3/24/2004 Setlist, Photos, and Reviews

Jazz Mandolin Project opened

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
State Theatre
Portland, ME


Seen almost every Rat Dog show in Portland. Okay show, but I still haven't seen a great Dog show in Portland. It seems like the band goes through the motions in this northern town. Must be the cold weatha. I did appreciate Maggie's and Let It Grow. Now the Hampton Beach show in Oct 2003 was a hot show, the best Dog show to date for me. See u in Waterville Valley/Bonnaroo.... Peace out

Andrew, Portland, ME
The first set was out of control. Even the jam to open the show right before Music Never Stopped was intense. The crowd was jamming all night long, and I'll take She Says>Liberty to end a set every show i got to. Second set was great, but of all the shows (Ratdog) I have ever seen, this first set will stand alone..........

Tony Caprigno, Boston, MA
My friends and I made sure to get to the show early, wanting to ensure a prime spot in front the of the stage. Jazz Mandolin Project comes out without Jon Fishman, but the drummer was great anyways and the band definitely got everyone pumped up for RatDog. This was the last night that JMP was touring with the band, so it was nice to see them play a few tight songs and get the appreciation deserved from the audience. They exit and the anticipation builds. I have only seen any semblance of The Grateful Dead in the form of The Dead, and that was at Bonnaroo Music Festival where I was about 20 miles from the stage. I was more excited for this show because it was a more intimate venue and I think that creatively, Bob Weir probably finds more of an outlet with the fresher sound of RatDog. Anyways, Mark Karan steps out and sound checks with a few riffs. My body is tingling, all I want to do is start dancing. The rest of the band walks out on stage. The crowd roars and a few of those people that we know and love start screaming out song requests. Hmm, for some reason I doubt that they are going to open with Dark Star :). Bobby looks great, comes out and looks over the now almost entirely packed house with approval. I see a little smirk peak through his graying beard. They open up jamming hard into The Music Never Stopped, an old Weir-penned classic. The crowd starts to sway to the music, then they bust out some Dylan with Maggie's Farm!! This becomes a mass sing-along. The sax player starts to tear it up. Next they took it down a notch with Mission in the Rain. With such a vast choice of songs that the band can pick from I had no idea what was coming next... but boy was I happy when they pulled out Weather Report Suite. Looks Like Rain was incredible, Bob was in top form. They ended the set with She Says, which was great, and then Liberty and Corinna, songs which I dont know if I have ever heard before but were very cool as well. I look out over the crowd and see pure joy in so many faces. This is true rock n roll, alive and well.
     After a shorter break than I'd expect, band strolls back out with the madolin player from JMP and starts to jam. All of a sudden, Friend of the Devil echoes in my ears. I was so into the music I dont think I opened my eyes once during this song. They segue into a reprise of The Music Never Stopped. She Belongs to Me followed. The mandolin player is still out there, making for a great sound. Jeff Chimenti is really laying into the keys. Next was Eyes of the World, which Karan really handling well. His solos were rocking all night, but i especially noticed on Eyes. The best part of the show was how the songs (in my opinion) got progressively better. He's Gone was great, and even though I know Bobby has had problems with his voice recently, he belted this one out, which doesnt seem easy... heee's gooooooooone. The bassist from Jazz Mandolin comes out with his upright for the bass/drums/keys jam. They jam this for what seems like hours. I'm utterly lost in the music, and the only thing that pulled me back was the first few notes to China Cat! Absolutely amazing. They jam this into I Know You Rider, once of my favorite early period Dead songs. I feel like I'm at the Fillmore in '69. The song ends and the crowd explodes into raucous cheering. Obviously they are coming back with an encore, but what song is the question. Well, they ended it perfectly in my mind, with a straight up rock n roll staple, Johnny B. Goode!! They were rocking so hard I thought the old State Theatre was going to fall down. Bobby is laughing as the rest of the band just destroys their instruments. Unbelievable show, maybe the best I have ever seen. Come again soon guys! -Peace

Derek, Portland, ME
Saw the 2001 show at the state and the setlist and the show were killa!!!! Bobby, Bobby, Bobby lose the chin whiskas and pick up the Ibanez. I'm a Teleman but your tone was not there. Been a DH since 1970 and proud of it. Sorry for the crappy review, but I calls it as I hears it.
     God bless you Ace!!

John Coombs, Brunswick, ME