Norfolk was very hot, especially the second set.
I made the rare mistake of showing up at this small club venue--the smallest I've ever seen any Dead or related/subsequent group (I believe the Norva's capacity is 1500)--on a Saturday night without a ticket. I gratefully scored one as my saint of circumstance was once again looking out for me ("there but for fortune go I...") through a friend of Bill's. I missed the "Cassidy" opener, and I could see where the first set might be regarded as lacking energy (even the D.S.), until things then came together at the end of the first set with "Golden Road" and even more so "Big RR Blues." Nonetheless, the band seemed relatively tight for only the 3rd show of the tour.
The second set was fat, dare I say epic and dramatic. The first "Attics," as an encore no less, that was very beautifully rendered.
As seasoned GD (and even Phish 8/9/98 veterans) know, there is something historically mystical about the Hampton/Norfolk/VA Beach area.
I had an intuiton about "Attics," as I was feeling a vibe about DS/Attics once Bobby brought back the DS during the 2nd set. I was thinking/feeling "Attics" would make sense immediately following DS (recalling 10/16/89 for me, not to mention the Hampton '89 DS/Attics vibe, which I was not at). Also contributing to this sense was it being post "1/2 Step," also recalling 10/16/89. Point is, I felt the 2nd Set to be an embodiment of inspiration/re-incarnation from the overall vibe that seems to be embedded in Hampton/Norfolk/VA Beach.
Opening with 3 straight crowd-favorite acoustic songs, Blackbird/El Paso/Black-Throated Wind (Black-Paso-Wind?) set a great mood. "TNK" got the dervishes twirling, "1/2 Step" allowed everyone to sing-along for the coda, "The Other One-Stuff-Dark Star" provided a psychedelic peak window, "Dear Prudence" nurtured and caressed the souls and spirits back to a grounding, and "One More Sat. Night" offered a chance for some good ole' dancing fun! And perhaps even more importantly was welcomed by it's placement as a set-closer, instead of a routine encore serving, thus opening the envelope for...? Attics! How sweet!
Since this is Ratdog, I'll leave my GD history out. Suffice to say that I am the first to criticize Bob, Phil, etc. and I've seen (only) about 20 Ratdog shows since '95, and this was the first time I'd considered sticking around and forking over the $$ for an after-show CD burn, though a 2-1/2 hour drive home ruled it out in the end. I plan on downloading at least the second set. The first set notwithstanding, the second set was certainy a "9.5"; I don't understand how this show is rated a "6.6" on its live merit/content?
Over & Out
Chuckster, Washington, DC