We made it from Des Moines to our hotel in Sycamore at about 6pm, ate in the hotel restaurant, and went to the show hoping for more of the same from the night before. This place was an arena, but they were using just a pie slice. We were front row in the stands right behind the soundboard so had excellent sound and views for the evening. No smoking inside was serious as we had to put out some party favours or face ejection. There was a smoking section outside though, so all was good. And there was no alcohol, which suited me fine, although I did hear some grumbling.
Playin in the Band was a good opener and got people moving, but things really got going with Tennessee Jed, with the whole band cooking. The Deep End was a set highlight for me, while my wife enjoyed Bertha more than anything else. It was on her wish list and she got it. The Bertha really was exciting to see, with 9 'anymore' to finish it off. Does Ratdog always do 9 or do they mix it up like the Dead used to do? No matter. The Bird Song was a keeper as well.
The full band acoustic Victim or the Crime (if you're willing to call Jeff's instrument a piano, that is) was a first for me and I was blown away. The Other One was really rocking. The Wheel had some great moments, but the jam afterwards was where the admission price paid off. Absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed the SOTM here. The Sugar Magnolia closer and Touch encore were not the high points for me, but an enjoyable way to end the show.
castle, Winnipeg, MB