3/23/2004 Setlist, Photos, and Reviews

Jazz Mandolin Project opened

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Burlington Memorial Auditorium
Burlington, VT


Started kind of slow, but had a wonderful finish with Sugar Mag and Brokedown Palace. Bobby sounded wonderful and looked great! Watchtower was fantastic... really good jamming! Definitely was a good time... can't wait until next time!

Sunshine, Burlington, VT
What a night back in some of my old stomping grounds. After a few pints at Nectar's, went to the auditorium and just in time as "Stranger" kicked off seconds later. Lots of energy, big jams and drawn out there, too. Masterpiece was another big highlight to close the first set and then we broke. A bit mellow of a first set but some nice jams and cool screens. Burlington is a family town, a college town, and the people are so mellow here. The venue being a municipal auditorium gave the show a real hometown country picnic feel, like a rec center when you are signing your kid up for soccer or youth football. It has that warm feeling. Lots of young folks it seemed. Set 2 kicked off quickly and I missed most of Aiko while outside smoking a cigarette. They must have taken only a ten minute break. I then hear the early licks of Scarlet and am pretty psyched because its been 13 shows. Nice jammy Scarlet, so groovin' and melodic, a nice spacey jam towards the end and then right into Althea. Interesting choice. Before I know it the show is waning and after the bass/sax sequence I hear Sugar Mags. Well done, but then the show was over and it seemed so rushed. I wonder if something happened. Something was missing from the show. Was Bobby angry at something? Did the fair turnout bother him? (Place was about 2/3 full.) Was he ill? Things sounded really good, but it seemed to be rushed. I had a great time and wished he played a bit longeer, but that's cool. It was short and sweet and that's fine by me. Had a lot of fun!! See you next time. Peace.

Sean, Guilford, CT
All in all, a very good show. While I wasn't blown away by this show, it contained a nice setlist and some very nice musical moments. The first set included a nice opening Jam into Feel Like A Stranger. The set really came to life after Jamie Masefield came out during All Along The Watchtower. After that, it was like a mini acoustic set with a great Me & My Uncle and Masterpiece. K.C. Moan was the only song I didn't recognize but it fit right in with the other acoustic songs. A nice first set!
     Second set was nice also but seemed a little short. Nice reggae moment in Scarlet Begonias and a nice Jam -> Sugar Mags to end the set though! I haven't heard a better version of that song in quite some time! And a Brokedown to end the show sent us out into the cool Vermont evening feeling very satisfied.
     The one thing I am critical of is that some (Jerry) songs just don't seem to work for Bob. Especially with the vocals. Dark Star's lyrics were hard to follow, and I love Brokedown, will always love Brokedown, but the song just doesn't have the feel that it did when Jerry sang it. Other than that, I hope Bob decides to come back to Vermont soon!

Jim Warner, Burlington, VT
A beginning to end, all-out love-fest, albeit short but VERY SWEET. PHATTY Althea and Sugar Mags, chill night. After seeing the Dog for the first time in a while, I was more than impressed. Best Dead family incarnation goin' nowadays kids. Check these boys out.
     P.S. Jamie Maisfield RIPPED the hell out of everything he played, both solo and with Ratdog. Representing Vermont well.

Russ, Burlington, VT
Show was pretty good, but short. Second set I expected to be at least two songs longer, maybe a Lost Sailor > Circumstance or something.... Felt jipped getting out at 11 pm (!) for a 32 dollar show.... The sound in Memorial Auditorium still sucks (in case you're wondering).
     I think at one point I counted 10 people on stage at once! It was pretty nutz, almost overkill with the awful sound of the auditorium.... I do wish they kept Jamie out there for the whole show though....
     I do like the new bassist more than Wasserman.... 2.5/5

