What can I say!? I was floating off the ground starting when Bobby and Keller sang "Wake up Little Susie" and didn't come down 'till midnight. Thinking I for sure would never hear Bobby sing that song, I savored every moment of it grinning from ear to ear. When the boys came on, the sailing couldn't have been smoother (with the exception of maybe a few abrupt transitions between songs; they still got some work in that arena). But no doubt, with the backdrop of palm trees, the San Diego waters, the sun setting behind the boats, and a venue for ~1200 peoople, the vibe was unbelievable. Tomorrow Never Knows was a seriously groovin' opener that spun a thread all the way through the show, if you ask me. Soon, Book of Rules brought on this reggae-style groove that had us shaking and moving... I couldn't stop - dancing in line for the restroom, dancing in line for a beer, wandering around dancing... the music continuously stoked us as we had our little Deadhead community meeting on this night. Enjoyed a classic intermission and all of the jamming jams that followed, started to wind down with Black Peter, and was sent off into the night with crowd pleasers Touch of Grey and Johnny B. Goode. Thanks to everyone who was there for a really pleasant time, and THANK YOU BOBBY and the boys (Keller and Steve, your contributions were a very special touch).
Jeff Simon, Encinitas, CA
I found this one too lack energy. The boys played everything in a super slow tempo. I think because everyone sat down the whole show.
The after part in the backstage lounge with The Electric Waste Band had everyone grooving! I'd hate to say it, but EWB blew away Ratdog.
Milton Eckhardt, san Diego
Superb, electric two set performance. Security actually let up for Humphries and let folks have fun. Most intimate venue of the tour.
1st set featured an excellent Dark Star sandwhich with the other treats like Odessa and Deal. Kimock was way more involved in almost every song compared to the earlier All Good show I saw.
Then set #2- A nice BIG West LA> Ashes and Glass monster of a jam after a polka style El Paso Mexicali. Ashes and Glass from this show is worth downloading it right away alone. The stuff section and other tunes also featured Bobby Cochran on guitar. Stuff was long and you could just see Bobby Weir standing back an extra bunch of minutes to let the guys really stretch it out. Jay Lane ended up in an explosion of high speed riffs that never stopped...Then the truly magical Black Peter with excellent harmonies and great singing, capped off by a blistering jam from Kimock....Touch and especially JB Goode were blistering.
All in all, the tempo of the songs was tight and explosive, compared to other nights that seemed slower. I am sold on Kimock now...folks who think this Rat Dog seems slow are probably just used to listening to lots of GD.....not Rat Dog.
Jim Van Dyk, San Diego
I laugh out loud..WHO ....SAT all night...
I sure didnt...and everyone..I was around was dancing...the smoke was thick...and the crowd..was having a reunion..of sorts..
Wake up little Susie...then,AShes..Touch of Grey...MEXICALI...
Black Peter..Johnny Be Good was GOOD..no..GREAT..
I agree with the first poster..I had a great time..and went home HAPPY!!!
Leann Cortimiglia, San Diego( iowa transplant)
I also thought this show was excellent. The special guest was Rockin' and I thought that on Touch of Grey Kimock Really sounded like Jerry. Well done!
Scott Probeck, Boulder. CO
This was my 101st show and my 40th birthday. What a waste. Such an excellent venue and such a tired crowd. Bobby and the bunch act like they are just there for a paycheck. I will need a miracle to attend another show. Hard to believe that the same band played House of Blues or the Wiltern such a short time ago. I will miss seeing them live in So Cal but if this continues, i shalll go elsewhere to have my soul refreshed.
Saw "Bob Weir and Ratdog" last night in San Diego, and really only
because Kimock was filling in for Karan. Interestingly, this was not
"Ratdog" that I saw so many years ago, but a newly packaged "Bob Weir
and Ratdog." A clever piece of marketing, since this in fact is a
different band from years ago. And all for the better.
The new improved BW/Dog changes, are predominantly good, and well
thought out. First, the show was structured on the Dead format: 2
sets, drum solo, jam, encore. While this suggests a facade of
Grateful imitation, it actually was refreshing and in retrospect it
lays groundwork for a longer, and more developed show (see below).
