Gov't Mule - why did they play so long? Almost two hours and I don't think I enjoyed any of it. Warren was better when he joined RD for a couple of numbers.
RatDog - music was very good but the venue was crap. The sound was better than I expected it would be when I walked in but it still wasn't great. Don't come back to the WaMu ever again. Sterile atmosphere, extrememly expensive beverages and staffers that would have rather been somwwhere else. The Moore last February was a great time so keep coming to Seattle but avoid the 'convention center' venues. Great setlist but too short! My buddy got a copy of the setlist after the show and Morning Dew was on it but cut out of the performace. The guys rushed off and back again for the closer and then it was lights on and Bobby apologizing by saying, "Sorry, we ran out of time." A time restraint? Mule took up too much time. Cut the opener to an hour and get on with the main event just the way the fans have come to expect it from RatDog for all these years. Better luck down the road to all you DogHeads on this run.
Great setlist for Ratdog, but I have to agree with the other review -- the venue is just awful. The poor acoustics took away from what could have been a smoking set by Bobby & Co. that really could have taken off at Jack Straw. Please please please play the Showbox or somewhere with a little bit of character and decent sound. A concert at the WAMU theater is like watching a band in a high-school gym. I thought Mule was disappointing, but in such a horrible place I don't think it was an accurate picture so I'll give them a pass.
Sean Reay, Everett, Wa
We leave a bit late, no hang ups though, drive is smooth...we park at the venue, sweet spot at a diagonal in the garage with open air on both sides, dogs get out and run like freaks. Yeah...had our pups...too long to leave them at home, plus they know what shows are all about and I think the oldest one likes the freaky people. Feed and water the critters...exit stage left.
Walk about 5 minutes to find friends the pub, sit down, order some 9% beers and start talking about shows down in Oregon...then talked about real life. Ordered food...burger with bacon, 'cuz what's a show without bacon? Enter more friends, more killer beers. We all chit chat about life...you know the deal.
...leave and let the dogs run free...get ready for heading in...at this point it's about 5:45...band goes on at 6. No lines...no nothing...walk in, hit the bar, buy $9 shots and pound them. Warren starts playing.
Walk in...instantly find what I would call a sweet spot. I look for these things, you know...visually. There are usually very normal looking, old freaks that are standing together, with plenty of room in front of them. My theory is that they've been farther in front and just work their way back until it's loose and sounds good. Well it sounded great. Pure...not too loud...you could hear everything from the fuzz in an effect, to the cymbals trailing off...and it certainly wasn't too loud.
The venue was a huge, open "event center". They'll pull RVs and boats in there for shows...set up bass ponds and archery sets, do the outdoorsman thing...etc. So the front was this big open cement wasteland.....but...to my eyes, it was roughly the size of the Fillmore in SF(lengthwise, but wider). Then mics were behind that area, along with the sbd, and then there were these gently sloped risers with seats. That was odd...by that time you'd have really been back from the band, and I'm sure the sound would have just gone off into nowhere. I don't know why you'd want to even be there. There were bars even farther to the side...bathrooms were a hike, into another section that had the merch, food, a larger bar...but all this was removed from the actual stage area. The space is just a vast wasteland. Wanna do it right? Marymoor Park in the Summer...someone make a note!
So we're pretty much in one of those Zones of sound. I loved it....maybe 25 rows from the stage(mind you, I'm counting heads in front of me kinda thing, so who nose...)....pretty much in front of where MK will be(his stacks and where Danny is set up for Mule).
The Mule sounded good...opened pretty simply...these "jams" are kinda just warm ups to me...kinda let people know the show's starting, rather than working into a song.
*Patchwork Quilt - nice...always a pleasure 'cuz I think about Jer
*Sugaree (with Jeff Chimenti) - first, the dueling keys were a great addition, instead of having Bobby out there singing. They set up a mic, he was in the wings, but I'm really glad he didn't come out. I don't like them sharing verses...and Warren did a great one.
*Unblow Your Horn/Reblow Your Mind Get Up>Stand Up Jam - good
*Lay Your Burden Down->Smokestack Lightning - This stuff was really good...just rumbled
*Little Wing - F@ckin' AWESOME. Warren ripping it on the Firebird, full of soul...just a huge nod to Seattle and Jimi. That thing was great. At this point, we thought the show was over or we'd get one more.
