5/11/2002 Setlist, Photos, and Reviews


Saturday, May 11, 2002
San Francisco, CA


Let me start by saying I've never been a huge Ratdog fan. I've seen the Dead 200 times since 1972 and I always liked the spacier shows & never found that energy in the few Ratdog shows I attended back in the 20th century. However, I was at the New Year's Eve show at HJK and I must say that I was impressed enough to go down to Slim's and try to score a ticket for this sold-out show, which I did thanks to my kind guardian angels. The place was absolutely packed & it was hard to move. The show got off to kind of a weird start with some industrial sounding bass & drums. Pretty soon we were launched into Casady then Dark Star?! What was he thinking... it sounded like a greatest hits run through, not all that focused... was he even aware that it was the 30 yr anniversary of the Rotterdam Dark Star, one of the greatest jams in the history of the universe!? It started to sound respectable, then it veered off into Red Rooster which I have to admit was pretty damn good. A few more first set songs...Easy to Slip, and a perfunctory Supplication jam that went nowhere, then a very good Watchtower that kind of redeemed the whole set, back into Dark Star which was starting to gel now, and then a new song that closed the set. A pretty decent show so far, no complaints, but man there was no warning that it was about to turn into an epic performance... one of the best shows I've ever seen. Talk about taking things up a notch!?! OK, the second set started off with a great acoustic El Paso. The crowd was really into it singin along with all the high notes. More acoustic stuff then the electric set started with Mississippi 1/2 Step, and this is where the show took off into the highest levels of the ozone and you were forcefully reminded that this is fucking BOB WEIR and he is about to go for it big time. Can he pull it off... man did he ever!?! He went into the new medley Ever So>October Queen and it was so well-played, it was like a vintage Estimated jam dripping with psychedelic force. Then all of a sudden there was a bald-headed rapper in a tye-dye t-shirt doing some weird hiphop rap shit. "Wait this isn't right," I thought."Bob Weir doesn't even like tye-dye...." I figured he was probably backstage getting stoned and laughing his ass off at this ploy to hook in a younger crowd with this rap shit. It was really pretty bad; ya just had to laugh, but guess what? It started to sound better and better, and I don't even like rap but I know the groove when I hear it and this guy found it and took off... pretty amazing. So then Bob comes back out and only launches into the greatest heaviest most perfect sounding medley you could ever hope to hear... an unbelievable Standing on the Moon that was so epic that it didn't even matter when he forgot the words into an even better Dear Prudence that was just soooo sweet back into full blown Dark Star that had shades of Rotterdam written all over it. Maybe he did remember since they're all touring Europe this summer. Back into a killer Casady jam that was miles above the first set and on into One More Sat Nite. It was totally dynamite and the Brokedown Encore was the perfect finale. THIS WAS A GREAT GREAT SHOW!! I hope this band stays together for a long time... it was Dylanesque.....

Kent Kelp, San Francisco, CA