Not only was the Ratdog show at the Beacon Theatre on Friday 4/7 the BEST Ratdog show I have seen (I've been to a lot of shows), it was one of the best concerts I have seen, period. Bobby was on, the band was on, the crowd was on--it was one of those MAGICAL nights. What can I say, there was something in the air that night: Scarlet, Iko, St. Stephen, Terrapin, Candyman, Black Peter, Loser, Dark Star, Touch.... Looks like we will SURVIVE!!!!!
Stephen Polak, New York, NY
My First Dead Show was in 1971, and through the years have seen many venues and sets. The Beacon is a perfect venue to see and hear Bobby and the band. Ratdog has come a long way since I saw them last. I remember when it was just Bobby and Wasserman at the Warfield in San Francisco.
This show tonight was, for me, outstanding, and the venue was also. The first set was tight, and the mix of songs was special - Supplication into Dark Star was emotional and a powerful combo. Scarlet into Iko Iko was an incrediable ending to the first set. Second set started mellow and ended like a freight train going full speed ahead. How many of us have seen the whole Terrapin played? After the band played Lady with a Fan and Terrapin, the band came back for the encore and At a Siding and Terrapin Flyer completed the overture. How sweet a show for me. Dark Star, Scarlet, Iko, Terrapin, St. Stephen, The Eleven, Supplication--who could ask for more!!! Rock on Ratdog, and "thank you for a real good time!"
George Schneider, Bayville, NY
Nice Show from the Truckin' opener to the At a Siding > Terrapin Flyer encore. Bob has morphed into Weircia, taking complete charge of his band, giving direction all night long. Ratdog sounded real tight, playing everything well. Truckin', Take Me To the River, and Loser were all real solid. Easy to Slip was a tasty treat. Supplication and Dark Star were first set nuggets. The new song, Tuesday's Blues, was pretty sweet as well. Scarlet was rockin' and pyschedelic, and Iko kept the party going.
Masterpiece to open the second set was solid; Candyman was sweet and crispy. Masters of War was apropos. Even So droned a bit but October Queen swung in a New Orleansy fashion. Lady w/ a Fan was kind, but Black Peter was the highlight of the show; the "See here how everything" section had the power and emotion that keeps us coming back. Nothing wrong w/ St. Stephen>William Tell>The 11, Touch was rocking, and At A Siding > Terrapin Flyer were the cherry on a sweet show. Thanks Bob and Co. (Jeff Chimente was awsome all night.)
Dan Martin, Bronxville, NY
Wow!! Went to the Beacon with my old college friend and our wives 35 years after seeing the Dead in the U of Rochester gym. I'm a huge Ratdog fan and have seen them a dozen times. Still, I wasn't ready for this.
Having hurried on out of our hotel room, we entered the theater during the opening jam and reached our fine lower balcony seats as the band launched into the first notes of a searing Truckin' to open the show. A fine Take Me to the River and a perfect Loser was a knockout opening combination. A lilting Easy to Slip and a perfect Dark Star verse 1 established that the melodies that were missing last week at Hampton Beach would be out in force tonight. After being introduced to a very respectable Tuesday Blues, I was thrilled with the Scarlet Begonias and content that the first set had ended superbly, but no--the boys took it to another level with a rousing Iko Iko finish.
I love the acoustic set two openers, and Masterpiece and Candyman were as fine and pure as I have ever heard. Then the pounding rhythym of Masters of War, a song I have been hoping to hear for a long time. I imagine this dialogue in a face to face meeting of Bobby and George. It says it all. Even So/October/ Deep End started the winding up and power jamming that is the signature of this talented group of musicians. But who could imagine Terrapin (my personal all time favorite)/power stuff/Black Peter/ and then after over two hours of music to hear those two special notes and the driving refrain of St. Stephen! So happy to hear the shift into William Tell because you know what's coming next. But wait, who is that bulky figure that just walked on stage with that red guitar. Unbelievably, Warren joins the band for The Eleven and the second set Touch of Grey closer. Am I dreaming--dreaming that's real!
Okay, so now that lilting slow closer we've come to expect, but again a major surprise and we finish the night with a pounding Terrapin Flyer. This was as good a show as I have ever seen. Not only was the musicianship superb, but the extended power jamming was unrivaled. I could only catch one of these Beacon nights, but the three hours plus of terrific songs almost flawlessly played left me grateful for the whole experience. In fact, more than grateful for the past 35 years of that special combination of art, philosophy, and renewal. May Bobby, the band, and the music never stop.
Spider, Ledyard, CT
I was at the truly amazing Westbury Music Fair show this past fall. I hadn't been seeing Ratdog too much in the 2 or 3 years. The show at Westbury changed that! I made sure to check out at least one night at the Beacon this spring, and I wasn't let down. I was real happy with the Truckin' opener and Take Me to the River, but was very happy to hear Loser. Always a favorite of mine. Then one of my favorite Weir solo tunes, Easy to Slip. I think this Lowell George tune is underplayed, and I had a big smile on when I caught wind of the first notes. A nice Supplication jam led us into Dark Star--a big, nicely jammed Dark Star. It was at this point that we noticed a second drummer. Couldn't make him out from our spot but it turned out to be Tom Pope. He added a nice amount of fill to Jay's style.
Only Bobby would lead out of Dark Star into a song that not everybody's familiar with, Tuesday Blues. It fed off of Dark Star's energy and held everyone's attention. Then things kicked into high gear and Holy Shit mode with the following Scarlet>Iko. Tremendous Scarlet leading seamlessly into an equally tremendous Iko!!! There was my $48 spent right there. The addition of a trombonist during Iko propelled this version higher and higher. I must say, in my 23 years of seeing The Dead and all their offshoots, this was my first trombone guest and it was very, very cool.
The second set brought an acoustic Masterpiece, which was great followed by an acoustic Candyman. I've always loved Candyman, but I'm not crazy about how Bob changes the timing of the lyrics. We won't accuse you of trying to rip off Jerry, don't worry Bob. Just sing the song the way it was written. Anyway, it was cool to hear Masters of War. Then the popular Even So, October Quenn and Deep End were all played well. Very tight. Then a serious Terrapin began with a great build up and crashing crescendo after crescendo. But it was the Black Peter that put me over the edge. It put me way over the edge at Westbury and pushed me to the same heights this time. Thanks very much guys. Still not over, we got a classic St. Stephen > The 11, complete with Warren on The 11!! A fun Touch of Grey capped off the show.
The encore really blew me away. I haven't heard anyone--Ratdog, Phil, or especially The Dead themselves play the rest of the Terrapin Suite. Tight as hell, beautifully played. This was a real treat and the band was on fire. A first for me, for my friend Jen, another tour veteran, and seemingly a first for a lot of people around us.
The show was excellent. A guest drummer, a guest trombonist, Warren Haynes, and music I've never heard live before. I'll be back next time for sure.
Chris, Glen Cove, NY