8/15/2008 Setlist, Photos, and Reviews

Opened for The Allman Brothers Band

Friday, August 15, 2008
PNC Bank Arts Center
Holmdel, NJ


Sounded great.. Cassidy/Birdsong, once again overkill. Set isn't long enough to spend so much time playing two played out tunes..


How about that weather????

navlen, Maplewood
Again, there were moments of excitment in this setlist, but noty many at all. I have to agree with navlen that the Cassidy/Bird Song in-and-out is just poop for this kind of setup. PNC in Holmdel is starting to become my least favorite venue in the state of NJ (which stinks because its the closest for me to travel to) with this BS 2 hour before showtime parking lot open. I got there at 230pm and had to chill near the Vietnam Memorial (but was booted by the NJ State Troopers, rightfully so, but this no-more-tailgating this at PNC is not condusive to the people that attend RD or ABB shows.

The Dire Wolf was okay; Bobby hummed some of the lyrics though :-( and the excitement of the US BLues was just too late of a setlist and performance that was.....well.....not as good of a time as I would have liked. Days Between was a nice change for me b/c I had never seen RD perform it before......but.....Bobby does not have the vocal range for that song IMHO. I would have rathered a Morning Dew or SOTM in that slot in the setlist.

Maybe its just PNC and the crappy sound there unless you are sitting directly behind the soundboard, but DAMN!!!!! Turn Mark Karan UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and Chimenti should be using that B3 Organ a hellava lot more.

For $30 worth it I supposse.............

Looking forward to Phil on Halloween at Nokia; at least at that show I know what I am in for.......HEAT!!!!! Not Bobby pulling back on the reigns of the band, "Whooooaaaaa!!!!"

GreenGoat, Parisppany
Tonight they pushed back against expectations. Tonight they were artists.

West Coast Lewis Brother, Los Angeles
I thought this show was a lot better then the last Ratdog show I went to (4/5/08 at the Beacon). I'm sure the Cassidy>Birdsong was annoying to many who have heard it done before, but this was my 16th Dead/Ratdog show and the first time I heard it. I thought it sounded really good. The band did seemed tighter then the last time I saw them, and they really jammed a lot. Only played 10 or 11 songs but were on for 2 hours, so there was a lot of jamming in between. I get annoyed when Ratdog becomes too disjointed in jams, but tonight they seemed like they held it together. The U.S. Blues was a great surprise for an encore. Its great to see Mark back in shape and playing as well as ever, I think he was really on que tonight. The quality of music was good, but I would have liked to see a setlist with a little more Dead and a little less Even So>October>Deep End. This isn't bad, but it takes up a lot time out of the set and once you hear Even So you're almost guaranteed the other two. Overall I really enjoyed Bobby’s set. Not the best show I’ve seen, but very, very far from the worst.

Overall 8/10

P.S. The Allman Brothers also played a great set.

See everyone next Saturday in Camden!

FuzzyTom, New Brunswick
i feel like the band has gotten inside the beat. theyre not learning or practicing right now, theyre not getting used to steve kimock, theyre not getting reacquainted with mark...they are back in the swing of things. its like everyone got their own parts down and now theyre free to listen to and play off each other. bobs guitar and vocal are a notch up from last tour. marks no longer rusty, which is excellent. i feel like fall tour will be a great time for this band to really go all out with 2 full sets again and everybody clicking.

birdsong/cassidy contained interesting jams, changing keys/grooves/vibes multiple times. dire wolf came out of a cool jam where i almost sensed a senor tease followed by a sitting in limbo tease, the piano and guitar solos on it were notable. bobs vocal phrasing and timing was very cool in dire wolf also. even so, a favorite of mine...played well bobs vocals once again impressive compared to spring tour. the october queen solos were a nice appetizer for an all out frenzy of a deep end jam, during intense lightning and rain. deepend jam was one of the highlights of the night. SOG and HIAB were good to pump the energy back up (some people think even so is too slow, so they chit chat during the whole song) more of the same in milestones, definitely reaching some new nooks and crannies the jams never got to before. i think mark and bob are taking kindly to the lil tempo increases as of late. stuff reminded me of alphabet soup, then a euphoric suspended chord fills the air and i get anxious thinking about how bob is about to belt out days between, and once again he does a fine job, his enunciation is pristine, S's very crisp consonants crackling in the wind. days between was the other highlight of the night, followed by the last piece of our birdsong cassidy sandwich, which wasnt bad, there was a tasty sauce spread across it. us blues, so much fun. great encore, hippie bill is my hero, cant wait for camden. 4 out 5 stars tonight, very good playing but not a very unique setlist...except!!!! no acoustic songs!!! damn almost forgot to mention that, the only downer of the night for me because the @ section is always my favorite part of the show.

