What an amazing show!!! The energy was incredible and everyone was hyped up well before the band even hit the stage. Being Halloween also put a nice spin on things. This was my first Halloween night show and it won't be my last. They played a LONG set, and I believe it was after 1:00am when we exited the venue. The sound in The Docks was loud and clear with what I thought was great acoustics. They were really in a groove last night and everything flowed nicely. The opener (Help) was a nice start and they broke out some good jams. Kenny adds such a nice slant on some of the Dead songs and the guy has a great feel for the jam and funk sounds. Glad I purchased the CD there as I can't wait to relive this night again. Peace :)
Jenn, Guelph, ON
With the ringing in my ears still fresh (literally) from last night's show, here are some memories....
I hadn't seen the band since the Massey Hall show in T.O. a couple of years back (a great show).... Tonight, I was just hoping to get some of that again, and the boys didn't disappoint.
Right from the get-go Help on the Way blasted the message that they meant business and the jazzy Slipknot was nice and groovy leading into the first highlight of the night--Loser--with the entire crowd singing each word. It brought goosebumps. The second half of the tune lost the momentum but the opener served its purpose; the band and audience were linked up.
Jack Straw, always nice to hear was well played, but the highlight of the set, and night, was the WRS->Let it Grow. Man was it both beautiful and THICK. With the volume finally turned up people were cutting RUG. When the set finally ended (it seemed very long), the buzz was at a frenzy and big smiles all around.
Second set started off acoustic--who can complain with El Paso? Always a treat to harken back to the good ol' days. Then the next highlight of the night--Bobby singing A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall... just cool. What an amazing song and Bobby like Bob is the consumate storyteller. As an aside, it seemed as if Ratdog has taken a page from Dylan in how they play in beats of 3 instead of 2, something which Dylan alludes to in his Chronicles that opens up the singer's creative options....
Half Step was incredible. Karan was all over it and the energy in the room spiked, leading into a bit of a clumsy Other One, although it did have its moments. But then runner up for Highlight of the Night was next--Wharf Rat. Wow. Heartfelt. Solid. Uplifting. The venue is called The Docks, and it is down at the harbourfront outside the city in an industrial zone, and when Bobby belted "Down by the docks of the City" a big smile. Man, a big, big, smile. Throwing Stones with "It's the American Way, sell them guns, start a war today" lead into a tight segway into Slipknot for a the final few bars, and then Franklin's Tower with a false ending that reminded me of the Lovelight back in the day when Weir would kick it up again... oftentimes on his own surprising the Dead.
Probably the worst kept secret was the Werewolves encore, but the best kept secret was seeing Bobby dudded up in a costume. Ahh now THERE'S a Kodak moment.
All around good times... long show, never dragged, audience was attentive for a Toronto crowd, and I left wondering why in the world I didn't get my act together and see them in Buffalo beforehand. For this ol' Deadhead, they can retire the Dead if it means that we get more Ratdog. Kudos Bobby. So nice to feel that way again.
Josh Cohen, Toronto, ON
It was one hell of a night! With the whole Vegas weekend, Canada got lucky. I no clue if Toronto has had a Halloween show from a band like this, so I'm sure I speek for everyone at The Docks when I say Thank You Rat-Dog and to Jeff for having the Canadian flag over front of his keyboards. The show was real tight. Kicking it off with Help > Slipknot is always nice. Jack Straw > Bird Song was real cool. Canada would be the place to show you snow and rain. A real nice job of So Many Roads; I'd never heard this live before. Weather > Let It Grow closed out the first set.
Second set was even better. El Paso stated it off, but it was Dylan's A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall that topped it for me. Where's my old man when I need him. Trippy Other One for sure. Wharf Rat slapped me right in the face; I can't believe I didn't see that one coming. Throwing Stones always gets the crowd going, and Franklin's keept us rolling to the end. But of couse Werewolves Of London with Bobby all dressed up made the Halloween night. Thanks again... please come back!
Daniel O'Connor, Canada
First off, let me thank Bobby and the boys for coming up to our fair city. Not having to deal with anal customs agents is always a bonus. The venue was intimate with GRATEFUL SOUND. One of the best shows I've seen in a long while with a lot of classics I always love to hear. Loser was a real treat, as was Let it Grow and The Other One/Warf Rat. Also, it was my first time hearing Werewolves of London since London 1990--also Halloween.
