11/21/2008 Setlist, Photos, and Reviews


Friday, November 21, 2008
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
Fort Myers, FL


All I am going to say is if this show was telecasted on ESPN, immediately upon its conclusion their sister network would pre-empt their program and run it again on ESPN Classic. This show was an instant classic. The 2nd set was entirely Dead and the combo of Estimated>Terrapin was priceless. Jeff and Kenny's solos during Sugaree were great to see. The Sugar Mag brought the entire packed house to its feet. I feel like I am ignoring the first set, which as highlighted by a great She Belongs To Me and a great Bucket set ender. It was an awesome venue with incredibly nice ushers and attendents. I hope they play here again next November. I would highly recommend attending this location.

Andy, Tennessee
My third show in a row and they keep getting better and better, I am sad that this is coming to a conclusion, but excited about tomorrow night. There are no words to describe what I heard tonight. I have waited 18 years to hear the entire Terrapin, what an awesome, awesome amazing night from start to finish. The Estimated was epic and the At a Siding > Terrapin Flyer was as good as going to an opera, reminded me of the Unbroken Chain from the Obama concert, PERFECT. My partner and I are seriously considering going to Jamaica, at this point with exchange rate and airfare it would be over $5000 for both of us, I would go as far to say it would be worth twice that. As I have stated the past two nights, this is as good as it gets, thanks' RAT DOG. Namaste.....

david, hamilton, canada
34 years of going to see Bob, he continues to only get better! He always manages to drill right to the core and surprise us with smiles. Thanks for bringing this close to home, please come back soon-it's never to strange for us.

Jim McGregor, Point Pleasant, Fort Myers
as long as i've been doing this, i can say that it just never gets old. the band really did the job tonight. weir's music is so powerful, brings so much joy and emotion. nice first set with quite highlights throughout. big closer hell in a bucket really tore it up. but of course the second set is where it just gets out of hand. a set so loaded with highlights that you can't describe them all only to say that the only way to close this one out was the sugar magnolia. wow! say goodnite by tieing up the loose ends on terrapin with at a siding and the flyer. this night really flew. great show,. nice hall. all these art centers are nice. mahalo to ratdog and aloha.

chuckieboy, kona, hi.
Nothing left to do but smile smile smile...awesome show with no disappointments.

richard, naples fl
fantastic venue, great sound, and powerful performance by the band..see what a day off for the band between shows can do. Keep it coming ratdog..see you at the mizner and in jamaica....

richard delboccio, naples fl
G-L-O-R-I-A TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

daver, Ft. Lauderdale
What a gas! I have been attending the Dog since they first started in '95. It's amazing the metamophosis that'scontinued throughout the years. In '95 they were so blues oriented and not really sure which way to go with the passing of Jerry so fresh. Then came all the instrumentalist changes until they got where we are now.
Personally my favorite span of RD was with Wasserman.
Then the past couple years went down hill to the point where my last show was going to be my last. Mostly it was due to the 'tempo', the pitiful slowing down of every song.
I found myself up in the balcony with my feet on the chair in front, barely able to stay awake.
I read many of the reviews and found that alot of folk felt the same way. I thought "Well, I guess bobby's just burned out".
BUT!!! since they came to my little town 3 blocks from my house I just had to take the ol' lady and give it one more try.
All I can say is, RD must read these reviews, because they had completely turned it around. All the tunes were the speed they were written for and the energy level was ecstatic! It was so nice to hear the entire Terrapin. The acoustics song were tits and the improvisation on segues was the cat's meow.
I have no complaints other than I wish Bob would do more singing instead of "talking" the lyrics. But that's ok. Awesome show. My grade --- A. would be A+ 'cept for the back to back Dylan tunes. But that's gettin' picky. A+!!
Guys. Please consider our humble town again when considering a venue. I know all the past venues top out at 5000 and B.B.M. Only tops out at 1800. Which is less dough for you, but is so damn intimate for both of us. I could tell by the smiles on your face Bobby!
Thanks for reaching deep to bring back the RD I remember!! Peace to all!! & happy Thanksgiving.

