4/25/2003 Setlist, Photos, and Reviews


Friday, April 25, 2003
The NorVa
Norfolk, VA


My first show of the spring tour... no letdown, let me tell ya! I took two guys that had never been to a show, and one decided he was getting on the bus.... He's looking to make a go of a tour this summer! After listening to some gripe about the band not being "tight," I have to say I found them absolutely solid. In and out of Dark Star like the old days... three or four teases before Bobby belted it out. I was happy to see a stand-up bass out there too to start the 2nd set. I miss Wass, but the band has come together really nicely. It was nice to be around family again, and had only one bummer moment... some idiot chucked a glow stick at Bob.... I think it hit his mic and not him, but I was pretty disgusted. Despite that, the boys put on one hell of a show, and the encore of Promised was a nice touch, which the crowd loved. The two guys I took couldn't stop talking about how courteous everyone in the crowd was... a lot of give and take in the crowd when it came to moving around. I guess I take that for granted... you gotta love it. Keep the peace, and take care of each other. People notice.

Doc, Camden, NC
All I can say is WOW! For me personally, out of the dozen or so RatDog shows I have seen, this was the most enjoyable.
This was my first show at the Norva. What a beautiful place. The owners set this up for sound. There were sound baffles on all the walls and the ceiling had an array of panels set up in a honey comb-like pattern that just sucked up the sound. This allowed the sound guys to set up in a neutral sounding venue. It aided so much from the very first notes. The sound in the middle floor area was so in your face. It was one of the loudest (within taste for me) Bob shows I have seen. It was also the cleanest and sharpest sounding Bob's guitar has ever been for me, including the Dead.

I spent some time reviewing the previous set lists on this tour and looked hard into the repetoire for likely songs to appear at this show. (Thanks Dave for a super site to stay up on the Dog shows.) I printed out the songs played and when to get an idea of what not to expect. I've learned over the years that it sucks going to a show wanting this song or that only to find out later they played it the night or two before. So, I was well armed with a list of what I thought were 36 possibilities. It only added to my enjoyment that six or seven songs played Friday were on my list. On with the show.....

Opened with a jam in D, the normal type of noodling we're all used to these days and then switched to the key of A. Judging from the tempo and musical patterns, it soon became clear the Star was here. It was a bit of a surprise since they did it only several shows ago. After an established run through of a verse (instrumental only), they rolled over the big E key and into a sweet and intense Straw. This old buddy was not moving to slow. It was obvious that this was a more up tempo and rocking show than the Richmond show. I felt that one kind of loped along during the first set. This one was different. Watchtower followed along with the good old Bob rockers Rooster and All Over Now. The latter ended with a different kind of riff that one guy said was similar to the way the Dead worked it back in the late 70's. She Says followed with Two Djinn next. I really think these are some of the better new (not so new) RatDog songs. The set ended with a Star reprise that ended with them only completing the first verse. This obviously opened the door to a revisit in the second set.

The next set showed its face with the wooden boxes part of the show. Man I love acoustic Bob. Blackbird was loud and clear and then a very nice surprise of an acoustic Candyman. Acoustic Corrina, This Time Forever, Shade of Grey run was simple and awesome. My biggest complaint of the evening was the amout of talking and noise during this quieter and slower part of the set. Bucket proved the bad thing that booze and beers at shows can elicit. Some ass hit Bob in the head with a glow stick. What a dumbshit. Luckily, after being somewhat startled, Bob stuck with the plan and proceeded to kick some big butt with a rousing end to Bucket and a quick jump into The Wheel. Then we got the Star revisit and tada... my call for the night, kind of a no brainer actually, China/Rider. The crowd really got hoppin and the sound and singing were sweet.

It was a very appreciative crowd and they showed it as the band retook the stage. Bobby gave Robin one little last word of what appeared to be a hint on timing or starting the song and then BAM! Promised Land. Awesome. This show really was over the top for me. The sound was great, the playing was crisp, the singing was clear, and the crowd was greased.

Working on how to get to Winston-Salem. Maybe I'll see you there. I'll be the one with the research list. Later.

Brendan, Richmond, VA