Last night was a phenomenal show. I can't even slowly lead up to that statement. It was a gorgeous afternoon in Central Park with people laying in the sun, walking up to the boat pond, and getting ice cream at the little green and white carts that dot the landsacpe. I met my brother in the park and after ducking into the woods for a little side excursion we emerged freshened up for the evening and our headspace was enhanced. This venue was a place I would come back to in a heartbeat. The only problem was long lines for food and bathroooms--real long waits like a 1/2 hour to get beer. But there were sycamore trees and oaks all lit up and a nice view of the city with a gentle breeze once in a while. It was a true oasis in the concrete jungle. The last time Bob Weir played St. Stephen in Central Park was on 6/22/69. It was also 10 years ago that Bobby played Summer Stage. To hear a Help > Slip, a Stephen, a Franklin's, The Eleven, Music, etc. under the stars in Central Park was just awesome. It was all played so well and almost flawlessly. Every part of this show was well done and played with passion. This was the best Ratdog performance I have seen to date. There have been many outstanding performances, but this show really carried the energy and intensity that conjured up images of Jerry. It was a real haunt hearing Stephen > Eleven. I guess anytime I hear the Eleven I am thrown back before I was born to 1968, 69 when Jerry was pounding down the notes. For a brief moment I went back in time last night. That was special.
Sean, Guilford, CT
This show JAMMED. It was as fine a show as I've seen in my 30 years of Dead/Ratdog events. Great venue(please come back) and that NY crowd is the most knowledgeable Dead crowd in the country. Bruce was great too!!!!
Frank Daly, West Simsbury, CT
Great show! This was my first time hearing them with the new bassist, and I'm very impressed. Those are very big shoes to fill. Started off RAGING with that Music > Minglewood (with Hornsby), but they kind of lost me with that next song (She Says). The entire show was great. Corrina was a monster. Definitely at least 10 minutes long. Probably longer. Revolution should either be practiced or never attempted again. Bobby's voice just can't do it (and he flubbed the lyrics a few times). St. Stephen > Will Tell > 11 > Jam > Standing on the Moon > Two Djinn was as good as it looks on paper. Probably better.
The only down points of the show were She Says and Revolution. Everything else was played excellently, and the new bassist definitely adds a new kind of excitement to the band. Can't wait til they come around again.
Eddie East, New York, NY
WOOOOOOW! What an absolutely fantastic performance by Ratdog last night. It was my 20th Ratddog show in about three years and my first glimpse of Bobby's St.Stephen: we all achieved lift-off for sure. Having seen Dead shows in NYC in the late 80s and early 90s, I must say Bob's return to Manhattan is always welcomed and the Big Apple always seems to bring out the best in him.
The show: great venue in the heart of Manhattan in Central Park on a gorgeous September 1st day. The Venue needed more personnel serving food and drinks and needs a better way to manage crowds, but essentially the place was great.
'Music Never Stopped' was sweet as it meandered in and out of spaceyness and then Minglewood, She Says.... After this, the show exploded into Help > Slip... and the rest is well documented on the Web site as far as the setlist. The Slipknot was sick! I was very impressed with Ratdog last night - VERY impressed! My bro and I both were at this show and stoked to see the Help > Slip, and the Frankli'ns encore was just perfect. Bob's verison of Franklin's is nice and bouncy yet somewhat quiet as well. Excellent show Bobby! I just may see you in Albany!
Brendan McAuley, Guilford, CT
I've been to many Dead shows and many Dog shows. Bob was just not on. But hey, a not so great RatDog show is still better than anything else I would have done last night. Bruce sounded really good. Standing on the Moon.... Come on, kick it up a notch.