Eric Platz, Ft. Myers
OMG!!!! Unbelievable energy and this band keeps getting tighter. The 2nd set was nothing short of magnificent- the terrapin so hot and smokin felt like the roof was coming off, and no one would have noticed. Looked around during the Flyer finish and everyone was moving-soundboard dudes, ushers who were way cool, and walls were actually shakin. Big bass bombs like the old days of Phil, sax mind blowing and Jeff C out of control. Bobby, what would we do without you?? See ya all in Boca, ignore all the plastic people you see - there are some goods ones hidden around! Decent old house type blues bar-back room- is having some kind of after party with local dead cover crazy fingers if you're looking for some place to go after the show. Finally, past years cops have been very cool in Boca but some weird stuff in the past year may increase presence-don't know 4 sure but heads up. Enjoy the show and Bobby, thanks for making the music still matter.

blew marlin, boca raton
Desolation in BOCA!! PLEEEEEEEZE

widespread g8r, HALLANDALE FL
wow, a tad upset i blew off these last 3 shows, only went to clearwater which was quite gud. i am going to jamaica, and i have an extra, becuase my wife and i recently split up.

anyone interested in going u can ping me at mmerolli@verizon.net

mizner shud smoke tonight. JEALOUS!

mark, tampa
My mind is blank after Rock n Roll so perfect at the Ft. Myers show so I’ll write a quick and witless review since I just got out of the van and will be leaving for Boca soon. Met an old friend for coffee just before I headed into the parking lot scene and he gave me a nice press release so check out
news-press.com and type in Ratdog. It is sweet. Blew marlin in boca raton, right on to everything you said. I scouted the venue seats before showtime and was told that the balcony was the place for sound and soon found myself up top, dancing with the heads, and we nearly jumped out of our skin during Hell in a Bucket jubilation, and this is the blow-me-away-Bobby ride. Otherwise set one was just a warm up, even though Music Never Stops and She Belongs to Me were on my wish list, it seemed like they were still getting the sound mix to work. But set two is one for the books, it does not get any better, the band is wound up and ready to rock and we are the chosen ones. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love Stealin, “you know I’ll love you baby when my easy ridin’s done” and I am “stealin back to my same old used to be” and here I thought she was lost for good. Friend of the Devil, also on my wish list, and by this time I have found a perfect place to dance with Matt and friends from Chicago and Naples and he called the rest of the set and we were ecstatic and felt eighteen years old again, dancing maniacs and singing fools for Victim, Estimated, and a double dose of Sugar. But it wasn’t just the song selection, it was the execution, no slow diddling around but a solid wall of sound. On to Boca, more later…

RamblonRoze, Cooper City, FL
To me this is what it's all about. Sick setlist, perfect playing, perfect sound, in a beautiful venue. It doesn't get any better than this. I thought this was the best out of all four FL shows, but that's just me. I mean just look at the setlist. Ratdog is ON FIRE!

PJ Marks, earth
Incredible show from start to finish. Terrapin was a nice
surprise and i've never heard it live from start to finish.
Bob really put me in a special place that night. Jay Lane
and Kenny Brooks were awesome as usual, the whole band
was. Thanks to them for an amazing night !!!!!

brian mullen, fort myers, fl
I'm quite new to this website/review scene, having only happened upon it this afternoon. I was listening to XM radio earlier today when the Red Rocks show (ABB opener, I believe) was broadcast. The music was interesting enough to Google the Rat Dog website in order to get myself up-to-date. Thus, I first read the Red Rocks reviews which, in general, semed abysmal. I then read the recent Florida show reviews - so positive they must have been written by Rat Dog's paid staff members. I wondered if these folks had witnessed the same band? However, isn't the divergence in musical and performance quality really the point?

I have personally dealt with the dynamics of a live musical performance, as a working/professional musician, and realize that once a particular tune or segment of a show are rolling, it is most difficult -if not impossible - to alter the dynamics of emotion, presentation, lyrical nuance or tempo. In any Music 101 class the student learns that a composition must include harmony, melody and beat/tempo. As a performance progresses, it requires enormous skill to alter any of these basic elements, in a solo situation and, especially, in an ensemble. A group dynamic must be extraordinary to have 4, 5 or 6 minds change direction in unison. That sort of change can be ignited or, at least, initiated by an involved audience. Please believe me, any bright musician is well aware of psychic audience feedback during a number and, certainly, after a number. All skilled musicians interpret songs - from acoustic folkies to the New York Philharmonic. This includes Rat Dog who, given any set of circumstances or environment, may filter the same song through the band in two unique voicings on two consecutive nights. They are capable and workmanlike musicians but certainly not brilliant.

