The best Ratdog show I've ever seen!! You knew it was going to be a magic night when he opened with Shakedown Street and followed that with TWO from Dylan.
Joe H, Milwaukee
I thought this was a very nice show. I was thinking Music Never Stopped right out of the gate on the opening jam, but it turned into Shakedown eventually and sounded solid. I am a big Kimock fan from way back in his Zero days, so I was very interested to see what he'd do. He got going a bit on Shakedown but didn't get too crazy, and Bob passed the solo's around the entire band to keep things rolling.
The Dylan pair of Maggies and Queen Jane next were both real nice - Maggies esp. had a unique arrangement and feel with a pretty deep funk to it. Crazy Fingers was the first tune where Kimock really shined - he actually walked over towards Bob mid-song and they locked eyes and built a great crescendo, which they then settled down and continued to work in subtle ways, it was a nice highlight. Brown Eyed Women was a real crowd pleaser sing-along as always.
At this point Bobby went acoustic, Robin went to the upright electric bass, and a few members left the stage for Blackbird, which was another crowd pleaser but seemed a little loose to my ear (as it often does when Bob breaks it out with a band - seems like he can play it all day solo or with Wass, but with other members, it often gets a little kooky, and this one was no exception). Bobby really tried to get Kimock to take this one but he barely nibbled, or so it seemed to me. Friend of the Devil was next and was rock solid, and Steve seemed much more comfortable jamming on this one. Then Victim, one of my favorites, was next, and was quite sparse and spooky with Kimock playing almost nothing for most of the song, seeming unfamiliar with it, and not jelling easily with it's many dissonant changes. To his credit he didn't try to force it, he just watched Bob like a hawk through the song, even when laying out. Bob and Jay and Robin sounded fantastic on their own and needed no help, but I was really hoping to hear Steve attack this one. Then Bob built up a big outro jam that really started to sound like it might transition into Eyes, and Kimock finally went for it - they built a nice big sunny groove and then Bob slammed it back into Victim-mode to wrap it up. So far so good, though we'd been wondering if this would be a one or two set show, and this acoustic interlude confirmed it'd most likely be a single set. Not surprising given the festival and all, but it seemed like two was possible, so we were holding out hope.
Even So > October Queen > Deep End came next, and really brought out the best of the band dynamics, and Kimock really went to town at various intervals too. He seemed very comfortable with these songs in a way that he hadn't on some of the prior tunes and really tore into them fully, which got the crowd very fired up. At this point we got into some of the freest jamming of the night via Milestones, which kept returning as a theme between some fresh improv segments.
Next Bob left the stage and the Stuff/Jam that followed was great, started with a quick bass solo, then cycled around the stage before culminating in a real nice team effort jam that featured Kimock really getting into it with Jay, Robin, Dave and Jeff. This jam was very concise and fully formed, sounding almost composed but feeling spontaneous. The guys looked very happy with their effort and brought it to a perfect clean stop before waiting for Bob to come out and start Standing on the Moon, which was a great choice in a night already pretty heavy on Garcia numbers.
Bob seems to struggle with the lyrical placement on this one (or he just really likes singing Jerry's songs a little behind the normal pace...), so it wasn't quite as sweetly flowing as this song can be, but the band played it very well and the "rather be with you" segment generated some big bombs and a rapturous crowd response. Bobby then did a little riff that really had us wondering what was next as this one wound down, and then he changed gears and it became readily apparent that it'd be a Sugar Mags closer. This one went over very well (Bob really seemed to be embracing familiar songs for the festival set, and it worked), with everyone contributing and more ripping guitar from Kimock. Robin gets honorable mention on this one for tearing off some bad-ass heavily distorted bass to put one of the jams over the top.
After SSDD closed out, Bob IMMEDIATELY launched into Touch of Grey, clearly conscious of the clock on the wall. The band took a few seconds to sync up and catch him, but they got it pretty quickly. This seemed like another case of Bobby trying to catch the ear of festival-goers who may not have been there just for the 'Dog, and again it worked, the response was warm and everyone seemed real happy.
The Ripple encore caught us all off guard and was short but very sweet and a nice capper to a very solid and enjoyable show. The band took their traditional bows and held a huge sheet up that said GOOD VIBES MK and this generated a massively warm extended ovation from the crowd.
Kudos to the Summerfest folks for running a solid operation - the festival was very easy to navigate in all regards, and we really enjoyed ourselves. We rushed over to catch Keller's last 45 mins. or so, thinking Bobby might join him, but alas that didn't happen. Keller did Women Are Smarter as his encore, which really had us thinking Bob could materialize, but he'd already put in a good, long effort, so it was really no wonder that he didn't.
All in all, a fine show, with some tasty work from Kimock on his debut night filling in for Mark. I'm guessing the guys missed MK's vocals a bit, as there were a few times the vocal mix was a little thin, but they made the most of it, and Steve K. was an otherwise excellent choice to fill the guitar hotseat. Best wishes to Mark to get through his health issues, and we'll be seeing the band again at the Aragon in Chicago in two weeks.