cloudhands, close to ratdog tour
RAIN RAIN RAIN RAAAAIN - I DONT MIND . People why the fuck are we being so critical - Ive been seeing shows since 1978 and ive been to every incarnation and to me its all good . Hell I fucken treasure it - 2 or 3 hours to break free from reality , put on my tye dye and bop around , NICEEEEEEEEE . So last nights show how was it it ?? GOOD !
So what if Cassidy and Bird Song are played out a little its no different than when the GD would do Throwing Stones into Not Fade Away a million times , it is what it is . I agree that the band is back in full groove sound wise and Mark fucken rocked ( god bless Mark ) . Bobby was in fine form really belting out the vocals . Cassidy - Bird Song was good / Dire Wolf rocked / always loved a spooky little Even So / words cant explain how I feel about Days Between and Hippie Bill and US Blues rocked the house . As for a 2 hour show in the pouring rain its ok with me , Im getting old and to be in bed after a show by midnight is A OK with me buckwheat - see you in Camden !!!!!!!

Tim Crawford, Jackson NJ
THE RAIN! Jeez! "Just goes to show, you don't ever know..." Lesson learned - get seats, no more lawn tickets LOL !!! The boys sounded great and it was a great venue but the first raindrops were felt as soon as Ratdog took the stage. Got soaked to the bone but loved hearing the tunes and spending the day with great friends Melissa, Mike, Stu, Scott and my incredible Gina! Bobby and the way Ratdog continues to "gel" just simply amazes me, CYA in Camden on the 23rd Bobby! We should be dried out by then!

Steve Wojtak, Buena, NJ
Cloudhands- great comment on Hippie Bill. He is a smooth operator. I spent some time with him at a show in Jacksonville last fall. I was wondering if you or someone else could help me out. I am hitting the Chicago show in a week and a half and I am wondering if Bobby or any of the RatDog boys are shredding it with the Almann's during the Almann's set. I know on the West Coast RatDog tour, there was a lot of interplay between the two bands, but how about this Summer Tour. Do Bobby and the boys pack up and bolt town right after their set, or do they stick around and play a few tunes with the Almann's during their set? Do they do a encore together at the end of the evening? I definitely feel that RatDog should not be an opening band. They are cut from a different thread from other touring bands and it is not justified to have them opening for another band.

Johnny Knoxville, Jackass, USA
YO>>>>> where my jelly fish girl go? Couldnt have weatherd da storm without ya... thanks maybe ill see ya in camden.. post a review girl ... lets get together... oh and so glad to see mark really get into it .... gave me da willies... ................ there were days.....................

outthere, around
7/10 opening show, -weather was crazy, the lot didnt open untill freakin' five oclock when bobby came out at around 7. and yes, ratdog Cannot be just an opener. ---- ABB= amazing performance. I live close to PNC but i honestly can't stand it. I'd rather see a show at the tweeter center in Camder and i'll be in Camden next saturday, Yeah! -lookin forward to a better show.

Zach Steinberg, Manahawkin,NJ
Despite the rain, it was a grate day with my love Steve and all our show buds. Especially loved Cassidy, Dire Wolf and October Queen, which was one of the songs I wanted to hear....so very cool!! This was my first time at PNC and the first time I ever saw the 'state boys' out and about in the lots....and for this crowd? Please!! :o) Anyway...on to the next show!!

Gina, Vineland
I agree very much with the review cloudhands posted. I thought the Cassidy jam-out was great, Bird Song is a perfect tune to have a sax in your band, Dire Wolf was the personal highlight for me it was excellent, this setlist isn't very unique and I could bitch, but why bitch about anything(including getting absolutely drenched) when the music is this damn good!! MK ripped, Bobby was great vocally and lyrically, the tempo was at a nice clip, and despite the venue(which I will not be going back to) RatDog put on a fantastic show!! Camden here we come!!