Bobby in makeup was fun to see. Talk about getting your money's worth. The band got on about 9:20 or so and finished at 1:15am. ($40 Canadian) Fun was had by all. Lots Of LOVE to Everyone out there.
P.S. Love the Sax
Tevan, Toronto, ON
This was one of the best shows I've ever witnessed.... The Help > Slip > Loser opener... great way to start! Slow tempo Jack Straw. The Bird Song was beautiful, thinking a lot about Bobby and Janis. (Festival Express!) First Odessa I've heard and loved it. I never thought I liked Picasso Moon until tonight; it was unreal. The acoustics are bang-on at The Docks. Although most of security were mostly all power tripping and impatient near the end of the show, you could smoke freely. I was hoping for a Weather Report > Let it Grow and got it!
The second set, Bobby came out with his acoustic and impressed with El Paso > Hard Rain. The night was a roller coster ride of emotions with Ratdog at the wheel; lots of nice dark themes released with love and beauty. I lost my cousin and all my friends but Sonia and spent the first half of this set worried and searching.... I was left frozen and amazed after Bobby left, while the band manipulated time and space. Bobby returned only to drop the bomb on the other tune was hoping for; I still remember my first one in Atlanta with Ryan in Spring 1992, 'a bus to never ever land.' The Wharf Rat made me hopeful for us all, especially those getting out after being jailed trying to open people's minds. Throwing Stones was fitting for the bull political climate in the world today. Slip > Franklin, '...may the four winds blow you safely home...', never rang more truly. I had a bittersweet motion type of nigh of death and rebirth, typical of the Dead shows I've seen. Wrapped up with a fun classic Halloween encore--Werewolves of London--with Bobby and his painted face.
A $100 cab ride with Carlos was highlarious. Walked the streets, found my glove, and saw the sun rise for the third time this week. If you're wondering if Ratdog can deliver, as I was, the quality of music you'd come to expect from Dead shows, I say damn straight. Don't let the opportunity Slip through your Crazy Fingers. '...Do we ever come back from the Dead?!...'
Jonas Colter, Fredericton, NB
Ratdog half-stepped their way right into my heart last night. Pure magic.... One thing after another lead to Bobby donning my costume's top hat for the Halloween classic: Werewolves in London.
I was fully blown away with the show--totally impressed with Booby and the band. Just as I judge an opera--by the amount of shivers sent up my spine and the number of tingling sensations in my brain--I judge this show.... Top notch, I tell you.... Almost every song gave a shiver and a tingle. I say nostalgia played a part. That Mississippi Half-Step took me back to the very first live Dead I experienced, when we were graced in Hamilton over fifteen years ago.
So Many Roads (wow the thought of it just gave me a tingling sensation) was superb. Bobby gave it all with heart and soul, thank you my friend. I love the fact that those tunes have the same impact as they did in the days gone by ~ R.I.P.
Now on to that classic Bobby anthem Throwing Stones.... Ya Bobby thank you.... I love that tune and so do my bones.... Bridget and I danced up a storm, ask the crew, they danced too!
Acoustic El Paso ~ a dream come true. This summer, I rode Icelandic horses across Iceland and Canada with a group of Icelandic cowboys. We sang El Paso while we rode; it obviously echoed into the future. "Hippie Bill" on the crew is half Icelandic; I hope I get to talk to him again. I just finished shooting a film on the Icelandic immigration to Canada.
We have so much to be thankful and happy about--for instance The Other One and Wharf Rat!
So, halfway through the second set I was approached by the backstage crew and ask to share my costume (Father Time) with Bob Weir. 'Sure,' I said. He wanted to borrow the top hat I was wearing. A nice old top hat that had just been dusted off, taken out of its box for the first time in many years and placed on my head for the evening. That top hat was made in London many many years ago and brought to Canada by my 'sister' Bridget Young's grandfather. It is a piece of history. Under that London-made top hat, Bobby sung Werewolves in London with full gusto.
Bridget and I went to the show together and both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The hat looked good, the tunes were great, the audience was pumped, spines shivered and brains tingled. What better way to ring in the Celtic New Year.... Happy Halloween!
Declan O'Driscoll, Toronto, ON
Saw the G Dead many many times from 87-95, seen Phil and Friends about 5 times, seen the TOO/Dead about 5 times, and big fan of DSO. First time seeing Ratdog last night, and my only question is what took me so long. Last night's performance was as good as any I have ever seen on any stage by any band. I was blown away.