David Weinberger, New York, NY
Well. where to begin. My friends and I were led to believe (by this Web site) that the show was to start sometime around 4:30. We all left work early only to find out differently. The operation at CP was the WORST I have ever experienced. 40 mins in line to get a drink (beer, water), they ran out of beer during Bobby's set, and worst of all--the sound system. Bobby - GD not only were pioneers in the area of sound, but you played in front of The Wall of Sound! It was next to impossible to hear vocals last night and I was very very disappointed. I have seen many shows, and this was the most disappointing. And further, why is Bruce Hornsby bothering to tour with you if he's only going to sit in on ONE song (which was tasty). NY wants to hear you two play together. Finally, I come to the show itself. Maybe it was the sound problem, or maybe the lights going out mid-song (She Says), but you and your band did not have the energy I've grown accustomed to. Revolution was slow and a downer (never good when GD played it). Two Djinn to close a show! Here I was with a Music opener (standing in line for a drink) thinking we're in for a special night. And we end with you giving us She Says, Two Djinn and Revolution. For $50 a ticket you can certainly do MUCH MUCH better. See you next tour.
SLG, New York, NY
What a great night. The weather was almost as great as the music! The boys didn't have much time but didn't need it; they came out hot and stayed that way. This was the shortest Ratdog show I've seen and probably the best. Sound was great--not too loud like a few shows I've seen. Hornsby filled in with Jeff on 'She Says.' Bobbby's kids came out (i think they were his kids)at one point, and watched Dad; that was pretty cool. The band did a great job with Minglewood, Me and My Uncle (nice suprise), St. Stephen, and Corrina (which is always great). Great show guys - just goes to show you that longer and louder is not always better.
PeterJ, Clifton Park, NY
Given the setting--Central Park in the Big Apple just steps from Fifth Ave and Lennon's Strawberry Fields--Bobby and the boys delivered the goods, rose to the occasion, and gave Heads a good reason to flee Gotham City with a smile. Song selection was first-rate and upbeat, with a Dead-like second-set flavor throughout. For Dead Heads who love the Blues for Allah album, this show was a delight. Opener was The Music Never Stopped, and the jam near end of tune was "big." Help on the Way > Slipknot early in the show kept the good vibe going, and the groove was good. The late 60s Dead staples--St. Stephen > William Tell Bridge > The Eleven--upped the ante mid-set, although Bobby's ill-fated decision not to include the killer and dance-friendly "Lovelight" at the end of this epic sequence left me thirsting for visions of Pig Pen. Bobby then turned introspective, slowing the pace with a Jerry-esque version of Standing on the Moon, which made for some pretty good skyscraper watching for this fan in search of Garcia's smile etched on the moon. Show finished strong with a crisp, clean Two Djinn featuring a tight, intoxicating jam that led to the nite's strong finale--a return to the Blue for Allah era, with Slipknot reappearing like Houdini and morphing into the anthem-like Franklin's Tower. As is sometimes the case for this fan, whose first Dead show dates back to April 1977 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ, my fellow Heads, Mike and Craig, and I made our exit during the encore. And we got the treat of the night: hearing a mega-amped version of Franklin's Tower a quarter-mile away while hailing a cab on NY's famed Fifth Ave. Nice way to end the show with the Dog's relentless barking muscling its way through the park's dark inner belly. We hopped in the cab and said, "Roll away ... " and the cabby got us "safely home."
Adam, Westfield, NJ
WOW.... Ratdog was feeling the NYC vibe and the night was perfect. Great way to start the night off--Music Never Stops > Minglewood. St. Stephen was unreal and Me and My Uncle tight. Only problem is I have seen Jerry sing Standing many times, and Bobby had a problem in the middle with the words (not that Jerry was always remembering the words) which kinda was a bummer but in Bobby fashion really picked it up in the end and made you very good.... Overall one of the better Dog shows.
Joe60, Trumbull, CT
Help on the way... What a Beautiful Day! Killer spot in the heart of the Big Apple. I was calling the Help on the Way > Franklin's because of the release of Blues for Allah on this day and the hurricane relief effort. The Revolution > Stephen/Eleven was a mind blowing send-out into the night skies. Great place to see a show!!