I've never heard Bob so clearly throughout an entire performance... just amazing... big props to Steve... and good vibes to Mark
7 out of 10...which was well worth the trip...and the $15 Summerfest admission. They played on one of the open festival stages which was underneath a giant vaulted highway. 3k in attendance I'd guess, half standing on picnic benches.
The opening jam had an EASY ANSWERS sound to it and groove but segued after a few minutes into SHAKEDOWN! Good start! Then a double shot of Dylan followed: A unique version of MAGGIE'S, then QUEEN JANE. A CRAZY FINGERS after that...and yes, life may be sweeter for this, I don't know. Clouds and rain appeared and Weir answered with BROWNED-EYED WOMEN (the sound of the thunder with the rain pouring down)...perfect.
Accoustic FOTD and BLACKBIRD were next. Yawn.
Then electric VICTIM which was a highlight for me: SO dark and out there AND VERY danceable. That sequed into a bunch of Ratdog songs that sound alike but SO nice...lots of band improve and the happiest of the heads never stopped moving and shaking to it.
STANDING ON THE MOON was heart felt...I felt that Bob channeled Jerry at the end of it...I'd rather be with you. (In Garcia's performances of this song he always communicated that there would be nowhere he'd rather be than singing to us.)
SUGAR MAG was right on the money and Bob's vocals came through with authority; the bridge to SSDD that sounds like Greatest Story (Doo, Doo-Doo) really raved it up.
Immediately they went to TOUCH OF GREY, which was good to hear...we will survive.
The encore was a slow and soulful RIPPLE. If I knew the way, I would take you home...la da da da...
Thanks to Bob and the band and everybody behind the scenes that makes, bakes and shakes it all possible.
Dan Holohan, Chicago
Ratdog is possibly the worst band i've ever seen. This was my first ratdog show and I am proud to say that I will never attend another show by them again. They opened up with some disco shit, shakey street or sumthin like that. Shakey Street was followed by two of the cheesiest bob dylan covers i've ever heard. What a disgrace of the great dylan name. This sit in guitar player Stan Kimchocks is possibly the worst move bob weir ever made. If anyone they should have replaced mark karan with brian adams now that would have been a solid move. I feel bad for the people that tour with these guys, you'd be better off buyin hanson cd's and playin chess all day. Ratdog was the most boring untalented band i've ever seen. If you want a good show I suggest stickin with with the mighty police, now theres a band that can rock go STING, BOO BOB WEIR.
Scott Wenrich, Sunbury Pa
I have seen Bobby's bands from The Midnights, Go Ahead, Other Ones, to Ratdog. Although The Other Ones are by far the most Dynamic of them all (alla; Bruce Hornsby), Weir and the Dogs are sounding and performing as good and crisply as ever over these years. They've really fined tuned while allowing sultry improv jams. Its a shame MK is an the DL, but Kimock is more than qualified for the role (check out his licks on Only the Strange CD). Jay Lane kicks as usual- love that guy!
As for you Mr. Wenrich of Sunbury, Pa...its time you threw out you Thriller album/CD, whichever is the case
Jamon Whipple, Gilbert, AZ.
THE SHOW WAS GREAT,TOO BAAAD SCOTT FROM PA HAD A CRAPPY TIME.SCOTT YOUR WAY OUT OF YOUR ELEMENT,YOU WOULD BE BETTER OFF AT A WIGGLES CONCERT FULL OF KIDS AND MOMMIES.FIRST OF ALL ITS SHAKEDOWN STREET, GET IT CORRECT BEFORE YOU BLOG.DID NOT SMELL THE STENCH(DM) OR DSS THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!!! KEEP ROCKIN DOG!!!!!! GOD BLESS MK BIGBOY WOBURN?????????????
Great show that I got to share with family and friends! Kimock did look a little lost at times, and I thought he fell short on 'Touch Of Grey'. But I think he'll gel with the band soon, and I'm looking forward to seeing him with the band again at 10KLF. Healing vibes to Mark.
Rick, Bloomington, IN
Good Show! Bob and company got up and took care of buisness as usual,Marks absence was very apparent guitarwise.Hopefully Steve will learn the notes.Mark Karan get well and get back on the bus soon,you are greatly missed!
Brian Rose, Schaumburg Illinois
I just want to say that right before they got into shakedown street, I felt uneasy in the stomach thinkin it was gonna be a bad show. Little did I know I just had to poop! Real Bad. One problem I was a mile from the nearest bathroom. So I put a smirk on my face looked at the dudes to the right and left of me and thought these guys are in for a treat. I let it go and shakedown street started so i pushed real hard it all came out and I started rockin even though I just pooped my pants. I went the whole show without goin back to change, I gotta say ratdog is the only band I'll do that for, no one else. Ratdog YOU GUYS ROCK, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH HAPPY AMERICA.
Steve George, PA
Glad I wasn't near that dude.
Rick, Bloomington, IN
I have been a Dead fan for a long time and I finally was able to attend my first Bob Weir/Ratdog show! From the beginning of Shakedown Street to the end of Ripple, i enjoyed every second of it. Just wanted to thank Bob Weir/Ratdog, you guys rock! Cant want to see you again!!!
Joe, Mad-Town, Wisconsin