This was my first show, and it was a blast. Great vibe for us Toronto heads who have not had real Dead action for a long, long time. Personal highlights for me were: St. Stephen, Ramble on Rose (flubbed lyrics was funny), Ashes, NFA, and Tommorrow Never Knows. The whole show was solid, except maybe the encore. You could actually feel the groan, ha ha. I think Bobby had a good time by the look on his face at the bow. Security were... funny, actually. I don't think they expected all the smoke and dancing and general craziness that we all love. All in all a great time...hope y'all come back real soon. Maybe two night run??? Peace.
Mick, Hamilton, ON
I thought the show was REALLY REALLY good. Colour this Leftovers cynic impressed! I think I enjoyed last night more than any post 8/9/95 Dead related gig Iíve seen live (seen every TOO/Phil/Weir tour) with the exception of the 4/99 Warfield Phriends shows. Those guys really have their shit together. Thereís more emphasis on the song and playing IT well than just noodle>jam>song>noodle cycle that you get with Phil.... Personal favs of the night had to be the HOT Stranger opener, killer RO Rose, as-good-as-it-gets Masterpiece, and really funky Big River. Oh yeah, the Stephen>Eleven wasnít too shabby either. Bobby seemed as inspired as ever. This ainít no hyperbole either. Pass on Weir at your own peril!!!!
Marcus, Oakville, ON
Totally grateful for their return to Toronto, we were rewarded with an incredible show. The warmest Ramble on Rose grew near the wildest funk-fortified Big River. Eyes of the World looked right through us, and Kenny appeared to be temporarily shaken from the force that seemed to pass through him during that instrumental section. Ah, the power of being a conduit! Itís a great communion and we're all in on it. The wings of a beautiful Blackbird lifted and befriended us into a second set packed with gems of the ages and a riveting jam that held the pressure. Masterpiece was true to its name, Ashes & Glass smoked, and St. Stephen cranked it up to eleven, while the sensitivity required changing gears to get it there was a shared experience. A touch of brilliance. No our love will not fade away ... .. ... .. ... .. ... ..
Trevor, Toronto, ON
Well, well, well, you can never tell. Massey Hall is a strange venue. It's not quite small enough to have that smokey bar room atmosphere and not quite big enough to avoid the security staff. Needless to say, it is a non smoking venue, which is good if you don't like cigarettes but bad if you wanted a pipe or two. Also, the staff was trying to fight the losing battle of keeping the dancing bears out of the aisles. This was a minor annoyance at most.
On to the show. A somewhat subdued crowd when Bobby took the stage. Not quite cranked up for Stranger and Easy Answers. Queen Jane started to pick up a bit with Bob going off on the "won't you tell me, won't you tell me" stuff at the end. Good Ramble on Rose, a big grin from Bobby when he messed up the words in this and a couple of other tunes. At this point I moved from the front row to about 25 feet back because there were no vocals to be heard up there. I could see the mouths moving but was in the Bermuda triangle for sound. Anyway, back further, the sound was sweet and not muddy at all. A very slow tempo Big River into the Stranger reprise followed, and they finished the set with a solid Eyes. Well Done.
Perfect set break with just enough time for a beer and a smoke if you wanted. Second set opened nicely with an acoustic Blackbird, Friend, and Masterpiece, Each very solid. The highlight of my evening was a very cool Greatest Story that had that kind of "Devil with a Blue Dress" opening feel. Things started to really pick up and rock here. They lost a little momentum going into the Schoolgirl but recovered to rock this one out too. I like Ashes and Glass for a new tune and my oh my a Dark Star tease! St. Stephen of course is fun for those of us who never got to see it with the Dead. (I think they stopped in 83, and I arrived in 86.) Anyway, a good solid ending with audience clap and sing-along "Not Fade Away" and a "Touch of Grey" encore.
All in all, it was a good fix to keep us going through the long winter. The band seemed to be pretty on top of things and folks around me were boogying and having fun, so pronounce the evening a success. Over and out.
Ian, North Ontario
This was my first Ratdog show, and I was very impresseed. Having been lucky enough to see several great shows over the past few monthes (the Dead, PLQ and Gov't Mule), I was not sure what to expect, but Bob and the guys put on an awesome show! There was a very relaxed vibe at the venerable Massey Hall, and the ushers gave up quickly trying to keep folks out the aisles. Personal favourites included the very psychedelic Tomorrow Never Knows, a jammy Eyes of the World with great sax work weaving in and out, and the stellar St. Stephens/Eleven. I thought the T.O.G encore was a fitting end to the show (no groan from me). It was great to have a "community" show back in Toronto! Note to tour organizers: don't forget to schedule us in next time round!
Paul, Toronto, ON