*32/20 Blues (with Kenny Brooks) - F@CKIN' A!!! Not only did Kenny blow and blow, but they let his just tear it up!!! Warren had a huge grin and the whole band dug it. You don't get to hear Kenny to that with Ratdog...'cept maybe in stuff....but not really.
*Soulshine - yeah, yeah...but still, it was really good...then we knew it was over.
They played for 2+ hrs. Dunno about 2.5, but longer than 2.
I like the Mule for what they are...and that's classic rock. Any cover they do is worth hearing....they hit some cool spaces and don't really try to do stuff they can't do. I thought it was a really good set...parts were fantastic...and it got folks pumped! Warren has it all...worthy guitar skills, soulful vocals, good slidework...nice songbook...tight band.
In the beginning, and old Zero friend came up and gave me a huge hug. We hadn't seen each other for 9 years? Time flies. Anyway, he was blown away by them. The guy has more music than anyone in the world(well...you know, he's that kind of guy), and said he'd have to dig out his Mule stuff and give them another chance. Honestly, they've sounded great this year, so I think I'll send him whatever I download.
...piss break...and grabbed drinks for us all...lubricate the joints.
We walk to within 10 feet of where we'd been...nobody had really filled in that spot(thus strengthening my theory on it being a sweet spot)...and sparks flew. I was set straight by the time Slipknot started....been a long time since I had a head full of good smoke. Gotta say it helps get the paisley GD dna clicking in time!
It was slinking...just creeping along...like you were adrift on a nice little river...blue waters during Help, but they started to get murky....current picked up, we coast around a corner...Slipknot was neat for me with a head full of water imagery and the lingering scent of my past. Now everyone knows it's gonna come to an end...why say it "trainwrecks"? If it doesn't...then it's gonna go into something planned...so as it meandered down and I got out on the rocky shoreline, while little flickerings of Cassidy drifted by and kinda swirled around....but you could tell they were just visiting. We've got land underneath or feet now...we'll set sail again later.
Jack Straw was NICE! Slowly embraced you like an old friend...got you rockin' on your heels...and then took off. This one is good...not that there are really that many bad ones that I've heard, but I think this one has it's spurs kickin' in. It had that air of "Bobby gem treatment"...and Jay's vocals are actually pretty sweet. I liked it so much I forgot I don't like the reggae breakdown...so it was just a funky groove to me, not reggae. LOVED IT!
Now we'd been panning Rooster at dinner. I mean, it is what it is...right...and if you don't like Bobby's slide work in it, well then...go take a piss. Me? I like Bobby's slide work and always have liked the song. I don't admit it much...but I don't like Walkin' Blues, so I guess it goes that way with me. This one makes me realize I have made the right decision. It was good...surprisingly good. Hell, my wife said it was good and she's as tough a Bobby critic as anyone...especially for someone who never listens to Ratdog's music. It rocks...solid guitars...good stuff. Of course I'm lit at this point so maybe I'm wrong...furry headed too...slanty eyes...I'm feeling good!
Now as BirdSong started I wondered if it would turn into naptime, but realized that with Warren on stage, it was gonna help...and it was really nicely played. While I'm not exactly sure, I think there are seagull sounds....either made by Bobby or Warren...probably those "bird sounds" that Warren and the Allman guys make on their guitars(I'm sure there's a technical term for this effect, but you all know what I'm talking about). I heard seagulls...I guess they could've gotten in...someone might want to check. Nasty birds. Sorry...slight tangent. Sooooo...good vocals...well played...just a polished gem as well. When it clanked into Big Railroad, Warren really did seem to shine. I thought he'd leave after Birdsong, but I think he was having too much fun. That got folks moving! The whole Warren sit in was really good stuff.
...so at this point in time, yeah...I'm surprised at how good it is. It's got this feeling where you're thinking about how good Mule sounded doing what they did...rockin' out...and then you realize that Ratdog has this unique feeling that is truly fantastic when it hits you right. You've heard it preached: set and setting. It's true. This thing was damn good at this point. I couldn't complain if I had to...it was tight...vocals were nice...harmonies good...fucking solid and I'd give it an easy going A for effort and execution.
