Fun times with the 'dog!
Had some parking issues and the lines getting in were a mess, so I missed all but the last few seconds of the opening Jam. Found my way up near the front, next to some guy who was really freaking-out and scaring people away - more room for me to dance!
Jack Straw was uneven, and the reggae breakdown really seemed shoehorned and broke the momentum. Cassidy was decent enough, and things started to pick up with a long, airy intro to Bird Song. This one stretched out nicely, and then along came Odessa - uptempo, but it completely destroyed the flow. Solid enough version, and then a very tasty Sailor>Saint. Things caught fire for the first time on Shade of Grey - tight, explosive ensemble playing, capped by a screaming Kimock solo that climbed the ladder perfectly before dropping into the final chorus. After that, even an energetic Bucket was a step down in the energy department. Nice to see Bobby still belt out those falsetto screams at 60 years young! Setbreak time.
Set deux kicked off in the now-customary acoustic fashion. Blackbird was stretched out a bit, with very nice work by Chimenti on the keys. FOTD came next, and Bobby took a fine uptempo solo. Pleasant work from all of the soloists, really. Victim was next, and the Weir cut off the developing intro by jumping into the lyrics. Kimock was playing some unearthly feedback madness, which got more twisted as the song progressed. Then, Liberty. A bit of a momentum-crusher once again, but lots of fun and good slide work from both guitarists.
Then, the show really began. Bobert left the stage as usual for "Stuff", and then Robin left the stage as unusual. Jay started pounding the skins, and some grey-haired character emerged with a bass slung over his shoulder. Could it be? IT IS!!! None other than Michael "Heir" Gordon (as in, heir to the jamband bass throne). The energy instantly shot through the roof, and not just because a hometown hero was onstage. Gordo shook the rafters, leading a thick funk jam. Jay pounded away, Kenny blew and blew, and Chimenti was all over the keys like a real mother-funker. Then, there was Kimock. He cut loose in a BIG way. Raging funk guitar, and then some seriously down & dirty lap steel shredding. This segment was easily the highlight of the night. Unscripted, and unbelievable!
Just when it seemed like Weir might have gone home or something, he snuck back onstage while the bassists traded places. Come Together was nice with its creeping intro, but kind of clunky and didn't go anywhere...until it flowed into a well-explored Bird Song reprise, with Mike Gordon re-appearing to provide some heavy thunder for this and the raging Cassidy reprise. Great finale...but wait, there's more! Exit Mike, enter Robin, and off we go with Sugar Magnolia. A fun, danceable set closer. US Blues was an anticlimactic encore, but the waving peace flag made it worthwhile.
The short version: Fun show, with more than enough highlights to make up for the uneven spots. Must-hear moments: Shade of Grey and the mind-blowing Stuff jam.
I thought the show rocked, everyone was on and the set list was incredible. I had a blast with you boys, my first Sugar Magnolia! (thank you, thank you, thank you)
Ariana, Worcester, MA
I have been to burlington for many a hockey tournaments with my son and daughter, but never saw bob, phil or any of the dead band members play up here - I specifically picked this show for me and my family because of the awe inspiring views of the trip itself and the good hippie vibe I've always felt in Burlington. Personally, I was speechless after the show - I thought I would literally die from dancing to Hell in a Bucket and Sugar Mag was by far the best I've seen - Come together was very trippy-the boys were definately in the groove - Lots of Love at this show and the scene outside was right on - also caught the global awareness get together at Battery Park on Lake Champlaine the next day with the Solar Bus there, free food and many outstanding kind people made this trip well worth it -
Thank you to Bob Weir and the band for a real good time!
See you in the Spring of 08-
chris, Branford, CT
Hay Ariana. the chick from Wistah next to the guy from Med field & behind the guy from Berlin Mass (me)... It was a sick show indeed.. What energy.. Excellany chaser after Lebanon. Surely a worthy cause to shake our bones. Ended up with Jeffs set list as the young UVM dude next to me got Kenny set list Per order of Kenny.. that was so kool of Kenny ...the dudes 1st Ratdog show too. What fun at the Aud. Had allot of kool neighbours this nite.. TY Bobby for a real good time.
