sung perhaps as many times as ANY tune in his repertoire. I suspect he's having the biggest laugh of all at that one! Catfish John sounded like Don't Let Go on the intro and then suddenly changed. Enjoyable tune, great harmonies from the band, and not a tune I expected to hear. Masterpiece was at the top of my friend Vince's list of tunes-to-hear, so he was pumped at that one, and it came off excellently. Electric portion of the set pretty much ruled from here one out - Scarlet > Terrapin > Other One was a meaty trio with ample jams throughout. Robin took a crack at Phil's legendary Other One bass intro, which solved the problem of me not being able to hear him under the lip of the balcony for a few seconds, a welcome outburst amidst from that side of the stage! Kimock really gets inside this song in a cool way, I was eating it up. Stuff seemed to be a shorter stint than I'd heard it in past, but it moved through some fun segments, definitely more of an exercise in grooves than open space exploration. I wondered if they were up against the clock given how suddenly Bob was back on stage and the next tune emerged: Days Between was a nice choice in my view, just a great song, and esp. enjoyable since I've been revisiting the last GD shows I ever saw, in which Garcia belted a few gorgeous versions of this stately number. This RD version was solid, not quite as sprawling or spare as an original GD treatment, and obviously Bobby brings a different vocal delivery, but I was really into it and dug every note and word. Amazingly, I think Bob hit just about every line of this one (no mean feat!), with the possible exception of, "Valentines of flesh and blood," for which I think he repeated, "Still tender young and green." I see others think Bob should avoid this tune, but I am happy it's in the rotation, and I think the 'Dog does it proper justice. Not Fade was the expected closer after Days, and rocked out quite nicely, again with strong singing from Bob and a tasty jam or two. Then Bob suddenly put a real quick, clean ending on it, again as if perhaps they were watching the clock, and they quickly ran off stage. Seconds later they were back. I'm figuring we'll get a quick throwaway encore given the semi-rushed feel after Stuff, but no(!), they drop right into a very welcome spacey interlude and then finish the Terrapin Suite for the better part of 30 minutes! That's my kind of encore, a truly ballsy choice, and very deeply explored to the last note. I loved it. I also realized during this tune that this month marks 29 years since I saw my first GD show a Nassau Coliseum in March '85. Very thankful to still have access to this music and experience after all these years, there's nothing else like it. Thanks, Bob!

SJ, Chicago
Type-o alert: I wrote 30 mins above for the Terrapin Suite encore, but I meant 10 mins. Which in typical encore terms is still pretty epic.

SJ, Chicago
I really enjoyed this show. I hadn't seen Ratdog since the 1990s so I was really anticipating the evening. What struck me the most was how slow and bluesy the whole show was. I like slow and bluesy for the most part but I was hoping for a little more of a dance workout than we got. Actually, by the end of the first set all the people around me were making quaalude jokes so it wasn't just me. Easy to Slip was really nice to hear, as was Supplication, which made me really want to hear Lazy Lightning, which we didn't get. A bit off a tease! I really fell in love with the new (to me) take on El Paso. It was just a better interpretation of the song than the Grateful Dead ever did. More heartfelt and deeper instrumentation and singing. Catfish John was a big highlight. I love that song and this was a really nice version. Reminded me of Jerry. Scarlet Begonias was strong and followed the Dead arrangement pretty closely. Almost too cover-ish but not quite. Terrapin Station was dead on and beautifully delivered. Days Between was done well but it was yet another slow song in a fairly slow show. As was Not Fade Away. Wake up guys! We tried to get the NFA chant going but the band came out real fast before the encore. I guess they needed the extra time for the long encore and it was well worth it. I've certainly never heard the Terrapin Suite performed live and they really nailed it. So all in all it was a good show and a really good time; a little too consistantly laid back. A couple of the songs, Greatest Story, Johnny B Goode and Not Fade Away could have and should have been more balls-to-the-wall, but all in all it was a great time and clearly the band is locked in and making great music this time around.

John, Chicago
I feel that I owe atleast one apology and a couple of clarifications. First off, the bad part, I was not complaining to be negative I was stating a bold fact for much of the section that I was in. Also, when in a group in a place with assigned seating and everyone wants to experience it together why shoul I leave? I do need to add that by Scarlet or Terrapin almost all of the severly obnoxious folks had left, further cementing my opinion that they were not there for the music. 1 guy , that had been drunkenly bumping into me had moved down and though by looks one would never tell that he loved the music when I realized that I did warm up to him, but he left too. Eventually, the folks around us were more respectful to the music and others. I did not mean to sound down on Steve, I have loved his playing and music for years, but the show was slower especially when I listened to the Cd's. I had hoped to write a song by song review but I feel that John did a great job on the second set. My first main apology would be to Bobby himself, after re listening Days Between was very well done and brought me to tears. Jeff carried the song as everyone else was either too low in the mix or not doing much that part is a little unfortunate. I love both this El Paso and the way the boys used to play. I agree totally on Catfish John. Encore was big for me as I can't remember when or where I had last heard it. And that is my fault since I really haven't been to a fraction of the shows since 2003. Here and there but nothing like the years prior. Last comment that I will make is that I was a little angry with the Chicago crowd or talked like it, but that is where I grew up and still love it. I have always done my best to both stay positive and to try and spread that but I also feel that if youddon't complain when being bothered then why expect any change. People have been talking too much at too many shows. They need to change, not those of us that are already trying our best to hear the music and keep the vibes alive.

jeff , duluth