Tyler Ainley, Royersford,PA
Mail order hooked us up large...2nd row orch right so our perspective on the show was nuts before it even started. Liked going in and out of Cassidy/Birdsong but I agree w/others that they may be better suited for a show w/2 sets. Mark looked healthy and up beat up close!!! We would have liked to see the bands interact w/each other during their sets as well. The 5 o'clock parking lot deal flat out sucked. Nothing else for us this summer so we'll see everyone in NYC. Bring your boogie shoes for the marathon!

J & K, Bloomingdale, NJ
This was the best Dog show I've been to so far. So nice and Jazzy and Rockin'. I loved the spacey opener. Dire Wolf was a nice change of pace--back to reality for a moment of rock. Mark played some of his best guitar on The Deep End. He was wailin'! Bobby's playing was excellent and upfront all night especially during the Bird Song reprise. Kenny added some nice licks also.

Thanks to whoever ordered that Lightning storm! Can't get much more dramatic. It brought a smile to my face to hear Weir sing Bucket like the old days. He filled that place with his voice. I loved the venue it was nice to be outside but still covered and out of the rain. It also looked like a flying saucer when you look up at the roof!!

By the way, the Allman Brothers were awesome!! Can't get much better guitar playing than that. Derek was on fire! He played better than I've ever seen him play! After the Ratdog experience I didn't know how much energy and strength I would have for the Allman's set. Thankfully they played several slower songs so I could sit down.

It really was fantastic all around!! Thanks!!!

Scott Probeck, Boulder, CO
This is the easiest review I ever did. I followed the Dead around the country for 15 years,saw 348 shows. Ratdog at Holmdel N.J. was the worst show by a surviving member of the DeadI've ever seen! Now I know why I go see Phil and Freinds. It was lame,thats all I have to say,its my oppinion and you can tell me I suck for it,but ratdog is capable of doing better then that garbage I saw last night.That was just a complete lets get the hell out of here and blow this place off type of show! I'd rather stand out in the rain!

kurt, north plainfield, n.j.
Come on Kurt, get serious. You are better off at a Phil show with Jackoff Greene then seeing Bobby and the boy's rip it up. It's ok though, not everybody can alway's "get" what's goin on at a Dog show... Sounds to me like a pissed off NJ native more than anything.... Peace and keep on Rockin' Bobby. SPAC is where it's gonna be at!

Jay, NYC
Ok Kurt, you got your wish...you do suck!! Big time. Go out and have a nice chill. As far as comparing Ratdog to Phil...not fair. Phil and Friends is like a classic rock interpretation of Grateful Dead music. They have a classic rock drummer (played with John Fogerty) a classic rock guitar player who played with Bob Dylan, a young c.r. player, and an eighties style keyboardist. They also play very few original songs that they wrote themselves. Ratdog on the other hand offers a more original presentation with a nice Jazz and Dub flavor. They also play quite a few great original tunes. So maybe you should stick to Phil Kurt if you want the Classic Rock treatment and spare the rest of us your bad vibes man.

Steve Shimdt , Lakewood, Nevada
Good show, thank you Bobby, but please pick up the tempo! Let Jay rip it! I love mark, but kimock brought this band to a whole new level last summer. We are blessed to have two bands that play GD music, twice the shows to see. Jay from NY, Jackie Greene rocks= he owns sugaree now. And "molo is a classic rock drummer"? thundercloud molo is a sonic monster, a virtuoso, not just some rock drummer. But i love both bands so stop comparing them and enjoy all the music they give us. see ya at spac and nokia.

weir bear, b town, vt
everybody must have forgot that the band playing is RATDOG and not the dead n e more so u cant expect all dead tunes all the time i know october the deep end and even so may not b everyones favorites and that bobby may not put out the really grooving songs at exactly the right time everytime .but give credit where credit is deserved.bobbys 60 and his band is ratdog not the dead so appriciate that u guys even have them performing for your ungrateful asses.and alot of u who are all like phils better .shut up and go to phil shows then.and u guys sound alot like 3rd graders whos arguing on the play ground that my dads better than ur dad saying shit like phils better than bobby and b.s. like that.thats all good day!!!! CA. W,C!!!!