Now say what you will about trying to keep the same formula and crush it into a 2+hr set. Maybe you should...maybe not. I think it's a tall order for Ratdog to do...because I think they're more about the flow. Mule has no problem...just rock it out. For Ratdog...I think it's tougher...I think that's why people prefer their shows uncluttered by a co-bill.
So it's campfire time here on our own little island in the middle of this PNW forest, river rushing by...we've flown with the birds, talked about cowboy days and the railroad that brought us all west. Might as well pine over lost loves and wax poetic about society crumbling.
You Win Again...well...vocally, for me, it's the one that suffered. It's not my favorite song choice, but whatever...you can't really do much about that now, can you? Bobby finally sounded raspy and with the delivery. I think his voice shows obvious wear at times...this was certainly one way to showcase it. Then again, it's probably far better than the ones at the end of a tour. Kinda boring...I smoked another...made sense to me!
...now there are some songs that Ratdog just blow out of the water....seriously....fuckin' "cannonball crater" left in the ripplin' water. Hard Rain is one of those songs. I loved it the last time I saw it in Seattle....I loved it even more this time. It was fan-fookin'-tastic!!! I think some people actually were shocked at how good a Hard Rain could be.
Now mind you, this crowd was my cup of tea-tottlers! Seriously...I dunno where the wookies were, but I'm damn glad they weren't around me. At 37, I think I was the oldest person in a 100ft circle of tie dyes, balding graybeards, and time honored weirdos. It was great. In fact....I really didn't see that many young freaks at all...some would push by you...a few were ushered out. But you know, after years of wanting to be on that rail, I realize loose, comfy space...with good friends and good vibes...it beats the hell out of the sweat pit of stink.
To go from the epic delivery of Hard Rain, to the absolute Bobby Cheesery of She Says, would seem like a travesty against mankind. In part...it is...and it was...but this wasn't that bad. I started out hating it....just a friggin' shame that I had to even hear it...my wife was in hysterics...and more than a few were basically standing still, scratching their domes in disbelief. That's were elements sounded like polished 80s, radio play schlock. I hated the background vox...just plain bad with Jay in the high registers...but then they'd slip into some groove that didn't make me hate it. Did I like it? No. But I didn't hate it.
By Two Djinn...I was hazy. She Says zapped the life out of the room, full bladder urgency two steps were averted, and they were trying to set us all back out on that raft into the murky river we'd gotten off of for the Jack Straw. Now I love the song....just love it...and would've rather lost my eyelids during the tune, instead of before it...but whatever...head's all empty....and again we get slinky and almost exotic. I cannot comment on it that much because I was drifting and dreaming, again adrift on the river we'd started on at the beginning of the show....
...but I liked it, the aching cheeks indicated it. Stuff wasn't a standout in my fuzzy memory either. It seemed just long enough for Weir to piss and probably drink half a Sierra...then, oddly, he appears playing as he's walking back onstage...actually picking along with whatever groove the other guys are into. That I liked. Then it was all cut off and I guess we'd made it over the rapids...no waterfalls...nice rapids though.
SOTM. Well...I love the song...I think Bobby does it decently, not great...but I'll take it over a lot of the Garcia stuff he does. I wanted a Days Between, but I think he'd of lost the crowd with that one. I think it's a decent version. It doesn't stand out...the only thing that does is him blowing lyrics...and that's nothing new, but get this. He blows the lyrics and backs away...thinking....steps up, pulls back...still nothing joggin' that addled brain. Then he steps into the spotlight(yellow glow)and stares up...as if looking to the heavens, or into the light, for Divine Inspiration. CHEESEBALL!!!! Funny as hell....but still played up schtick and cheesey. I'm gonna guess you'll see it someday, if you haven't already, 'cuz I could see it becoming somewhat routine. It got laughs.
And the rest is history. I'd hoped it wouldda slinked out with Slipknot, but we weren't that lucky. That would have been ideal and that's my only real bitch. The clock on the wall was pushing 11 by that point...why waste the time on OMSN. Then again, I guess you rock it out and the crowd goes wild. But this was no dance party, that's for sure. It was a river trip down a PNW forest...shouldda slipped into the ocean by going back into the Slipknot and ending it properly with Frank's. Screw the OMSN...or call it your encore and scrap it. Hey Bobby...you don't need an encore.