Wish I weir there. Sounds like a fine show. Hope to see y'all real soooon!
Unc. John B. , Montreal
Review: Ratdog - Memorial Auditorium, Burlington, VT - November 2, 2007
By: Mike on: Fri 16 of Nov, 2007 [14:43 UTC] (674 reads)
by Doug Collette,
It’s a tribute to the strength and resilience of the Grateful Dead community that a cross section of its members will fill a venue like Memorial Auditorium in Burlington practically up through the balcony to see and hear Bob Weir and his band Ratdog. That near-capacity attendance on November 2 sustained despite some clear shortcomings on the part of the rhythm guitarist/singer/songwriter and his current group.
Weir has the all-best intentions. It’s just that he is a modest talent at best—elevated in the presence of Dead bandmates—and the members of Ratdog cannot transcend his level of performance. The rhythm section of drummer Jay Lane and bassist Robin Sylvester may be most at fault, dragging back the action of the group that might render tunes like “Bird Song” and “Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance” less static and more quietly intense.
On the contrary, the first set this chilly Friday night relied too much on the same mid-tempo until the pace picked up with “Hell in a Bucket.” The guitar of Steve Kimock, still dutifully subbing for cancer-stricken Mark Karan, represented the moments of clarity. Segues did not automatically translate into the seamless and the playing simply lacked the understated electricity of similar Grateful Dead intervals (and it’s impossible not to make the comparison).
Kimock was underused by the time the evening was over, soloing not much more than keyboardist Jeff Chimenti by the time a quick encore was offered. Chimenti is the most skilled, not to mention spirited, member of Ratdog: the piano and organ colors he spun out were in marked contrast to the monochromatic sax of Kenny Brooks.
Though he contributed mightily to the Grateful Dead over the years (and has been stubbornly loyal to their spirit), Weir never really drove them as a band, and for all the hand signals he waved at Memorial Auditorium, there was never really a dramatic response from his group. On the contrary, his gestures elicited delirious response from the audience, blissful gyrations all around begging the question of whether the reaction would be the same were the music parlayed by a group of anonymous musicians rather than a group led by a charter member of one of (if not the most) influential American rock bands of all time.
There’s little doubt the crowd would’ve still been enlivened by the brisk interlude led by Mike Gordon when he assumed the bass post. Minutes after Weir scurried off stage, the former Phish bassist positioned himself as the nexus between Kimock and Lane (who displayed more snap than he had all evening) during an instrumental interlude; Gordon was no doubt hoping to conjure up at least some of the energy he and the guitarist had shared in Hawaii recently with Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann,
The contrast could not have been sharper when Weir returned to the stage to lead a sluggish rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” But Bobby and his band sounded united and more inspired than at any other point in the night, during “Liberty,” perhaps the most surprising song choice of the evening: the leader of Ratdog sang with a purpose—the tune clearly carries meaning for him—and the whole group rose to the occasion. Gordon returned to participate in puzzling reprises of “Cassidy” and “Birdsong” that did not create any truly memorable moments.
The same might be said of the whole evening, notwithstanding the odd sight of a gray-haired, ponytailed man marching around the stage with a faux American flag containing a peace sign in the stars field while Weir and Co.—plus many of the attendees in sing-along (as had occurred equally loudly on “Sugar Magnolia’s” romp to the end of the regular second set) –offered a “U.S. Blues.”
The tune seemed to have more to do with the passing of the seasons (“summertime come and gone”) than any political import. But then it was that slightly out-of-sync kind of night, tipped off by the sight of Bob Weir standing onstage in November wearing a t-shirt, shorts and sandals. It wasn’t that hot.
state of the music.com, burligton
What does Bobby say at the end of the show?...'everybody say thank you, uncle mutt'...?
Mark from Sterling, Sterling, AK