Strangely, the band made the first set the long jamming, segued songs
of the Dead's second set past. Tomorrow Never Knows, Playin, Dark
Star, Deal among others. All played fabulously and with originality,
cohesiveness, and talent. The second set was converse: El Paso,
Mexicali, and shorter Ratdog originals. All enjoyable in the frenzy
and more deeply appreciated having been entranced by the band's first
In my mind, there is one underlying tenet that has allowed this
evolution from my previous experience. Fans and musicians (Weir most
importantly) seem to have accepted fully that this is not the Dead,
and there no appearance of opportunism, which is the absolute
lynchpin. It could be that enough time has passed for us to accept
something new but familiar, without sorrow or longing for what is no
longer there. As such, Kimock brings a jazz jamming free form guitar
that is respected by the band and to which Weir wisely cedes. Steve
is allowed to the time and musical support to showcase a unique and
creative talent that is positively reminiscent yet completely
respectable. The band is fabulous, and each musician adds to the
performance in the chaotic independent/group interaction that
attracted us to the scene. The weakest link was Robin Sylvester on
bass. I missed those Lesh leads of parallel play that added another
extraordinary dimension to the sound. All in all, the keyboards and
sax playing were outstanding. Adding Kenny Brooks on sax was
genius... a jazzier depth adding significantly to the sound and
The downsides are few and relatively insignificant. First, Bob cant
sing. His voice is weak and nonsustaining. It is frustrating at
times, and for Bob fans, I have to believe it detracted from the
show. Unfortunately, he is pressed to sing all songs, and would
benefit if a good voice could emerge from existing players or the
addition of the appropriate member (Phil on bass and voice would be
nice?). One must commend Bob's effort since singing was a large part
of his contribution to the original band, and he is rightly parlaying
that memory to his new formation. Another lesser but sustained issue
is the same problem of the older Ratdog. Bob cant and shouldn't lead
a band. He is a support member that should trust an instrumental
leader throughout. To my eyes, he does remarkably better in this
regard, an apparent paradigm shift. Recognizing his role is as strong
supporting musician has partially allowed this evolution. What
remains is the defining single leader to take the reins and elevate
the group to a level of that could lead to the huge popularity of the
past. This is the most glaring shortcoming of the band. The problem
is not Weir's and perhaps not Ratdog's. Painfully, it appears that
Kimock is unable to take that role. It could be just asking too much,
perhaps modesty, or egads, a leadership inability. Either way, Steve
doesn't presently take the band by the proverbial horns and drive
them with confidence from start to finish. From what I saw last
night, he appears to have been given the opportunity in this
framework. He just doesnt deliver from wire to wire.
Still, wishful thinking aside, there is enough Kimock, strong band
support, and show structure to make the show more than worthwhile. I
can only hope that Weir sees the wisdom of keeping this format, and
these players. Most importantly it would be best for Kimock to retain
his position so he may become marquee, if it is in him. It is their/
our best chance to rediscover the dreamy captivating cacophany of
sound in fresh way without the hole that formerly existed. Credit to
Bob for making the changes. The final evolution would be a new name
for the band where Weir is respected as the supporter of great
musicians with a strong single leader in Steve Kimock. It would
finally solve the sound we've missed for over 10 years.
Mike Reines, Newport Beach
One thing that I thought was really refreshing about Ratdog was that unlike many bands I've heard, I could actually understand almost all the lyrics. Maybe Bobby doesn't belt them out like he used to, but at least he's intelligible and still displays moments of raw emotion.
As far as the leadership thing goes, why does there have to be a leader? I thought the band played really well together as a whole and there were times when Bob brought Kimock out quite nicely with his energy and enthusiasm. I think you can't get any cooler a player than SK. I like how he sits down sometimes. It's mellow but chill, and he can also play really rocking lics when he's down, such as the end of Franklin's Tower. Good job!
Dazzle, Littleton, CO
Mike, I have never heard such well spoken, educated insanity in my life. Are you forgeting how often Mr. Weir grabbed the reins and drove the beast in the past 40 odd years?!?
The tour was a pleasure with many great gems to be harvested throughout. NFA!!!!!
Brett, Denver, CO
Came into town to watch my son at a soccer tournament. One of the fathers had tickets,son didnt want to go. I tagged along .Been smiling ever since and it is now February 26th ,2008..One of the best Black Peter renditions I've ever heard
Andy, Roslyn,New York
Enjoyed the show even though some of the songs were at slower tempos than I was used to. How bout that set list!The crowd was awesome. The good vibes from the show carried over into Electric Waste Band's show after the show in the backstage lounge. I guess those guys are the hot local band covering grateful dead tunes. Fortunately, EWB picked up the tempo and ripped it up reminiscent of early 70's dead. Lets hope its Weir, Ratdog and EWB again for the summer 08 shows.
D. Stu, San Diego