We watched Bob Weir grow up on stage. I first saw him in 1970, with the Dead, on five consecutive nights in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and Albany. While that experience was exhausting for me, I can't imagine how enervating it must have been for the band. At that time the songs were much simpler and Bob was turned up in the mix - one could actually hear the red Gibson. As the music became more complex, Bob's playing was placed further in the background and excused as his effort to find a connecting point between the lead guitar and bass. By the mid-1980's I began to wonder if his guitar was plugged in? To find an instrumental voice he occasionally tried to play slide guitar but his effort was elemental and "screechy". I would notice that Garcia would flash him the quizical glances. Yet, he was trying. A rhythm guitarist is normally considered the chordal counterpart to the bassist - that is, the rhythm player ought to be in step with the kick bass drum as are most bassists. Bob rarely approached that concept but, rather, chose to introduce high-neck flourishes which actually accented the keyboard work. He did not "drive" the band melodically with his playing choosing, instead, to catch partial chords which were usually "twangy" and one-half step behind the beat. Unfortunately, this lack of precision was evident in his singing, as well. He is an untrained throat singer rather than voicing from a disciplined diaphragm. His lack of talent as a singer have been masked for decades by excellent material and the sincere emotion he brought to the particular song. If Bob didn't really "feel it" that night and Garcia happened not to be chording extremely well, the outcome could be quite mediocre.

That said, Bob is a perfect example of getting the most from what he was given. Also, he was clearly in the right place at the right time. If any of the Rat Dog players were truly skilled, they would be called upon for session work in L.A. or New York - that does not happen. If Rat Dog did not have a legendary survivor as the frontman, they would be considered an average to above average cover band. Face it folks, they have the finest equipment and instruments available and, most probably, sound techs who substantially supplement their sound quality.

I love the Grateful Dead as a rocking, young, ambitious, electric band. They peaked at "Wake of the Flood" - everything since, every iteration, has been to fullfill a contract or to make a living. There is nothing incorrect about that, it just is not extraordinary music. During the last ten years (from '85 to '95) the concerts had become gatherings of stoned romantics hoping for a glimpse of something they had only heard about. It was rarely delivered.
I admire Bob for carrying on, holding the torch and doing so with dignity and determination. When I require terrific music I'll put on Europe '72. God Bless them all but, please, stop diluding yourselves.

D. Moore

David Moore, Winfield, Ill
Wow let`s hear it for D.Moron. I don`t know what this guy just wrote. I will tell you one thing. I have seen 300 dead shows and yes believe it or not I never got stoned or tripped. Did drink the Jager and shotgunned some beers. But this 2nd set was magical. The TERRAPIN was mind blowing and right on every note. The place was feeling every bass bomb and guitars were on fire. So D.MORON go back to your VINYL europe 72 in which I love also but let the real DEAD HEADS who were there rocking out live to an unbelievable 2nd set and let the people who actually went to the show tell you about what you missed.

Take a breath.
My ;point, though it was clearly over your head, was that RD is an average rock band. They are average musicians who occasionally have interesting moments. Notice that their high points occur when they play GD songs,not covers or their own.
So, Dude, step back and face the reality that you are living a 30 year old dream. Yes, I enjoy "europe" because they were actually playing - not just trying to recall some former magic. As Lesh says, "it's the only time the band sounded like they should have sounded."
I've played with Dawson, Cassidy, Jorma, Torbert, Nelson and pete Sears. It was a blast but they can no longer reach the chords or master the fingering they did as young, talented men. many are now dead.
You speak from emotion, not from reality. I admire your devotion but, please, put on your realistic hat and admit that you would not pay a dime to see RD if Weir were not thr fronman. They are average, on a good night and good on a rare night. Compare them to Dylan's band or that of Derek Trucks - not even close to musical tonality, timing or skill.Weir is still interesting as part of a two piece acoustic with Wasserman but he does not have the chops to lead a hot rock band. There is a simple explanation to why he "talks" lyrics - his voice is shot from years of high pitched screaming.

Jerry, don't get upset - just face the music, which is not very good.
All the best,
David Moore

david Moore, Winfield, Il
Great show, was ecstatic to see the boys come to my hometown and they sure didn't dissapoint. The Estimated > Terrapin was epic...just so much energy. Staff was great and just loved seeing there faces when all us Heads were really getting down. Hope they return sooner than later.

I'd love a copy of the show if anybody wants to hook a brother up, forgot about the download purchase on my way out.

Northbound Train

Jay, Estero, FL
D Moore you are crazy and sad. That 2nd set took me to another plane of exsistance. I've seen 15 RD shows over the past 8 years and every show has been a treat. Some have been better than the '03 Dead reunion tour. Moore tix for us if you stay home.

Keep rockin' Bobby and the boys!

Tom, Ormond Beach