I've been to 40 Dead shows and seen Rat Dog a few times, but this was my first St. Stephen; an unforgettable moment in my life! The William Tell Bridge to The Eleven was so sweet. I led a massive chant for St. Stephen at Buckeye Lake, OH in 1991 to try to encourage the Dead to break out St. Stephen. I didn't realize it would take more than 15 years. My life is complete now. "You know my love will not fade awaaayyy!"
Zoltan, Anaheim, CA
The Grove has a checkered history, perfect for a Ratdog show. At one time it housed a dinner and dance establishment where patrons waltzed down a phony red carpet while fake paparazzi snapped their pictures. It quickly went bust. (Remember, Disneyland is only a couple of miles away.) The theater is tucked into a corner of the vast Angels Stadium parking lot. They want to tear down the place and build a new parking lot to replace this parking lot to house a new NFL stadium for the relocated Chargers, Cardinals or whoever.
The scene outside was a little like old times; before the “in the dark” tweakers intruded. A couple of guys on bikes and skateboards. The crowd a mix of old and new. A vendors' avenue sprung-up, which reminded me, I used to buy all my garb at Grateful Dead shows. No Anaheim pigs on patrol, just a few mellow security dudes. A long line for walk-up tickets probably because this show was announced two weeks ago.
The place was packed, but I was able to meander down to the stage to get a way too close up view of Bobby’s bare legs. The OC folk give you room to groove; not like Philly fans all elbows and kneecaps. Bob was wearing shorts, apparently to show off his marathon legs. Thankfully he ditched the pink guitar and had a cool blue metallic one. Though not quite as good as Prince at the Super Bowl behind the curtain.
But, back to the show: it scorched! I didn’t even have time to screech “Picasso Moon” before they launched it. Apparently, Bob returned to the scene of the crime where he unveiled that monstrosity at Irvine Meadows back in April 88 or 89? I’m not sure when, but, they say you weren’t really there, if you know what time it was. Not to rag on Moon, but I do remember a Forum Dec. 90 show where I somehow stumbled into an empty private box overlooking the stage (Jerry and Brent’s side). As soon as Bobby coughed-up Moon, several gorgeous 90210-type chicks swarmed in and started swooning and reeling in some type of demonic multiple orgasmic rhythm. I projectile vomited and beat it out of there fast.
But, back to the show. I burned a CD of Ratdog shows recorded from Los Angeles radio station KPFK 90.7 FM in a program called “The Music Never Stopped” streaming on the Internet from 9 to 11 pm pacific time on Sundays. While tailgating and playing those tunes, a lot of friends dropped by to warm-up for the show. We were not disappointed. As a result of “contact high,” or maybe somebody dosed me, I actually fell on my butt in the second set. I found my girlfriend and keeled over again; but I didn’t spill a drop of my 8 dollar beer. So rather than give this show 4 or 5 stars, I’m giving it 2 butt shots.
Help Ever, Hurt Never
James MacPhee, Surf City, USA
So, I went to the show with a friend. A big dead head. He gave me a ride since I supplied the miracle. We got there to see that Shakedown St could exist in Sleepy Town, USA. Not as big as Irvine or LA, but it was nice to see some of the regulars out and about.
The Grove is a nice venue. Pretty small and the sound is good in a lot of places. The show started with a lazy jam and from there the 'music would never stop'. 'Easy Answers' led us to 'Queen Jane' which was nice. Then they did a song I had always wanted to hear 'Mission in the Rain'. Then they stopped. I had half a notion to BOO, but all I could do was smile.
'Tennessee Jed' blacked my eye and kicked my dog, the crowd also got a kick out of it. The pace was good on the last three tunes and the playback of 'Ashes and Glass' is outstanding.
I was up close for the acoustic portion of the show and really dug the Dylan tune. 'Mexicali' also struck me as a better tune, I really listened to the lyrics and I dug it.
After 'Salt Lake City' I got a cup of coffee, and I got back before a third of 'surrender to the flow' was over. Good times....then we got 'Estimated', we sung every word to it.
Bobby had a leg to stand on after 'The Other One Jam' with a solid 'Standing on the Moon' and then 'St. Stephen' hit us. This is when the show really got going. 'Not Fad Away' was sung by everyone, even Bill Walton sung along.
'Go Johnny go, go, go Bobby be good'!
Ron, Anaheim, CA
Grate show Bobby was excellent !! Worth the trip from San Diego! I was impressed by the venue lots of room to move no matter where you decided to wander and never a problem seeing a smiling face!! Sound was good and vibe was great a nice mellow show! The Terra Rossa room was an added treat. As always I look forward to another great time next year!!
Brian, Santee, CA
This was the second time for me seeing Ratdog and I was floored to be seeing this show in the shadow of the venue I'd seen my 2nd Dead Show with Dylan in the hulking structure of the Big A stadium with a mumbling Dylan in July of 87. It made me think of the miles that occurred between those two shows and wondered what a long strange trip indeed. It felt much like a family reunion, very little bad vibes in the house this evening. The music was good and I spent much of the evening looking at the pipes and wierd ufo ceiling of the venue. Just wanted to say a great evening and much thanks to the band.
DJ Big Jim, Irvine, CA