2/4/2002 Setlist, Photos, and Reviews


Monday, February 4, 2002
Hard Rock Live
Orlando, FL


I would like to say one thing about this show last night: it was incredible! The first set was solid all the way through. Set 2 the Truckin was unreal as they tore up the end jam 3 times. The Matilda Mother was a slight letdown for me (I didn't care for it). Tomorrow Never Knows was great! Some killer slide on Dark Star from Mark. Watchtower had a killer raggae breakdown and the rest of the set was also solid. I was directly behind the soundboard and I will say that the sound was as good as it gets. Plenty of room for everyone also.The show started at 8pm and ended at 12am; I was surprised to find out they played that long. I saw 200+ Dead shows from 82 till 90 and Iwill honestly say this show was something special, and as always Jay Lane was a fuckin animal! The only bad thing about last night was the drive home to St. Auggie!

Frank U, St. Augustine, FL
It has been twenty-five years since my first show in Upstate NY. I can not get enough. Ratdog at the Hard Rock in Orlando on monday was no exception. Bobby and crew were tight!!! Having seen the Other Ones, Phil & buddies, and Bobby three times since Jerry's early departure, I can only say the journey gets only better! So many people have complained that the shows will never be the same, the atmosphere not as good, etc. All I got to say is the faster we go, the rounder we get!!! Sure I miss Jerry. Sure I wish the surviviors would tour together. But I thank the good lord everyday for what we had, and what we have! I spoke with many before the show that hadn't seen any shows since Jerry's demise. They spoke with reserve about their expectations. After the show, no questions were necessary at all! all I got to say is that Ratdog gets more effient every freakin time I see them. I told my buddy during the show that Bobby should have to apply for a permit to do what he and his band mates did, and that was to blow my freakin mind! I love it! I will continue to catch as many shows as I can. see you there. If you haven't seen a show lately, you better go while you can.

Peace, let it grow.

Charles E. MacLaughlin, Jacksonville, FL
The 33 year old jammy jam virus has spread from Phil & Friends to THE DOG, and old Bobby has got the FEVER (He's still feeling it from NYE)!!! Weaving expansive tapestries out of ether, dipping back into the most transportational interstellar vehicles (see Other One in Tampa, Stranger/Dark Star in Orlando), it was all late 60's vintage psychedlic ballroom. Tampa show was packed like sardines, except everyone had shrimp heads and flaggellating limbs; Liberty and He's Gone were a sweet nod to 9-11. Orlando was nice and roomy, great sound and venue. When they went in to Eyes in the first set I thought for sure it was going to be one long set, but the boys did break and we were all good for #2. Truckin' was near perfect; I swear Bob stared me down, blaming me for screwing up the "up to Buffalo" lines, oh well. It felt like they slipped Two Djinn in under the curfew, just for the heck of it. Nice a cappella ending, and as us freaks descended on the now closed Universal Studios, it was as if the lunatics had taken
over the asylum; it was all just one big sick trip to Disney World, a magic land of lights and music.

Here's to a dose of the jammy illness all around,

Big Brian, Tampa, FL
Bobby at Universal Studios! Well, I got there at 6:30 and headed to the cafe for an early dinner which is conveniently located next door to the venue. That place is a rock-n-roll shrine. Memorabilia everywhere. The ceilings were painted with the late great rock gods like Garcia, Morrison, Hendrix, Joplin...........There is a full size pink Cadillac revolving above the bar. I headed next door around 7:30, claimed my spot on the already sticky floor and anticipated "just one hell of an evening." 8:00 came and the band started jamming behind the curtain. The curtain rose and before I knew it Bobby was singing "if this were love now how would I know." I knew it, I just knew it. Maggie's Farm picked up where Stranger left off and went into Youngblood. That was my first Youngblood. It needed a little work but never the less I was grateful to hear it. Loose Lucy, I think I have heard this at almost every show I have been to. The next 3 tunes were acoustic Victim or the Crime, Me and My Uncle and Friend Of The Devil.
There is nothing like acoustic dog. It really redefines beautiful. The boys jammed it out for a few minutes, evolving into Brown Eyed Women (another first for me). This is where the energy picked up. The show needed it and a lot of people around me started dancing for the first time since it started. Just when you think you got them figured out they go back into Stranger! All I could say was Wow. The set ended with a flawless Eyes....."We'll be back in just a bit". I marched down stairs to the bathroom where I almost slipped and broke my neck. That was where I witnessed something that I may never see again: There was no line to the women's bathroom! The men's room had a line around the corner. I came back upstairs, bought my $3 water and sat down for the next 10 min to rest my legs talking to a few guys I met in St. Pete and Pompano. Second set started and Bobby blasted out Truckin'. If Bobby didn't fuck the words up as usual that would have been the best Truckin' I ever saw. They ripped it apart and the energy was high. There were hints of miracle in the transitional jam into Matilda Mother. That was their third time playing this Floyd tune and what a trippy tune it is. That led into the Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows then back into Matilda Mother. Very well done, very well done and evolved very nicely into Dark Star which always puts me in a daze (a good daze). Watchtower was wild with a reggae breakdown towards the end which kept it interesting. It was that time....bass/drums (solos)...The time where I usually sit down to reflect on the experience that I have been subjected to. However the floor was saturated with beer and god knows what else so I stood this time. Wasserman is nothing short of amazing. What he does to that bass should be illegal. Back to Dark Star to finish it up. As soon as Help on the Way started the show just took on another direction. In my opinion this is where the show climaxed. Help>Slip> (and whoever would have thought) Two Djinn!?! The boys where on fire now and they let you know that they were still the best of the best. Jeff, with his Stevie Wonder like moves played an awesome solo leading into Two Djinn. Then into The best Franklins Tower I can ever remember hearing or seeing for that matter. The crowd was completely ape shit by this point and I said to the girl I came with, "This is why we drove 3 hours." Franklin's ended with the whole band singing a cappella into Bobby's mic. It was beautiful to say the least and I had goose bumps. Well that was the end of the second set. The band left the stage. Then Jay came on and did his smoke that joint routine He said, "when I say smoke that you say joint. Ready, smoke that" JOINT................ Bobby was cracking up, grabbed his black Modulus and said something to the effect of 'folks, first rule in rock-n-roll, never listen to the drummer.' Then broke into a Touch of Grey encore. When the band came back out for the encore, Jeff was wearing a New England Patriots hat. When the did the group bow after the encore, Jeff put it on Bobby's head. These past 3 shows have been a true inspiration to me. They truly are "A band beyond discription".