Brian, Detroit, MI
Aaahhhh... Burlington, which is as close to a hometown show as I can get (at least it's a home-state show). Last time I saw RD there was back in November of '97 and let me just say, there have been so many positive changes in the band since my last Burlington show. They are just playing so tight now.... In '97, they were more in their infancy and needed time and adjustments to find their footing.
     This show started off with a bang!! Nice jam into Stranger, which is always a highlight for this dancing chica. Can I just reiterate how tight these guys are? Stranger segued into a nice (albeit predictable) Baby Blue. Minglewood was ripe, man... in a very good way. Bobby seemed to forget where he was momentarily, which is completely forgivable since they're doing some major globetrottin'. He eventually remembered that the Vermont phillies sure know what to do (indeed). Then...
     Bring on the acoustic! Completely surprising 1st set acoustic piece. Was so hoping for Masterpiece and there ya go! With the mandolin, no less, which complemented the song beautifully. It seemed as though Mark was really paying attention to how Jamie was playing. Very refreshing to see zero pretentiousness among these seasoned players and the less-so. The mandolin was a beautiful addition to all of the acoustic songs.
     Second set, the steel-drum is wheeled out. I heard a hint of Ashes & Glass only to be hit with Aiko. Wicked nice! The steel-drum added the perfect calypso element to Aiko. Ended up getting A & G, and it was great as usual. Set rounded out with a hot-hot-HOT Sugar Mag/SSDD. I'll admit I was a little bummed at the shortness of the second set...I even said a little "No! I'm not ready to stop dancing, man!" Show ended with a great Brokedown, which was perfect for me because I needed to slow myself down... start getting back to the reality of life.
Great show, high energy and the perfect beginning to my spring tour trifecta. See ya'll in Worcester and H2O-ville....

Tracy L. Jackson, Chester, VT
This was a great show, the first time I've heard good sound in this venue. The first set ranked amoung one of the best I've seen in many a day. The song mixture was spot on and the Boys played there hearts out. I can only hope that they continue on for many a years.

G.D., Essex Jct, VT
My first RatDog show. I didn't even have a ticket. It was one of those days where everything went just about right.
     Somehow I managed to get in, and am watching the crew set up. Next thing I know Bobby's on stage getting a level on his acoustic, Robin's walking around dressed all in purple. (Note: Bobby wore had on a cassic red t-shirt for the actual show) Soundcheck kicked off with a funky Althea, a personal fav, and then Scarlet Begonias from the last verse into the jam. This soundcheck jam was really sparkling, and I thought it was even more intense than the one that came later.
     As for the show, everyone played focused and melodic. I'm sure all these guys must be in the 'mid-tour haze,' but there was no sloppiness in the playing. The jam into Feel Like A Stranger kept most of us guessing; I even heard a Dancin' tease. Baby Blue, as a whole lot of the songs tonight, had a palpable political edge to them, I would say. At one point Bob addressed the throng and said something like, "You know these are weird times we're living in now, and if you like what your politicians are doing for you, then go out and tell 'em by voting, and if you don't think they're doing a good job you should tell them that too."
     With this pretty clearly in mind, at least to me, I picked up on some of the undertones of the song choices. That said, Minglewood was hot and Dark Star was so supremely textured tonight the guy next to me swore it was going into Let It Grow. The trio of mandolin-accompanied tunes was sweet and warm. This RatDog is without doubt a band that can play country-western music, and Me & My Uncle was great although I got the feeling Mansfield didn't know the songs too well and didn't really stretch out too much. The Burlington locals ate it up, however. Good ending note on Masterpiece.
     Yes, I do believe the break was short, maybe 20 minutes. Iko Iko was strong vocally, and Bobby was in fine vocal form the whole night. At the soundcheck, he really was letting loose on piercing slide, but the levels at showtime seemed quieter.
     Scarlet > Althea > Ashes & Glass. I had never heard the last song before, but I think the jam from A&G was great. I heard (what I thought were) hints of Dark Star even. To my surprise, the 'And Stuff' section featured a very powerful keyboard approach from Chimenti (who played very well all show, Keith-like on the cleaner numbers and very textural on the Hammond; he didn't play it enough, if you ask me) and finally into Sugar Mag.
     Interesting to note that some thought the show short. I had happened to see a small stack of copies of the setlist before the set and after 'Stuff' it had listed a Wharf Rat > Sugar Mag combo. It was a fast and furious night, with or without August West.

Judas, Rutland, VT