But...they leave...hover for maybe a minute...rush through a brief Slipknot outtro, then into a very rushed Franklin's. It wasn't bad...just too short...maybe 5 minutes or something like that. They shouldda just reversed it and it would have been golden. Both bands are getting the same amount of time, so I guess they'll work it out more when they get around to crunching down to 2+ hrs.
But the show was good. The whole thing was solid and well played. For me...it was drifting down a river, stopping to play in the sand, reflecting a bit on life....then getting in the boat to head back to that vast ocean of the music which is the soundtrack to our lives. No complaints.
But a great night of music with two bands that work well together. There will be some pretty cool moments that come out of this tour. I'm pretty sure I won't miss Bobby again(hadn't been since Seattle'05)....and this co-bill is really worth your time if you like the bands. Great interplay with the musicians joining each other...Jeff and Kenny were great with the Mule.
...and MK...nice to have him back. He sounded great...seems focused...and I certainly didn't see any crazy hand signals cutting him off from doing what he's doing.
Dave, Pt. Bob
Hehehe... looks like this will go down as the "Sincere Apologies" Tour.
Strange how Warren's Website was touting the "Equal Playing time" long before the tour started but nothing more than "Govt Mule opens" on Ratdogs site.
I guess I'm not surprised, I don't think Bob would sell as many tix if people knew in advance they were getting a "mini show" .... we shall see, people know now what to expect and can plan accordingly. Like choosing to spend the $40 on Pizza and beer instead of a watered down Ratdog show with no energy and an apology instead of an encore.
PLQ Crushes RD, PDX
Again, sterile concrete wasteland.
I enjoyed myself completely, knowing that this would be all I get for a year. It had its moments, I thought everything was great. And a purple velvet hat has gone on to a better place....
I will say that marymoor is the venue for this show next time. The element of nature just MUST be present. as well as the sound issues, and well, everything.
I could drip goo all over this page about what my show experience was like, but I think eveyone already knows. he he he he he. so hard and so soft, so extreem and so naturaly pleasant.
Thanks Dave & Pt. Bob for your positive review, and the excellent writing.
I loved the Eugene show, and am looking forward to 5 up-coming shows.
Ben Anderson, Burlingame, CA
Wa-Mu venue is HORRIBLE. With HORRRIBLE STAFF and HORRIBLE HOSPITALITY. HORRIBLE.
Mark Oliver, Seattle
Something has been bothering me for a while with Ratdog and I realized what it was.... bobby let's the band meander. It would be one thing if the band had a groove, one instrucment steppign up and providing something for everyone else to play off of, but their jams tend to be more of a free for all, with everyone pissing into the mix.
Take jackstraw for instance. Towards the end there was an unexpected jam, the brakes were hit and the music went nowhere. There was sounds from the band, but nothing was being stated or ... idunno, it was just intruments playing. I took a music philopshy course that focused on what the artist was trying to state with the music... these jams said nothing to me.
That said, it has been many many years since I had lots of free space to get down, and I had blast! 3 more shows to go.... no where else i'd rather be.
Yeah, the mule played too long and Bobby too short. I thought after the Sugaree, Mule would go to a closer and that would be that... but no, it went for a while more
1 more Sat night was short, too .....
Lostsailor, Los Angeles
Very Urgent to get to the show, I showed up hours early to find only a few people waiting..
Since I'm not anywhere from near the Seattle area I tried to make some friends and what not, Met a really cool guy named Jessie who I talked to for nearly 4 hours! He was a really far out person who will always be a large reminder of this venue..
Now doors open, People gently come in, Everythings fine you know, Everyone walks up to the front of stage and sits down, conversing, having a good time and what not, I walked around the theater a bit, Just to check it out, It's VERY LARGE!..Like another review said, Kind of reminded me of a concert type thing in a school gym! ...Out of the subject..I registered to vote!....
I get back to the stage area, where I meet some other cool folks, who tell me a few tales, and talk of music and the arts, Then the music starts, Govt Mule played a good show, Kind of suprised me by playing Sugaree..I guess I just couldn't see Mule playing that (Not saying its bad or anything, Just saying it's different) They jammed some far out songs and what not, leaving me breathless with some of the slide guitar face melting, Warren can dish out some far out vocals too, Their set didn't seem too long, But I guess I was expecting a bit of a longer show!..