Chad Q, Boca Raton, FL
O.K. - So I get over to Universal CityWalk in the middle of the afternoon and I am flying solo. My friends, who actually HAVE to work and aren't on vacation like myself, will not be arriving until 6:00 p.m. so I have some time on my hands. I start kickin' it around CityWalk like a tourist, checking out all the sights and sounds, taking in the cheesy atmosphere, and just generally wasting time. About 4:00 p.m., I decide it's time for some grub and a cold one, and I head over to the Hard Rock Cafe, which by the way has a pretty killer happy hour. At 4:20 p.m., with small gatherings of Heads scattered about the bar, the head bartender calls the attention of everyone in the establishment, and as a friendly reminder, proclaims loudly that's it is indeed 420, and to fire it up! I kinda thought that was cool, and the evening really started then.

Talked at the bar with a recovering alcoholic who was drinking virgin drinks about the merits of RatDog, his Weirness, and other random topics. Cool dude. Anyhow, it's now 6:00 p.m. And time to meet up with my amigos...

...I meet up with my buddies and after some discussion and debate, decide to kick it right back to the Hard Rock, because the happy hour was pretty good and the food ain't bad. Chill with them until 6:50 p.m., then I hand them their tickets, and since they were still eating, decide to hit the opening of the doors at 7:00 p.m. prompt, to try to secure a good spot up front in between Bobby and Kenny B. There was a pretty small line that had formed outside, but I got in quickly, grabbed a tall beer, and then found a seat on the floor, about three people deep from the rail, and right in the spot I was looking for.

A little piece on the venue - I totally dug the place! Very open and airy, a killer bar lining the back of the joint serving a wide selection of draft and bottled beer and premium liquor, great acoustics, and security which always seemed to turn their backs and were never a "presence". Very impressed with Hard Rock Live. Only needed a few more heads in the men's room, but I digress...

The show started almost on time, and they began in a very cool fashion. They had a huge curtain draped down in front of the stage. All of sudden, you could hear Jay dropping down a phat beat on the drums, and the others quickly joined in, with the curtain remaining down the whole time. After two or three minutes, the curtain was finally raised to reveal the greatest band on the planet right now. All the guys were looking good and refreshed, and you could tell on their faces that the night was gonna be special.

The little jam at the beginning finally wound into a "Stranger" opener, which began a little disjointed (both musically and vocally), but it is such a quirky song anyway, I really didn't seem to mind. Not a bad version of "Stranger", but definitely not one of the best. Anyhow, "Maggie's Farm" was next, and Bobby displayed his prowess on the slide guitar and the 'Dog really ripped it to shreds. I love their arrangement of this tune, really friggin' funky. "Youngblood" followed, and was a welcome treat to these ears, since it has probably been since 96 or 97 that I last heard them play it. Very cool rendition, especially with everyone chiming in on the vocals. "Loose Lucy" kinda came out of nowhere and was a blast, a virtual sing-along. I think this was the first RatDog "Loose Lucy" that I was completely impressed with. They nailed it, in a big way, and the crowd went nuts. The acoustic portion featured Bob & Rob on an always eerie "Victim", then an over-the-top version of "Me & My Uncle" with MK just ripping the acoustic lead and Bobby slingin' some great vocals. It was time for another sing-along, and Bobby then breaks out "Friend of the Devil" to a HUGE ovation from the crowd. I can never get tired of "FOTD". After finishing "FOTD", Bobby strapped the black Modulus back on and the band began a really catchy jam, which just stinked of "Birdsong", and I kept waited for them to bust it out. But wait - out of nowhere - "Brown Eyed Women". Once again, MK just totally shredded the shit out of the solo, and Bobby gave him plenty of space to continue to spin his musical web. MK jammed for so long, there was really no time left for Kenny B. to do his thing on the saxamaphone, but I didn't mind. "Brown-Eyed Women" winds down, and I am still waiting for the "Birdsong" which never came, but they bust out "Eyes" instead, and I am a more fulfilled man today because of it. It SMOKED! Best version ever by RatDog. Bobby's vocals and guitar work were straight butter. MK did his thing again, but it was Kenny B's turn to shine. That kid blew more phat sax during that song, I honestly thought his friggin' head might pop off. The crowd was so into Kenny. After one of his very extended solos, Kenny just lifted his instrument up to his head, and began panting from exhaustion, with a HUGE shit-eatin' grin on his face. He then retired backstage for a minute or two to regroup, then the band finally finished up "Eyes". It was epic. End of first set. Things just heating up. My face hurts from smiling so much, and the night's about to get interesting...

