Hello all...I hope Spring is treating everyone alright, we got treated to 5 to 7 inches of snow, but that is how it goes. I was looking forward to the show tonight, especially since Mark was back in the guitar seat. Great venue and a good solid crowd.
NOTE: Let me say this to everyone doing other shows on this tour, Ratdog comes out playing right at announced show time. I walked into the theatre at 8:10 and they were already on stage. I had missed about half of the opening jam. So know that you should be in and ready at start time.
Of the two sets, I preferred the first set, due to the fact that the energy was there and that the flow, more importantly, was in the first set throughout. The opening jam, of what I heard, was strong and powerful, with Robin being very active, as he was for most of the night. Is it me, or is he just getting better and better. He is a great musician to watch and listen too. The Other One could be felt during this jam. The Truckin opener was great, and I think Bobby nailed all the verses right, which it is nice to hear a clean version. Mark's guitar was loud and clear, reminded me during this song of Garcia's 1971 sound, which I like a lot. Loose Lucy was a good follow and kept the energy going. Next was Senor, my first listen to live of a Ratdog version. For me this was the song of the night. Lyrics were tight, the mood was good and the solo that Mark threw at us was over the top. The crowd gave him a great round of applause after that one. Great to hear and nice to see him back. Crazy Fingers was solid too, and for me I like the mid-set placement. The band didn't get to slow and down with the tempo, which at times this song can do. They kept it upbeat and tropical sounding, just like a good Crazy Fingers should do. The next surprise for me was the Big Boss Man. Love that one, and a good version all around. The rest of the set kept the energy going and finished rocking with Tomorrow Never Knows. I do like the piano intro, which I hadn't heard, on Lucky Enough, I was hoping and could kind of catch Lost Sailor in Jeff's intro, but as it settled down a good version of Lucky Enough came out. I must say that I do like it more at Ratdog shows that the band plays their music. While the Grateful Dead songs are their music too, I like when they play their originals. Good time, great to have Mark back and a solid start to Spring Tour with this first set. Again, listen to the Senor....money.
Second set was different for me, as I said, the energy epped and flowed different and wasn't always there. Although, the Dark Hallow opener was sweet. I didn't expect that and that song is always a favorite. Me and My Uncle was well played with some good guitar work for both Bobby and Mark. I was hoping that we would be a cowboy two-fer, with Big River being next, as we were in St. Paul, Minnesota. But it wasn't to be and a good Corrina was next with Bobby staying on acoustic throughout. Kenny finally got a chance to shine and put in a great solo here too. Sometimes he gets lost in the mix, but when it is his time, he is there and solid. Now this is where the set started to slow down for me. Althea was good, a bit misjointed, but good, although I'm not a huge fan of the song anyway and then Iko Iko, which the crowd really liked, was next and that is one song that seems to follow me around, thus it didn't help to boost the energy leave back up. A good version with Bobby on tamborine at the start and end of the song. The "stuff" that followed next wasn't as good as I have heard in the past. I like it when those guys get after it and really create fresh music. To which they did, but I think that they kept the Iko theme going too long and it took over this segment. Jeff played some very cool keyboard sounds and textures during this. Jay played hard, as he always does and Robin and Kenny added their color. Before Standing on the Moon, when Bobby and Mark rejoined the band, very subtle hints of Dark Star where there and I thought that this was the direction the band could have very easily had gone. The Standing on the Moon, despite the roaring finish, was not the best, with Bobby blowing at least a third of the lyrics, to which I could only shake my head. I know this is part of the deal, but I wasn't in the mood for that many miscues. The end of the set picked up with Throwing Stones which had Bobby and Mark out front and rocking the six strings in good old fashion, which is was nice to see. This started to get me going again and the pace set from the end of Standing on the Moon carried throughout the rest of the show. The Not Fade Away was solid. It had been awhile since I had heard this song live, so it was a treat. Good solos from everyone and a great wall of sound during the jams in this song and in Throwing Stones too. With that the second set came to an end. I was hoping for a non-Touch of Grey encore and was treated to GDTRFB. Sweet. Full force, letter perfect and just plain balls to the wall rock and roll. A nice way to end the show that was good overall and a great way to start the tour.
That is what I got from the memory bank. I'll have to listen to the show again when the downloads become available, as the line for CD's was LONG.
Of note, thanks to Hippie Bill for the birthday cake at set break, as Bobby told of after the show that it was the lighting guys, Chris I think his name is, birthday and cake was being handed out.
Also, Al Franken made an appearance at the show, before the start of the second set. Great to see! I'm sure he was backstage for the first set, but made his way to the floor with us for round two.
To everyone else out there, waiting to see Ratdog, it is going to be a great tour, I feel, as the band is awakened with Mark back and he is ready to go. Check out the terminator bust that he has on top of his stack with a sign that says "LIVE" underneath it. I don't know where that came from, but he is ready to go.
Thank for reading.
Kaveh Rahimi, Minneapolis, MN
last nites show was wonderful. I wish it would have never ended. And the balloon vender outside after the show was a real sweet trip down memory lane thanks buddy!!!
