Wow! What a show! Ratdog never fails to impress. The disappointment of their fall cancellation was certaintly redeemed after this show. This is the only show I will get to see this tour and if they are grooving like they were tonight, it will make for a joyful trip around the country. They really seemed to turn it up a notch, they rocked louder and were tight as Jay's snare drum. They infused alot of teases and nice jams, it was surprise with everything they broke into. The song selection was great, it is always nice to hear the Dark Star jam sequence, even sweeter with the instrumental>1st verse>2nd verse sequence they ran through tonight. Dear Prudence was magical. All in all in was a great show, I left sweaty and with sore feet and a smile on my face and that is all we can ask for from Bobby and the gang.
Paul, Detroit, MI
This is my 30th year of attending Dead/Dead related concerts and I must say this show exceeded even my expectations! The band was tight, but yet managed to explore the limits of improvisation. Bobby, in my opinion has come into his own as a front man/band leader. He has definitely stepped out of the long shadow of Jerry. His voice has improved too over the years as it has dropped an octave or two.
The presence of the saxaphone in the band of course lends it a more jazzy flavor and fits in quite nicely during the jams such as tonights Dark Star which wove in and out of the set list throughout the evening. I'm not familiar with the bass player, but he fit in nicely and occasionaly dropped some Phil-like "bombs" that I felt square in my chest! The mini-acoustic set was pleasent and El Paso has developed into quite the audience sing-a-long. The cover song of choice tonight was The Beatles' Dear Prudence and it was excellent and included a nice instrumental break. Speaking of instrumental breaks, the jam out of Uncle John's Band was a MONSTER! Bobby and Mark left the stage and let the sidemen strut their stuff and strut it they did! I especially enjoyed the synthesizer work and the motown inspired funk!
Overall, I'd rate this 3 hour + show A#1. Do yourself a favor and catch Ratdog in your hometown. They are hot!!
Eugene Groesbeck, Shelby Township, MI
Good times to be had with Bobby! Welcome back to the burbs of Detroit, and they came with some style. Starting off with the first Picasso Moon in over 2 years was a nice way to get the crowd into the show with some super cheese.
The venue itself was very nice (minus a flooded bathroom, which i just expect now at all shows)... a small place with no bad seats and great sound. Royal Oak is a young town with lots of late night options around the corner and cabs do not take long to get (by Michigan standards).
The Dark Star verses were very nice, even upbeat at times! Dear Prudence brought the house down as did Bertha (8 anymores). My favorite was NEW SPEEDWAY! Kids this was hot, some say the Dog is a Dead cover band with one member, but dang this was nice and Bob sounds more into it than he did 10 years ago. He really wants to be doing this; it is not just a job to him. Brokedown Palace was the perfect encore; I have not seen a show since last summer and it always brings the crowd to its feet to sing along!!!
Post show had no vending, but the bars and late nite burger joints were hopping til 3 am, so hopefully the band will come back soon, we enjoyed having them.
Mark Goodmanson, Livonia, MI
I was waiting to write reviews of the shows I saw until I completed the mini tour of five shows. Now that I'm done for this tour, I'd like to start by saying that this band is doing exactly what we loved about the GD in the early 70s... playing different every single night and playing each and every night to its absolute potential. This is clearly what I believe is a process that took many years to get to and is magic once it's finally created. This is what I believe Bobby has been after, re-creating that magic. And I say he and this band have done it, playing unselfishly and with the amazing amount of effort that it takes to do this, that noone else can or even will try to do. That being said, the show on 4/26/05 at the 9:30 Club in Washington was the absolute culmination of that process, with the show at the Royal Oak immediately behind it. This show in Detroit was incredible. The energy level was exactly what I want when I go to a show... very high, very willing, and crackling with electricity. This is an indescribable feeling that I know the band feels when they come out on that stage. This was indeed one of those crazy crazy crazy crazy nights, the ones we dream about hearing. When it works, as it did here in Detroit, each note they play is one more everyone feels. Its what were all chasing, and Bobby (and the band) is giving it to us. Thanks Bobby. We're listening, and we hear what your saying. Also, it was good to finally have met you on the sidewalk before the show!
Grateful72, Cleveland, OH