During the setbreak, I head outside for some fresh air and to give a quick call to Dave_ to report the first set, and I can only gush on the phone, because the first set was pretty damn sick. Back inside for a very refreshing draft beer, chat with my boys about the first set, and resume our position on the floor, although were are now about halfway in between the stage and the soundboard, with much more room for shakin' our bones, and easier paths to the bar and the restrooms. I have this really funny feeling that I'm about to have my mind blown to pieces...

...Another killer jam to begin the second set, which turned straight into "Truckin", and it was one for the ages. I think Bobby made it completely through the song without flubbing the lyrics! As one can expect, the crowd is SO diggin' the selection, and huge clouds of puffy smoke began forming everywhere, a sight to behold. As they closed out "Truckin'", the boys launched right into a complete "Miracle Jam", and they almost started "Miracle" several times during the extended jam. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised when they turned that "Miracle Jam" into "Matilda Mother". What a killer job the 'Dog does with this one. Holy shit! Tons of people were looking around trying to figure out what in the hell RatDog was playing, but having been familiar with the post-Christmas mini-run, I was completely dialed in for the whole sequence. Don't get me wrong, people were totally diggin' the "Matilda Mother>TNK>Matilda Mother" sequence. Jay Lane really earned his keep during these tunes, just driving the band further and further, and finally into "Dark Star". WHAT??!! Are you kidding me??!! Totally killer, with Bobby's guitar just sprinkling drops of liquid silver all over our brains. They only complete the first verse before launching into a fiery "Watchtower", with MK once again struttin' his stuff and Bobby SO into the lyrics. "Bass/Drums" is up next, and it was odd, and cool, and trippy, and funky, as always. The band then steers back into "Dark Star" and completes the second verse before busting out a HUGE "Help>Slip!". Incredibly tight, everyone (the band and the crowd) just feeding off of each other, THE INTENSITY, THE ENERGY, THE FUCKIN' WILL TO LIVE. Just amazing stuff. The band just drops off after the "Slip!" and hands the reigns over the Jeff who jumps into a crazy-cool piano solo which winds up as an extended introduction to "Two Djinn", my favorite tune off of Evening Moods, and it did not disappoint. It was nailed, with the boys all displaying their chops. I am absolutely giddy at this point, knowing that a "Franklin's" is just around the corner. It came, in the BIGGEST WAY POSSIBLE, and RatDog turned in their best effort of the night, just tearing it up. They segued into a little reggae breakdown before bringing the song back up for a triumphant ending. To close the show, all members quickly dropped their instruments and headed for the center of the stage for their obligatory bow, while the crowd is still singin' the "roll away the dew" chorus. The guys can't resist so they all join the crowd and start singin' along with the crowd into Bobby's mic, with their arms around one another, and Jay leading the charge, before surrendering to the final bow. AMAZING! Like I said, the energy was unparallel, and the guys could FEEL it...it was special...

...Smiles are all around at this point, and I mean ALL-AROUND, and my face is really hurting at this point from a case of perma-grin. I am pretty spent, but completely filled up with emotion. It's at this point that I remember that the four guys I took to this show with me were Dead-family virgins (no Dead, RatDog, Phil Lesh & Friends, The Other Ones, CRSB, Planet Drum, etc. shows to their credit). However, you would have never known. They were havin' the best time, and they didn't stop jamming and dancing the whole night. Of course, RatDog did play some familiar tunes which they recognized, but that wasn't it. They were completely blown away, and I think the 'Dog earned four new fans for life. Anyhow, I'm digressing again...

As if they couldn't top off that "Franklin's" ending, the encored with "Touch" and it couldn't be TOUCHED. Abso-friggin'-lutely SMOKIN'. Great false ending to "Touch", with the boys just not wanting to let it go, and not wanting to get off stage, they were truly having that much fun.

All in all, and I'm sure everyone is tired of this long-winded and gushy review by now, last night's gig goes down as my favorite RatDog show of all-time. It was THAT good. Killer setlist, amazing energy, cool venue, great friends.

RUN - Don't Walk - RUN to a RatDog show near you very soon. It will not disappoint.

Patrick Letton, Florence Y'all