First set from the opening jam through Bird Song was just incredible. The band lost some momentum during So Many Roads and Picasso Moon but finished very strongly with a beautiful and intense WRS > Let it Grow. Loved the between-set dance party... an eclectic mix of GD tunes played loud on the PA. Awesome!
Second set took things to an even higher level. Performed with an intensity that I wouldn't have imagined, the jams were ferocious and had purpose. I highly recommend getting a copy of the show, and will make a point to see Ratdog as much as is possible.
Paul Pennock, Cambridge, ON
It was a real treat seeing Ratdog back in Toronto again, though I sure wish they had come back to Massey Hall instead of The Docks. The venue sucked; the sound was okay at best and it was GA so no seating at all.... Standing for 3 1/2 hours on a cement floor is not fun. And to add to the late (9 p.m) scheduled start, they started half an hour late, so I had to leave after the first set. Bummer.
But the first set was worth the price of admission. Solid playing all the way through, a nice mix of songs, and a truly spectacular version of Bird Song in the middle of the set. I can't wait to get the CD to hear the rest of the show.
Keith, Pickering, ON
Last night's Ratdog gig at the Docks was a whole lot of fun mixed in
with the expected sighs of "man, I miss Jerry." Upon entering the venue, one could hear the sounds of various selections from the Dick's Picks catalog being blasted from the band's PA. There's something to be said about hearing crystal clear recordings of classic Dead music being played at high volume on a large PA. The capacity crowd was in high spirits and it showed, as many danced along during the pre-show festivities. Bobby & Co. hit the stage approx 20 mintutes later than the posted start time of 9pm. By the time the last notes of the encore ceased at 1:15am, it was evident that both audience and band were spent. Rather than plod through with the usual song by song analysis,here's a brief account of the Good and the Not So Hot from last night:
-Bobby is clearly still having fun. The band was very tight (minus some typical Bobby lyrical amnesia) and the groove infectious.
- The band (as usual and thankfully) kept the (song transition) noodling wankery to a minumum. Another longime associate of Mr Weir's could certainly benefit from attending a Bobby show to see how to keep this type of fat to a minimum.
- Picasso Moon: Powerful. As played as well as any Dead version. Awesome.
- WRS > Let It Grow. Awesome and tight. Bobby *nailed* it.
- T Stones > Slipknot! > Franklin's. Clearly the highlight of the show. Weir nailed his longtime warhorse of Throwing Stones with great conviction. Some minor lyrical updating by changing the "money green" line to "money green, the American Way, sell them guns, start a war today." Powerful stuff.
- The expected Werewolves Halloween encore. Nice to see Bobby still having a little fun by dressing up.
- Jeff C playing a Baby Grand instead of the old Casio. He sounded superb last night. A highly underrated player.
-Mark Karan: Played some fine leads, yet never once even hinted at sounding like The Big Man.
- The crowd:. The venue was packed and the crowd was psyched to be there. I'm sure the band felt this and returned with a very long and well played show.
The Not So Hot:
- The first set Slipknot! > Loser. An *extremely* poor musical call. Almost as bad as the dreaded Scarlet > Women Are Smarter from 7/16/90. Like that fine summer day in 1990, one could feel the energy being sucked from the crowd the moment the band very slowly went into Loser. It took until the middle of Jack Straw to get the energy back up to even close to Slipknotian proportions.
- Weir singing Jerry ballads. This is a popular gripe among many long time Heads, myself included. I for one still find it very um... weird... to hear Bob singing such made-for-Jerry numbers as Wharf Rat and So Many Roads. A few "I miss Jerry" moments for sure. I suppose if anyone has license to sing these songs, it certainly is Weir. But alas....
-Even So > October Queen > The Deep End, Mediore Weir songwriting. Made this part of the show very draggy.
- The Docks: In a somewhat remote part of the city, hard to get to by TTC, no seating, only one restroom. An okay venue I suppose; however, Ratdog would have been better suited for a return to Massey Hall, or even The Opera House.
All in all, another very fine show by the very danceable and fun Ratdog. Taken with the expectation that your life won't change seeing a Ratdog gig, and yes it AIN'T The Dead, Bobby's band almost guarantees a good night out. Long live Mr Weir.
Marcus T, Oakville, ON
For the first Time, I actually understood why music makes you feel so damn good. I've seen Ratdog before, but I could never interpret them untill now. So much respect and appreciation; can't believe I have the opportunity to listen to this music. GREAT SHOW- bottom line!
CloudThinker, Buffalo, NY