What a roller coaster. Bob was a sight for sore eyes, but unfortunately, it turns out his eyes were worse off. Seeing as Bob was clearly not himself, let's focus on the 2nd set. Thanks for the effort though Bobby, you're a true rock warrior.
Hey Pocky Way was very good, and very fast. Jeff was smokin on the keys. The Sugaree was probably the most energetic song of the night, as everyone got a turn to solo, and the crowd realized that the 2nd set without Bob was going to be a lot of fun. NFA & Deal were solid, and the Siding -> Terrapin was rippin' with great drums. I believe the rest of the boys in Ratdog may have had a coming out party last night, as they had a chance to play the songs a bit faster and louder than they might have otherwise. They clearly relished the opportunity, and the crowd really responded. After the Johnny B Goode encore, the band bowed with an empty space in the middle for Bobby, a nice gesture.
All in all, not what most of came to see, but left feeling great about the music we did hear.
Get Well Bobby!!!
Ryan Harper, San Diego, CA
This was an odd night for Ratdog. There was clearly something wrong with Bob. His playing was weak and untimely. He couldn't find the words for any of the songs in the short five-song first set, which I later found out was about four or five songs short of the intended set list. Everybody up front knew there was something wrong during the set break, which lasted more than an hour. Ultimately, somebody from the crew announced that Bob "had something going onĒ (pointing to his stomach) and that he wouldn't be coming back for the second set.
The good news is that the rest of the band really turned it up a notch in the second set. In particular, Mark stepped up as the band leader and belted out some excellent vocals on Hey Pocky Way, Sugaree, and Deal. Jay put on a drum clinic during NFA and Terrapin like I had never seen before. The others helped bring the jams to climatic highs and sweet lows. The second set was further evidence that Bob has a wonderfully talented band backing him up. He would have been proud.
I was really happy to see that the house stayed packed in support of the band after the announcement of Bobís exit. It turned out to be a really fun night.
I sincerely hope Bob makes a quick recovery. Seeing him ill and struggling on stage was sad because we all know he isnít one to back out of a gig given his amazing track record over the years.
Joe, San Diego, CA
Saw Ratdog at 4th and B here in San Diego last night. Quite the memorable evening...and not for good reasons. Not sure where to start, guess the best place is with the set list:
2/9/2005 4th and B, San Diego, CA
I: Jam > Shakedown Street > Maggie's Farm, Wang Dang Doodle, Ramble On Rose, Lucky Enough
II: Sugaree, Not Fade Away, Deal, Hey Pockey Way, At a Siding > Terrapin Flyer
E: Johnny B. Goode
2nd set without Bobby...
Yeah, you read that right, Bobby didn't make it back out for set 2. He shouldn't have even come out for the first set - but I guess you can say he gave it the old college try. What I saw however was the most disasterous/wretched/sad stage performance I've witnessed. It was obvious right from the start Bobby was not 'right'. He could barely stand, he couldn't sing, he couldn't play - he should not have been on stage. Imagine how Jerry looked in 1995 and increase that ten-fold - yes, that bad. I confirmed my observations with many other folks throughout the evening. I have no idea if it was physical sickness (ie. flu), sheer exaustion or drugs - but things just were not right.
I kept hoping he would turn the corner and get things on the right track, but literally each song was worse than the previous. My friend compared it to watching NASCAR - just waiting for the crash. Luckily the big crash did not happen, but after a looooonnngg set break - they finally came out and said Bobby wasn't feeling right and wouldn't be coming back. The rest of the band put together a short set that was highlighted by the At a Sididng.
I kept thinking of where I was and what I saw almost 10 years ago at the Chinese New Year 1995 show. Jerry's 'performance' of Ship of Fools that night up till last night was the hardest thing to watch - but last night it went to another level. There were quite a few times I thought Bob was going to fall down as he barely got his feet under him. The microphone was his enemy and when he did remember that there was a line/lyric to sing - he had _no_ idea what that line was and stumbled thru something/anything that seemed somewhat familiar.
He finally had enough at the end of lucky enough - he pointed and dashed off-stage left the audience quite bewildered at what just happened.
As the set break continued, I asked the sound guy if we should stick around. He was not fully informed of the situation and said he's waiting to find out as well. He mentioned that the rest of the guys would hopefully play a set if bobby wasn't able to come back - I guess they play together as Alphabet Soup around the Bay Area... So we stuck it out and hearing some familiar music was helpful, but the night was scarred.
I'll post some more if additional specifics come to mind...
Get Well, Bobby!
Tom, Encinitas, CA
I haven't seen a Ratdog show since April of 2001 when I attended the shows in Portland that turned in to the Live at Roseland CD, so I was pretty excited when I got the chance to go to this show.
I entered the venue early and got myself a good spot right down front, right in front of Bob's mic. The band came out, and the show started out just fine. When the opening jam made it's way in to Shakedown Street the applause was loud and strong. When Bob flubbed the opening verse I didn't think much of it, he's missed lyrics before. However as the song continued I began to feel something was amiss. Not only was he forgetting the words, but he just seemed out of it. The whole song seemed disjointed, and on the verge of falling apart at one point. Eventually they segued in to Maggie's Farm, and Bob seemed to be clearing the cobwebs out of his head, so to speak. He was able to remember most of the lyrics and his playing was stronger. That moved in to an average version of Wang Dang Doodle. Then came Ramble On Rose, and things started to slip again. It was the same thing as with the Shakedown earlier. He couldn't remember the words, and the ones he did remember he repeated a few times. On top of that he was barely playing his guitar. The only thing that saved this song was the audience singing along with every word. When an abbreviated version of Lucky Enough ended the set after only 50 minutes, everyone around me could sense something was wrong.
Our fears were confirmed after the hour and 10 minute set break. An announcement was made that Bob would not be continuing, but that the rest of band would play for awhile. At this point I decided to leave. No offense to the guys in the band who played great all night, but I was just no longer interested in this show.
Dave, San Diego, CA