(These were my expectations before the show started)
Anyway during you know break (equipment change!) I met more cool people, these two by the names of Hollis and Janet, Once again, very far out people, We talked untill Bob nearly came on stage...
When Ratdog came on stage, I thought the first jam kind of set the mood that mostly ran throughout the show, Then entering in with Help on the way, and slipknot, really was a far out experiance to get to hear those, Regardless I was hoping for a Franklins tower as the closing of slipknot came to a rushing halt, not upset when it wasn't played right after slipknot but..I don't know guess I just kind of felt like it belonged, I suppose I'll live =) haha
Anyways, Jackstraw kicked some major butt! It just did feel sort of homey, you know, a song that belongs!
Then Rooster, which is a far out tune, done with justice I suppose, Bird song one of my personal favorites of course, with Warren on guitar just jamming along, Kind of putting you in a floating state I suppose, I guess I'm just soft for that song..Really enjoyed it..Then afterwards Railroad blues was far out, Well lets just say the hole show was far out, Standing on the moon kind of reminded me in a sad tone of how the Grateful Dead can never play with there full force again..Once again I guess just a personal thing, A hards rain was cool too with Bob on the acoustic guitar..But the Franklins Tower in the very end did kind of upset me, I guess I couldn't really get a grasp on it, I mean I really wanted to but for some odd reason I guess I just thought it belonged way back in the set! But then the show was over, I said goodbye to who I had talked to throughout the day, Or the ones friendly enough to talk to me after the show
I guess when I first showed up, or even before the show I had vividly painted a picture of the shows colorful people, with mass creativeness, Love being spread through music and life, But on a sorrowful side some of the folks were just down right cold, sculding you if you danced around them, fighting was going on, I remember Warren flashing his peace sign and telling everyone 'Can't we just get along"?.. I suppose I just painted a picture of what I though my experiance was going to be and it ended up being less than what I expected (but great nevertheless) I guess I should now plan ahead before I think I'm heading into some sort of dream world where the music can just take you alone to your own special nirvana hidden in the mossy forest of middle earth!
But..I guess that's my review..if you'd like to call it that, Hopefully I'll be able to go to more shows this year, I'm really looking forward to it..But you know all that jazz....
Peace,love,truth,beauty - Love Travis =)..or Peachead101 haha!
Travis B., Taylor, Michigan
Ah... The WaMu Theatre...... You'd NEVER expect an events center to have good sound...but somehow, it does..... They try to create a "theatre" atmosphere.. It works to an extent... Anywho. Mule blew me away!!!! I haven't seen them since they were a HEAVY power trio 'ala 1999... MUch more funky and soul with a full band.... and believe it or not, DUB reggae!!!! They threw down some drippin' roots dub grooves that would make Lee Scratch Perry turn his head! Good stuff, not to mention Warrens RIPPING guitar jams.. Sugaree and Little Wing jams were just plain silly sick!
Ratdoggy! I called the Help>Slip opener!! ..and was owed a few $8 beers(yes, I f*ucking said $8 for a Bud!!!!! CRIME!!!)
Great opener.. Jackstraw was strong, VERY strong! The entire show was great.. LIke an earlier poster mentioned, Bobby needs to rein in the band sometimes, or at least guide the jams... They do seem to meander a bit aimlessly.. But I tend to like that.. I never want to know were anything is going, as long as chances are taken!! Some fall, some fly! It's jazz baby! Rooster was great too, nice laid back blues vibe. Bird Song took off big time due to Warrens appearance that led to a blistering Big RR Blues... A highlight for sure..... You Win Again was to to memorable but the following Hard Rain was my personal fav!!! The crowd really dug into this one, and that is half the vibe!.. She Says-2 Djinn & Stuff were sort of a drag down.... Lots of aimless jams and beer garden music for me.. sorry.. BUt Bobby lit it back up with a beautiful Moon > Sat. Night!!!!
The Slipknot> Franklin's Tower was a no brainer.. FUN but WAY TOO SHORT!!!! What is up with these shows West Coast shows ending so abruptly!!!!!!!
Johnny, Kingston, Wa.