In town for business and what a treat to learn that RatDog was opening their tour. Help>Slip (but where was the Franklin?).... Happy to see it came towards the end. Great Left Coast Crowd that really made this Jersey guy feel welcome. Special treat to meet Bill Walton (shook the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan?!?!). Loved Wang Dang Doodle, Iko Iko, and Ripple! A+ crowd participation. Have a Grateful Day!
Jimmy Z, Atlantic City, NJ
Great show! Lots of energy both inside and even outside of the show in anticipation of the 2007 start. Venue was a little small and cramped at times and a lot of people did not get in as they waited outside for setlist updates on our smoke breaks. Great staff though and they seemed to have fun too.
To Lay Me Down is a great new addition to the setlists and sounded fantastic. Bobby really seemed to be having a ball, as did the whole band, some nice highlights with Althea, Row Jimmy, Bucket, Iko, To Lay Me Down, Deep Elem and Don't Worry was another great first. Looks to be another strong year for the Dog!
Joe, Columbus, OH
Not bad for a tour opener, but the band was not firing on all cylinders. Bobby was forgetting lyrics all night (the teleprompter wasn't helping apparently) and a lot of the jams just kind of ended up in noise, all of which the majority of the crowd seemed to enjoy.
Regarding the venue - PLEASE do not play House of Blues again! Overcrowded, overpriced, and the sound was awful. I was center floor and could not hear keys or sax most of the night.
I really enjoyed previous shows at 4th and B. But HOB is just awful.
All my opinion of course. The people I went with had a good time, so there you go....
Tim, San Diego, CA
The House of Blues in San Diego was a perfect venue for a Ratdog show. It was modern, small, clean, and the crowd was awesome. I live in So. Cal now, but I previously lived in Vermont and Connecticut so I did notice the West Coast vibe to be a little different than seeing The Dog in NY, CT, MASS, VT, PA and wherever else I have seen them play.
ANYWAY, the show kicked off with a spacey jam that kept the crowd guessing as to which song they were going to jam into, after a few minutes the distinctive beginning chords to “Help on the Way” were heard and everyone seemed to know we were in for a great night of music. It was evident in the beginning moments that the anticipation of the new tour kicking off had created jitters amongst the musicians, but after working through average renditions of Help and Slipknot the music tightened up and Ratdog seemed to have found the “pocket”. The next tune, Senor, was a very cool song (first time I had seen it in 17 RD shows) – slow, wandering, and precise, it was well played. But then the band slipped into Row Jimmy, one of the majestic Jerry Garcia tunes that Ratdog can play EXTREMELY WELL. Although this version wasn’t as precise as the one at Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom a few years back, it was awesome to hear again – Bob had his guitar in rowing motion during the chorus and the whole crowd was geared up, chanting, and joining in on the fun. The next song was Wang Dang Doodle, not a favorite of mine, but it is a fun song that gets the crowd amped up. The Hell in a Bucket was smoking!!! They can really heat up a venue with a tight version of that song. It was nice to see Bob be able to remember all of the lyrics to Althea this time, I remember he really botched it up once at the Palladium in Mass. I love hearing Althea, though, and it was a good version. They ended the first set with Aiko Aiko which got the crowd dancin’ and screamin’, they do some really fun jams and solos in that song.
The band played a lot tighter in the second set, and did awesome versions of Masters of War, Throwin’ Stones, The Wheel, Deep Elem, and Franklins Tower … But the gem of the set was the first time Ratdog had played “To Lay Me Down”, it was the version right out of the CD Reckoning, played very beautifully and tight, Bob and the boys sounded GREAT!
Seeing the band play this night made me think about how they actually sound better/ more modern than the Grateful Dead ever did, they can play soft, loud, finish songs off, start them off, segue into long improve jams – it really is an awesome concert to see… they sound really tight right now! Obviously it is not comparable to GD because Mr. Garcia is not playing, and he was the heart and soul of the band, but I must give Bobby props for having developed Ratdog into this really really talented, explosive, and fun band to see. He does a great job of mixing up the Ratdog, Covers, and GD material…. Am seeing RD in Ventura, Anaheim, and flying to NYC in March for the Beacon shows. SEE YOU THERE!
- Drew from Newport Beach, CA
CCRider817, Newport Beach, CA