Don't laugh, but Corrina was a real highlight for me, with powerful acoustic interplay between Bob and Mark. This was a very straight-forward show, with very little space, or in and out segues, etc., but very tight and inspiring. The last five songs of the second set just scorched and the crowd was going apeshit. I'd never seen The Eleven before, but that has to be one of the happiest feel-good jams in rock music. The new bass player really asserted himself in the second set as well; I like this guy... seems like he's really feeling the love. And Gloria... good lord, did that ever rock.... Just goes to show you, a setlist don't mean jack, as that isn't a song I would ever pine for. But I was still singing G-L-O-R-I-A when I woke this morning. Same goes for Ashes and Glass... though not an old favorite, it is now. Bobby is the rock and roll king of dynamics and arranging, breaking it down and bringing it back up and breaking your heart.
Tom Bell, Las Vegas, NV
Last night RatDog was at Skin Pool Lounge at the Palms, Las Vegas. It was great timing; a buddy in Spain—ya, s’up Roger—e-mailed me about the impending show. I was swamped with work, but things were slowing down a bit, and what better than to see Bob Weir’s latest outfit. The Palms was suitably fancy; Skin Pool Lounge was a suitably lavish venue with a big pool and outdoor view of a cool windy evening in Vegas, with good shots of Rio and surrounding lights and stuff. Suitably, expensive drinks and blackjack tables at the venue and hot tub and wading pool action. Then the band.
So, they rock. Very tight, funky, interesting music that draws on the blend of roots that the Dead have worked with in a fresh context. They opened with a funky and dirty Shakedown Street, with some well-needed edge and that goofy Brick House change up before the final jam. Fantastic. Late in the song I looked at my watch and yes the song had been going for 15 minutes. I turned to Jeff, “you know those long songs are very fashionable any more”. “Why not?” Jeff noted, and yes he was correct I believe. Then a clanking Maggie’s Farm that is probably better than Rage Against the Machine’s version. Minglewood Blues, very tough, and still funky. Mission in the Rain, a nice respite to go get beers and a double Maker’s for Jeff, sounded good. Even enjoyed Walkin’ Blues. Used to fall asleep during that song at times when I used to see the Dead back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but with the funked up drumming and a sax, it sounded great. Yes, Bob Weir with tight funky drumming. We always wondered what that would be like. No offense to the cerebral and super drumming of Hart and Kreutzman, but we’ve always wanted to hear someone work the shit out of a high hat in Shakedown Street or something. Bury Me Standing, suitably depressing and a great new number. And then Scarlet Begonias, thanks to the woman in the red dress dancing with twirls and energy all about. Always great with that song.
So, then more beers and yes, it was the first Dead event I have been too where there was one of those guys in the bathroom. Thanks for the soap and the mints! Should have given him more money... very friendly. So, El Paso, yes a fine opening to a Las Vegas windy evening. Much singing involved. Then Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Ashes and Glass, yes again good. Then St. Stephen into the Eleven. Fantatstic! Lead guitarist was playing an SG; you’ve got the tone, man! It was great, fantastic, especially like trying to remember the lyrics to the Eleven and jostling with all of the people up front who were rockin’ out. Even liked China Cat Sunflower and I Know you Rider. Songs revitalized. And Gloria was a killer rock’n’roll ending to a great rock’n’roll evening. Thanks, it was very fun. Hope the guy from Atlanta had a good time, hope the guy going to see Cracker at the Hard Rock after that show had a great time, and thanks to couple who danced the evening away in front of me and my buddy, they seemed to be having a fantastic time. All right.
DK, Las Vegas, NV
Vegas was a blast. As I cruised in (without any pat down or even a second look), flask in back pocket, left handed cigarettes in front, I was stoked! There was a beautiful warm 85° breeze blowing in from the west, lighted palm trees, two pools, beautiful women and of course the Dog!
From the start of Shakedown I was pleased to see all the "older" folks dancing in the crowd. The show was great and Bob had the rock star thing going all night with his hair blowing in the desert breeze. I catch the Dog 3-5 times a year and they just keep getting better. Every show, every tour, every year, they continue to improve! Bob sounded great, definitely enjoying himself, feeding off of the crowd. I really enjoyed the Scarlet Begonias, which the crowd went crazy over, and the Bury Me Standing, which sounds totally different from a year ago. Kudos to the new bass player. Dude held his own and was clean the entire night not missing a beat!
Second Set was all around FUN and just beautifully played. Really enjoyed the China Cat, nice to hear them sounding like Ratdog and not just trying to sound like the Grateful Dead. It definitly had it's own little spin. And the encore rocked... what can I say, Bob Weir is freakin cool man, he really blew the roof off, G,- L,- O,- R,- IIIIIIIII,,,,, G, L, O, R, I A, Gloria! Veins popping in his neck, hair blowin in the wind, head bobs, guitar stabs, stage hops, now that's an encore! All an all, a lot of fun. Nice crowd, smiling faces, Grate music!
Cowboy Mike, San Clemente, CA
This show was like no other I had ever experienced. The setting was unique, as the crowd was small and it was held poolside. The show was projected onto the side of the hotel with the image being several stories in length. Hotel security was tight, and no second chances where given. By mid-show I retreated to the shallow steps of the pool and danced the rest of the show in calf deep water. It was a bit away from the stage, but the experience was well worth what I missed by not being up front. The band was on and Scarlet Begonias and Gloria will never be the same without dancing and splashing about like a little kid unleashed. I cherish every show now and hope the music never stops!
Gum, Phoenix, AZ