Mark McGovern, Cuba, NY
Very special show. I can't understand any complaint about the sound system; the sound was beautiful, vocals basically perfect. Anyone who couldn't appreciate this show was either too wasted or behind the big rock outside the venue. It was a real gift; time seemed to slow down and any small flubs were easily forgiven. Hornsby really kicked the show off and his 'Across the River > Morning Dew' with Bob playing on Dew definitely seemed to evoke Garcia's prescence. I'm sure you're aware that Jer played on the studio version of 'Across the River.' Bruce really knows what he's doing and opened the gates very nicely. This evening was like a dream that you wish you never had to wake up from. (My 11 year old son's 5th show. He has been on the scene since '94. He saw the Grateful Dead that summer from his little backpack. Though he doesn't remember, it's in his subconcious memories somewhere.) Thanx Bobby!
JRogers, Bayville, NJ
I have to echo what several others have mentioned in their posts. I'll start with the positives first. I thought the venue was great; it was hard to believe that you are in the middle of one of the busiest and exciting cities in the world. It felt very peaceful surrounded by large trees acting as a majestic canapy. The music was a lot of fun and I enjoyed both Bruce Hornsby and Ratdog. Where I was, the sound was fine. I can't attest to anywhere else, except the beer and camode lines, and the sound was okay there as well. This was the horrible part to say the least. So few porta-potties for so many people? What were these people thinking? When you are also selling beer, where is the common sense in having so few facilities. I waited on the beer line for a long time as well. But the difference is that drinking is a choice and peeing is not. When you have to go, you have to go. I saw a lot of kids there and all you parents know when a child tells you he has to go to the bathroom, they mean now, not 30 minutes from now.
My other critism is of the many people around me who chatted all during Bruce Hornsby's set. I don't know about other people but for me it's about the music and showing respect to the artist. Especially someone with the credentials that Bruce Hornsby has. I think it's a shame that people can't open their ears as much as their mouths.
So after all that, it was still a very positive night more me, with the good out weighing the bad. In fact I was able to park on the street, which saved me some money and that is always a good thing.
Art Kaufer, Monroe, NY
I was very disappointed in the boys for this show. PLEASEEEE!!!!!!!! Listen, don't be afraid to tell the truth. We all have our off nights and this was theirs to have. Unfortunately I had to be there in the middle of Central Park on such a great night lisitening to a slow and off-rhythm music played by Bobby and the boys. Beer lines slow, sets slow, and Revolution... come on. Even if it was the first time ever played, make it the last. How bout a Strawberry Fields??? Why not that?? Bobby's voice musta hurt cause he wasn't the same old intense singer that he usually is. Well I guess I said my part, and it happens to be the truth. I guess I'll see you at the next show.
Homey Gromey, New York, NY
It was a beautiful night in Central Park, and had all the makings of an amazing night. Alas, it was not to be. Weir was odder than usual; he seemed to stop in midsong quite a bit. When he came out for Morning Dew with Hornsby, it seemed like he was having an LSD flashback--was this the first time he was playing the song. Setlist was downbeat. And the concessions!!!! One beer keg to handle 10 lines of hundreds of people? It was beyond ridiculous. The crowd was nice, though.
Ms. Pabone, New York, NY
Incredible! We came from Old Amsterdam for this; we'll come again.. Awesome show! Summerstage is a wonderful place obviously, but what a blast to experience this. Met some great people too sitting in the sun on someone’s rug.... Last time I saw Ratdog was in Pistoia, Italy (I've got to travel to see them) three years ago, so I knew they’d be good. But they were better still. It was perfect. Sounds like today and yesterday at the same time, St. Stephen, William Tell.... Great, great band! Highlight of the year for me, let me tell ya! Hope they’ll make it to Europe again.
Tjeerd Romijn, Amsterdam, The Netherlands