Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ratdog - 11/8/05, Frederick, MD - Concert Review

For those of you who read my post a few weeks back about the invasion of Dead-related bands in the DC area (BTW, Grisman and NRPS are coming to town soon too!), you saw my concern about the possibility of being disappointed with seeing bands like Ratdog and Phil Lesh and Friends. I put these concerns aside, and got tickets for the Ratdog show in Frederick, MD, which was last night. And boy am I glad I went! What a great band and a great show. No, it wasn't the Dead, Bobby's voice isn't what it used to be, and I still don't like the beard, but it was good enough. Last night's show, held at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, sure brought back alot of memories, and the music itself was fantastic. The Weinberg Center is a small, intimate and old theater in downtown Frederick. From the moment I got there, I knew I did the right thing. It was good for my relatively-straight self to be among the Freaks and the Heads once again. Overall the crowd was a good mix of young and old, straight and freaky. Once I met up with my brother, we headed in for the show. We had good seats, about 30 rows back to the right of the stage. The sound was good, but not as clear as I would of liked, at least where we were sitting.

The show began with Here Comes Sunshine that included a nice long jam, which transitioned to a very bluesy Maggie's Farm, to She Says, and to It's All Over Now. At this point, I'm very happy as I've been loving the 'All Over Now's' from the 70s lately. I can tell now that this is a very tight band, their pace on alot of songs is a bit slower than what The Dead did, but they sounded great nonetheless. Memphis Blues came next, followed by Sitting In Limbo, a song (along with She Says) that I was not familiar with. The 1st set closed with an outstanding Althea. I was never a huge fan of this song, but Bobby and the boys raised the roof with this version. That could of actually been a all-time-favorite version for me last night.

the 2nd set opened acoustically with Twilight Time (another new one for me), which transitioned to Me and My Uncle, which transitioned to The Winners (yet another new one for me). They 'plugged-in' and turned it up next with a powerful I Need A Miracle, which moved into a spot-on Uncle John's Band (my perma-smile is very apparent at this point), and then into Terrapin. Up to this point, Bobby had sung a couple 'Jerry' songs, and it sounded good. The music for Terrapin was fine, but I wasn't crazy about Bobby's vocals on this one. Terrapin melted into a spacey Jam as Bobby left the stage to let the rest of the band shine. The Jam eventually became very funky and fast, highlighting their musical chops to the extreme. When Bobby came back on, the flowed into At A Siding and Terrapin Flyer. It took me a while to realize what they were playing as I had not listened to the Terrapin Station LP in a long time. It was a nice twist though, and very well done. A smooth, driving Corrina was next, which eventually made way for an always great 2nd set closer, Not Fade Away. I'm in heaven at this point, especially when they leave the stage and the entire theater is clapping and singing along, "You know our lovin' not fade away!" I had been transported back 15 years, and it was just fine with me. Bobby and the boys came back on to rock-the-joint with a Johnny B. Goode encore.

My expectations were exceeded and it looked like a good time was had by all. The music danced me all night long, the scene was friendly and open, the security was even cool, letting people move around at will. I even moved up pretty close the stage myself for the 2nd half of the 2nd set. I will go see Ratdog again. I may have to get this show on CD as well. Now I'll have to consider the upcoming Phil and DSO shows a little more based upon my experiences last night. It was good to be back.

7 Comments:

At 9:29 PM, Blogger irenie said...

Woof!
So happy to read you enjoyed the show!
I'll track down the setlist and post it.

 
At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Helen said...

SO glad you went and had a strong feeling you wouldn't be disappointed. Now, if you get a chance to see Grisman, grab it! And about those Dark Star tickets.........
Peace...........

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous US Blues said...

Ben, if Phil is within a 100 miles make it your business to attend. A word from a friend.

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great show -- I haven't seen Ratdog before and I will now definitely check them out! I'm seeing Dark Star Orchestra on the 16th in NYC and I'm really psyched. I haven't heard Dead music live since seeing the "Other Ones" at the old Further Festivals in the late 90s. I can't wait to get back into the scene and I'll let you know what I think of DSO! -- Stewart

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Woof Woof! It definitely motivated me to check out some of these other shows coming up.

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger allison said...

Hey there!!!
Just came across your blog. I've really enjoyed catching up on all your "dead" subjects. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your first Ratdog show. I've seen them here in Indiana a few times...every show I go to seems to get better!!!!

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Allison - Thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to see the Dog again someday soon. Looks like it's been a great fall tour overall so far.

 

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