What a prospect! The thought of Weir and his band performing less than one hour’s drive from here. I had given up all hope of such a thing after the Summer of ‘95. (In fact I had sort of decided round about then that it was time to start anew and occasionally listen to other music... failed miserably.) It would not be the same of course, but a gig with even one of the Dead would be better than anything else on offer.
I had not been to Kirkcaldy in years but memories quickly came back. Medium-sized town with an industrial past and rather run down in parts. I remembered the Ice Arena from the mid 60s and had hoped that it now looked better than it had then. If anything it was worse. A grubby, damp, depressing place with a stinking air of bad frying oil hitting you in the face. The turnout was even more depressing; 300 at an optimistic guess in a place that could accommodate 10 times that. What a Scottish welcome.
When the band appeared, it was wonderful to see the grizzled Weir. First sighting for me since Wembley 1990 and what a presence... actually in shorts, sandals and polo shirt despite crappy “Summer” weather. Age gets to us all, but he still looks a lot better than 90% of the audience, me included. As soon as they started a wonderful jam leading into “Cassidy.” I was very disappointed with the sound which seemed muddy and distorted. My wife and two non-Deadhead companions said that they could not make out any of the words. I did not mind so much because I knew them all already--in fact, better than Bob in “Bird Song.” How things change. Now he can forget the words to even more songs! Anyway, enough of the moans. The band was wonderful. It was great hearing “Easy to Slip” and “Ashes and Glass” for the first time, and “Little Red Rooster” thundered and howled. The second set was even better. "Half-Step” and “Estimated Prophet” were magnificent, and I loved the way they jammed their way back to reprises of “Bird S
ong and “Cassidy.” The band peaked perfectly with “Saturday Night”--never my favourite, but tonight it was the best thing in the world. The encore, “Touch of Grey,” was beyond description... we will survive. How Ratdog and a handful of Scottish heads made this the place to be!
Please come back again.
To add to the good things, I met by chance the guy who first persuaded me to go to a Dead concert in Rainbow, London, March 1981. We had been out of touch since 1983... thanks Ratdog.
A Waugh, Edinburgh, Scotland
This had to be the smallest Dog show ever.There were only 50-100 people! Great! Bob showed up early at the Royal Hotel to meet about 15 Heads and take photos. One guy had him talking on his cell to a friend! The place was pretty big, seeing that it was empty [less than 1% full], but Bob came out jamming straight into Cassidy. A rockin' version into Bird Song, then a rave-up into Rooster. Excellent. Easy to Slip was next, then Bobby sang an incredible Supplication [sparks were flying!].You think he would slow down after that, but straight into Watchtower, then a personal favorite, Ashes and Glass to close the set. Whew!
After a short break [refreshed with good Scottish ale] we were ready. KC Moan was nice, then a fat Friend of the Devil followed by Masterpeice. Good stuff. 1/2 Step really cooked. Estimated was spaaacey then The Other One blew the roof off. Standing on the Moon was perfect, leading back into Bird Song, then Cassidy before going into a blistering One More Saturday Night. Fuckin' A! A hot version of Touch of Grey and it was goodbye. I hope the Scottish Heads can lure Bob back; he seemed to enjoy playing. [maybe it was the golf-he said he was up early playing.] Cheers!
Steve Holtan, Dunoon, Scotland
Superb show, fult tilt from the off! By the second number we are in a different place, and it doesn't let up for the whole set. The venue wasn't ideal, an ice rink, but the boys didn't appear to let this faze them. Rob's big slappin' bass and Mark's fluid and energetic guitar runs keep Bobby locked into the same song. However, the sad news is that only 200 souls got to see this incredible display. It's not that people in Fife (a county in Scotland) don't know who Ratdog are, they don't know they are playing and they certainly won't get the chance now, as the promoter wanted to keep it local, especially the advertising (Fife is a small, mainly rural area in Scotland). This meant that anyone else in Scotland without a relative living in the area didn't even know the boys were playing. Abominable! The last time I saw Bobby was ten years ago in London; the first time was thirty years ago at Bickershaw festival near Manchester in England. The Dead played Edinburgh in 1981. Sadly, those of us who aren't able to travel to Amsterdam to see Ratdog play a venue with a crowd (i.e MelkWeg) probably won't get to see them again. I will be disappointed, but not surprised, if the dogs decide to give Fife a miss next time around. Bobby told us earlier in the day that they'll be back next year, but that was before they played to crowd of only 200. Maybe they'll come to Glasgow next time instead and be surprised with an audience larger than a wedding party.
Neil Mac Nicol, Glasgow, Scotland
Great show, but who booked the venue and where was the advertising? Kircaldy is just getting used to the sixties!!
I only found out about it by noticing a miniscule ad in the Sunday Times-not the regular journal of most deadheads!!
Come back Bob, and let us know that you are coming this time. Try Edinburgh this time-golf courses are great!
Keith Geddes, Edinburgh
Can anyone who was at this show or lives here and who happens to read this please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
First of all the show was pretty phenomenal. I was slightly to the right of centre stage, about 30 yards back and the sound here was fine. Considering the amount of people here the set was exceptional. We got there around 8 (the time the show was due to start) and bought tickets 330 & 331 on the door. Which begs the question, who in the name of the wee man booked / advertised this gig? I only found out on the Friday afternoon from a small mention in the Daily Record. A travesty for all who missed it (and there are quite a few) and for Bob 'n' the boys for playing to such a meagre crowd. Let's get it right if we ever get another chance.
Ian Macdonald, Glasgow