bob 36 1972 willcox az., willcox az.
Not the best show I've ever seenna I've seen a few over the last 31 years. Like Kurt,I can remember when Bobby would sing, not talk his way through songs. I appreciate the fact that all of them (Dog,Phil ,ABB) are aging.So am I. I guess as we age,we become set in our ways:I don't WANT a new twist on Uncle Johns Band,I want to hear it as written(performed over 25 years).Jam was as usual the contrived opener, pointless jamming in between w/ Bob waving and gesticulating at the band,went out as it came in:contrived.U.S. Blues a nice touch, but one of the joys of Grateful Dead music was they didn't beat you over the head w/ their politics. So I'll see them again at Tweeter next week, but I'll be at the show for ABB and hope that Rat Dog .............

Jerome Stoltzfus, gap pa
Had a wonderful time getting together with GRATE friends! Too bad the weather really put a damper on the show. I agree Steve, we are definitely getting too old to deal with lawn seats anymore! Can't wait til Camden!

Melissa, Somers Point, NJ
The Hell in a Bucket was smokin........and the energy was about as high as it got during the Bobby set.....

How come Weir and the Allman's are not jamming together or have they this tour?

I meant no disrespect to John Molo. He's a great drummer and seems like a nice guy too. I was just pointing out that all of Phil's guys now come from a classic rock background and that's the way they play their music. They have a somewhat different approach than Ratdog, although the Dog can really rock and roll too.

Molo went to a GD show in '72 and left early. Not sure about the other guys. I just think that Bobby's players seem more like Grateful Dead guys to me, that's all.

Steve Shimdt , Lakewood, Alabama
Good Show, Weather Sucked But the set was not to shabby, HIAB great the jams on BS,& Cassidy seemed real jazz inspired Days Between Smokin

Bud, Ocean Groove
thanks bobby and the boys for still playing down the street from me. i would go anywhere to still see bob and/or phil my schedule or budget would allow. thank them both for still trying to make us happy just a little while. i am not a critic but i know these shows make me happy and that's the only reason i go. thanks ratdog for the show, for those that were having a great time around me, and gin for the company...tk

tom k, tinton falls
the Ratdog show had its moments but overall I have to say that it was the worst live performance by a group of professional musicians I've ever witnessed. I guess they're new to each other, but their jams were totally disjointed and wandering and the sax was off key by a mile. I was looking forward to a great performance by the Allmans but felt pretty shot after sitting through 2 hours of mostly aimless drivel. Sorry folks.

Rich, West Caldwell
rich, west caldwell. no need to be sorry. now you know and you can stay home next time...

tom k, tinton falls
The state of New Jersey likes to suck the fun out of life. i know, i live here now. It took a great deal of concentration to push past the parking lot fascism, vendor vulturism and terrible acoustics at this venue. The weather did not help either. Still, challenging as the situation was, there was very good music being made. Some very, very good music.

This is the 2nd time i've seen Ratdog live (10,000 Lakes '07 was first) and only the fourth show i've heard, if you include a couple of MP3 recordings, and i am becoming a fast convert. i read it written somewhere by a music critic that Ratdog is nothing but a GD cover band. i could not disagree more. The GD tunes might get people in the door but that's it. RD is its own creature. Listen to the music the lies beyond the chatter. There is incredible creativity and power. Even when played in NJ.

i didn't much care for ABB btw. i've liked rock and blues for some time but feel like there's nothing left to discover there. Perhaps ABB isn't exploring in the right places. There's no surprises. Except with RD. They manage to surprise. Shame that they were the "opening" act.

Peace, and see you at the next show, in another state (of mind.)

Paul S., PDX
I think too many heads are listening to fatty Dead bootlegs from 1977 and expecting this same sound at a Ratdog show in 2008. I've got news for you people, the Grateful Dead were not a perfect band and not every show was that "Dicks Pick" you have in your car. By coming out and saying that was the worst music yo have heard it is obvious yo never even saw the dead or remember how they weaved in and out of magic moments, and some crappy sounding ones, night after night.

With this said, Ratdog has it's moments from song to song, and like the Dead, pull some magic moments every now and then from the jams and songs we love.

To come on here and make a statement that it was the worst music one has ever heard is just naive and makes you look like the amateur you are. Wake up and realize it's 2008 and that 5-8-77 show was 30 years ago.

