They came out slow and spacey and I knew fairly quickly they were going to open with Playin. It was a great opener, with a good tight jam in the middle that leveled out into an appropriate FOTD, with the crowd going nuts during the "spent the night in Utah in cave up in the hills" part. They erupted into Bucket which was extremely fun and rocking. Bob slowed down the tempo for a tad and played a lovely Lost Sailor (last one I saw was Greek Theater 6/15/85), picking up the pace into a fun and rousing Saint. Bob then showcased some solo material, jazzy and well-played, and ended the set with a crowd-pleasing Tennessee Jed. Again, they came out opening the (second) set slow and spacey. I turned to a woman in the front row, and told her they will jump back into Playing by doing the refrain, which they did. Bob controlled the segue by bringing the band way down just before going into the lyrics. Bob slowed down the tmepo again and played a sweet Masterpiece, singing with all he's got, slow and deliberate, which ended and went right into The Wheel. It's kind of fun what they do to the "won't you try a little harder part," at the end turning the song into a slight reggae beat with the crowd singing along in reply. This went right into The Other One, which I heard teases of somewhere in the middle of the first set. Well played and powerful. This was followed by a ripping Wharf Rat (could be the most heartful song sung), and then Sugar Mag. Encore was Touch. Never saw Ratdog before, and have to say, they have a great sound.
Ronnie Rosenberg, Salt Lake City, UT
This was my first experience with any GD-related bands since Jerry died. It was a pleasant surprise. Bob is an impressive band leader and Ratdog is a very tight combo. They operated with a set of hand signals and gestures which seemed to help with the smooth segues between numbers. Both sets flowed from song to song with no real breaks, and certainly no prolonged tuning and teasing between numbers. Even though there were several guitars on stage, Bob played just one all night as I recall. Also, there was a tambourine hanging on Bob's mic stand that did not get used.
The show was heavy on GD material, including several Jerry tunes (Friend of the Devil, Tennessee Jed, The Wheel, Wharf Rat, and Touch of Grey). Friend of the Devil was a sure pick, with its reference to Utah. It was done in the slow fashion, but Bob's animated singing style gave it a little more life than I expected. The other sure pick that did not emerge was Salt Lake City.
Both sets began with a jazzy prelude leading into Playing in the Band (Set 1) and Playing Reprise (Set 2). For me, the first set highlights included Friend of the Devil, Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance, and Tennessee Jed. With the latter, there was the expected audience sing-along throughout, with a real outburst for "drink all day and rock all night."
For the second set, Masterpiece included the gondola/Coca-Cola bridge. The Wheel included a reggae-ish outro which led into a smoking The Other One. The Sugar Magnolia smoked and the Touch of Grey encore was on the money, leaving everyone with nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.
David Yells, Pleasant Grove, UT
The best thing about Bob is that he hasn’t forgotten us here in Utah. This was my first show at the Suede, which was sold out at 800 capacity; good bar but it was a bit uncomfortable getting elbowed by the “cool” dude in front of me. As for the show… awesome. Both sets… over the top. As the sun set, the band played Friend of the Devil. Do I need to tell you about the part “spent the night in Utah, in a cave up in the hills…”? Hey that only happens here! “Even So” is a tune that grows on me more each time I hear it. Set 2: “When I Paint My Masterpiece” was slow and sincere, just the way I like it. Then comes the brain splitter, “The Wheel > The Other One > Wharf Rat > Sugar Mag. Perfect. Encore: an energetic “Touch of Grey” while the mostly older crowd wiggled their asses off. Ratdog gets better every time I see em. Robin is a great bass player who imparts a more open sound allowing them to get out of that Rat rut and explore new territory that includes some full on rock tone. Thanks to the crowd and thanks to the band, I had a wonderful time. Peace be with you till we meet again.
Ken Harker, Logan, UT
An OK show. This gig was kinda short and semi-disappointing in that the first set was maybe the best set of any of the four Ratdog shows I've seen since 1999. The second set was easily the worst. (more on that in a minute ...)
The opening jam into Playin' was creative and good sounding.... FOTD was warmly greeted and predictable, but okay. Bucket, Sailor-Saint was the show's CLEAR STANDOUT segment.... The transition from Sailor into Saint was intense, mesmerizing, and wonderful. It was also the beginning of this show's long, slow decline. Even So-October's Queen were as always quite solid. Then we got another obligatory Jerry sing-along. This time it was Tenn. Jed (yawn). But all in all, quite a SOLID set. Now, the bad news.
The second set was short and far from sweet. (A deja vu set opener of Jam-Playin'??? Well, okay.) It was basically a Dead set (no RD originals, one Dylan cover) and it felt semi-generic in that the majority of it could have been lifted from any post-drums segment of a GD show from 1977 or beyond. (Wheel-Other One-Wharf Rat-SugarMag? Gee, that's creative.) Strangely, it was also minus an acoustic segment which is a nice Ratdog staple.
The Masterpiece was the lone highlight (and the lone exception to the generic GD second set vibe) Wheel was OK and Wharf Rat was energetic and loud, but the show was minus the jammy segments linking tunes together. Songs just followed one another. There was no jam connection from to the other. Also, Karan's big solo in Sugar Magnolia seemed out of tune.... All in all, an okay night, but far from being a synapse snapper. Also, Chimenti was inaudible for much of the show. Brooks sounded great. Of course, Bob and Jay Lane were their usual wonderful selves; there just wasn't a whole lot going on. A solid C+.
Dayjob Fan, Pocatello, ID
Was an awesome show!We were right up front.Small venue was great.Bobby gave us a setlest&itinerary.Funny thing about that is the drinking age in Utah is 15 note to the band.We had a lot of fun and sure do wish Bobby and the boys come back our way real soon!!!!!!