Was it just me, or was Mark's guitar was way too loud? At time, I felt as if it was distorted. But all in all, a good show.
the "terminator" bust that the above reviewer spoke of that was atop Mark's stack is actually a radiation shield that he wore to protect his head while undergoing chemotherapy. this was his first night back with the band after his ordeal and man...both the crew and he could feel how much his journey back to the stage meant to everyone.
some of his leads were ripped with utter ebulliency that reflected only the sheer joy of being alive and experiencing something that only days ago was an uncertainty.
even the most jaded members of the backstage crew were beaming and clapping with each lead.
we spoke to him after the show and he couldn't tell us enough how much it meant to him. i think he got off more than anyone in the house last night... he deserved it.
i was just happy to be close enough to feel the energy.
i never made it out into the house to watch the band from out front, so i can't speak of the sound off the deck, but onstage the sound was beautiful.
i gotta thank everyone that participated in a wonderful night and for RatDog's monitor tech: Jack Kirby is the King!!!
This was a fun show. I had a good time. The band played two of my two of my Ratdog.org Fantasy pics--Truckin' and Iko Iko--both were played great. TNK as a set closer I'll take any day, and the GDTRFB encore was rockin'!
I also loved the Senor--appropriate for Good Friday.
Crazy Fingers was wonderful!
The best tune of the night though for me was Althea. I thought it worked the best out of all the songs played--it was the most Ratdog-like;it fit the best with their sound.
I like the way Ratdog approaches the music, no complaints about the tempo--but the guitars were very distorted at times. My ears felt clogged. This hampered otherwise great efforts--such as SOTM.
Also worth noting is Corrina--that's my jam!!
The acoustic numbers were also awesome! Iko also is just a great party song and it provided a smooth transition to Stuff.
It was cool to see Bobby smile at Al Franken during Throwing Stones. That was also a great version.
Light show was cool too.
The only reason I gave the show a 9 instead of a 10 was because of the sound. The Lucky Enough also was pretty unintelligible vocally but did have some nice guitar parts.
All in all, I'm glad I made the trip. It was one hell of an evening!!
Scott Probeck, Boulder. CO
I sat in the balcony, row E, seat 30...pretty much in the middle.
It was cool to see everything from there, like I was looking down and could see the whole action on stage, back stage, and in the front rows.
When they started out with Truckin', a tear drop came down from my eye. Man, I love Bob's voice.
Hey, RATDOG!!! PLEASE COME BACK TO MINNESOTA THIS SUMMER TO PLAY 10KLF with Phil and Mickey!!!!! I have been to the last two 10K's, last year Ratdog, the year before Phil and Friends, let's see some more collaboration!!
I'll keep dreaming.
Kyle Rooster, Fargo
All in all this was a solid show. The energy out of the gates was phenomenal! I couldn't believe how loud Mark's guitar was turned up...perhaps a little too loud because at times it was all I could hear.
Dan, Madison, WI
All-in-all, it was a fun night in snowy, St. Paul. I was hoping for a night filled with amazing jams to signify the beginning of spring tour, but it appears that we got the warm-up I felt we would get, considering the fact that it was the first night out.
It has been about ten years since I have seen any of the band, or the scene. It was wild to see how things have changed. The Truckin-Loose Lucy opener provided some optimsm for a strong night ahead. However, the music seemed to lull in the middle until the Big Boss Man, which was a welcome surprise. TNK was a fine ending.
Second set took off with an amazing Sugar Mag tease which thrilled me as it flowed into a tight Dark Hollow. The Uncle brought back vivid memories of an action-filled youth on the road. Althea and Standing on the Moon, minus the vocal "whiffs", were wonderful and tantalizing. I was hopeful when Throwing Stones came out of the transition with images of grooving to Lovelight, my optimism fell when I realized the Not Fade Away jam was materializing into full song mode.
My highlight for the night was GDTRFB. A wonderful groove to finish an otherwise lack-luster night. I mean, how could you not throw down the Big River in lieu of the location?
In summation, it was a fine night. Travel was good, the snow a bit demoralizing on the heels of some nice weather up here, and the band gave us a nice, safe, opening night performance. Thanks Bobby for the good times and memories.
Healing Waters, Mankato,MN
What a sick show, no such thing as a bad seat in this venue. Lots of energy from the guys, even though the vibe from some people on the balcony can be a bit of a downer, Who sits during a Ratdog show? Yet, Bob and the band have set the pace and bar for a great tour and i cant wait to see what the will pull off for the three nights in NY, NY. special thanks to Jared S for being such a big fan! CCORRIIIINNNNAAAAAAAAA
Andrew , Sioux Falls SD
We bought the discs of the show that night, and I haven't been sorry- It still pumps me up to listen to it. How lucky we are that Bobby is still giving so generously of himself and entertaining with such a fine crew! It must take an enormous amount of energy and creativity to constantly put a new spin on pieces you've been performing for 30-40 years or so. Loved the opening jam, Loose Lucy was a blast, and the keyboard solo into that sweet Lucky Enough was a thing of beauty. Keep it up guys-wish you were coming back through this way!
Thought that the show was out of this world. Everyone sounded great and in such a small theater the energy is really flowing. I think the best part of it was when we were pulling into the parking lot we drove by the buses and one of my friends said " Do you guys want to go lick bobby's bus" and then a man got off the bus which caused us to stop. But then Bobby stepped off and walked across in front of the car. We rolled down the windows and start cheering for him, then one friend yelled out the window," Bobby, you gonna wear your short shorts tonight." To which he replied "Well I don't know." Then he walked inside. Pretty cool moment.
Josh, Saint Paul MN