My wife and I loved the show. Some moments it was a bit slow and jazzy for my liking, other times Mark just sounded beautiful with Bob filling in masterfully. Bobby still has some magic left with this group, his voice still sounds good and I thank him and the rest of the boys for carrying on!

Green Man, Burlington, NJ
Not sure what the rest of you sat through that I didn't...Bobby and the gang seemed to just want to play their set and get off the stage...Considering the pouring rain, he could have at least acknowledged those who paid to see him and put up with the on-going downpour...That accompanied by the very dull and mundane jams made for a pretty crappy show...The only highlight was Dire Wolf and Bird Song...The crowd actually woke up for those and then seemed to go right back to sleep when he decided to revert back to long and boring jams...I am a jam musician myself and the arrangements and improv was extremely sloppy...I have been to my fair share of Dead/Rat Dog/Phil/Other Ones and this was by far the worst show I have seen.

Mike, Hoboken
Sounds like Kurt from North Plainfield did not score that night............it just wasnt' that bad.

willie, la
I made this trip with FuzzyTom and without echoing too much of what he said overall the show was good. The band is looking tighter than ever and it's nice to see RatDog tighten up a bit. The Venue is certainly a bit out of the way but then again the traveling is always the half of the experience. I never saw October Queen live and to be honest I liked hearing some of the RatDog stuff. Just once though I'd like to see RatDog close the evening instead of the Allman Brothers. Though they do bring the heat and played a blazing set. Good show but I didn't get the Liberty that I've been itching for.

MaddHatter, Lawrence, NJ
Well, I have to say that both my wife and I were very disappointed - I share the same opinion as Mike from Hoboken. Bobby had a few moments there of brilliance but for the most part, it was a lackluster set. It could have been more dynamic (and the soundsystem being used was inferior in quality to what the Allman Brothers had). I would venture to ponder that the highlight of the evening was US Blues - everyone seemed to get off on that one, including us (my wife is 58 and I'm 60 - I was much more of a Dead fan than she had ever been, but she does like Ratdog - we saw them a few years ago in Newark, NJ and they were GREAT!).

To be brutally honest, a week before this concert, we were up at the Mighty High Festival where we saw and heard the Dark Star Orchestra - a much better show, at least from a comparative perspective!!!

C'mon Bobby, show 'em what you really could do - and we know you can!!

Keep on Truckin!

Paul and Risa

Paul Wax, Teaneck, NJ
The music was affected by the weather. A dark brooding storm made for a somewhat moody show. Shoulda' done Weather Report Suite>Hard Rain! Loved the "So What" teases in Birdsong!! Karan IS AMAZING!!!


blic, Perth Amboy
I agree with Kurt. Though I saw 15 or so Grateful Dead shows and have seen dozens of post-Dead incarnations...this was without question the worst I've seen. Not a single highlight as far as I'm concerned. Bobby playing some of the most hideous lead slide I've ever heard...this wasn't Rooster...it was lead guitar like an 8th grader would play. Bobby you are an awesome rhythm player, but leave the soloing to Mark (not that he's anything spectacular, but I've seen him do some good stuff in the past). I've always believed the test of a good show is if you could bring someone who has never heard the music before to it and they think it's great. Personally I think Bobby embarassed himself. I don't know if it's the drugs or what. I don't think age is to blame as I saw Clarence Gatemouth Brown ripping it up well into his 70's....John Fogerty is consistently amazing....going back into Bird Song at the end...lame...not a surprise to anyone...it seems like evrything is so formulaic. I didn't see Bobby smile once the entire show. I did see him pissed off at his band mates several times. I can only pray for a Dead reunion in the Spring because the rest of the band won't let Bobby dominate and be so ridiculousy self-indulgent. At $50-80 ticket I don't think we have to just be grateful for anything they put out there. I stayed away from Ratdog for a couple years after seeing an almost as bad show in CT a couple years back. It really bums me out because I has seen amazing Ratdog shows 3 years back or so (especially in the first year after Robyn joined...and of course when Dave Ellis was in the fold). Probably done with Ratdog for "Eternity." Will check out the Dead if they reunite and maybe Phil sometime...though things are definitely seeming pretty stale...they've come out of ruts before though...so here's hoping.

Jim, Buffalo