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Phil Lesh and Friends Nokia Theatre Philathon 2008

This past Tuesday concluded the now annual Phil Lesh and Friends Nokia Theatre Philathon, a fourteen night run of wonderful shows on Broadway by the long time Grateful Dead Bass player and his current group of Friends: John Molo on Drums, Steve Molitz from Particle on Keyboards, The Master Larry Campbell on Guitar, Mandolin, Fiddle, Steele Pedal Guitar, and other assorted implements of sound, Barry Sless (when available) on Steele Pedal Guitar and Guitar, The Pride of San Fransisco Jackie Greene on Guitar and Keyboards and majority of Vocals, and Theresa Williams (Campbells wife) on Chick Vocals. Lesh's current lineup, together for about a year and a half, settled in to the Times Square Nokia Theatre with Deadheads in tow on Halloween, and stayed for fourteen nights spanning 3 weeks, a unique situation for a band that's been on the road on and off for the past eighteen months or so. According to Lesh in a WNEW FM Radio Interview, playing one venue for a long stretch like this affords the band to get more comfortable and into a groove, which can't be achieved while playing multiple venues night to night. And what better place to get in to a groove than New York City on Broadway at the cozy 2,000 seat Nokia? If you haven't been to the Nokia Theatre get your ass down there. It's just a really nice place to see a show. Clean and new with an organized, friendly staff, great sound system with general admission dance floor and seating behind it. Each seat in the house has a perfect sight-line and there are multiple video screens visible to all.

I was lucky enough to catch three of these shows, all three Sundays, thanks to Mondays off, and my wife's permission...sorta, and Phil for making it happen. Hey, who knows how many more times he'll be able to pull off a run like that? Might as well do it while I can. I wished I could've gone to more, like some of my friends did, but seeing three shows is at least somewhat satisfying for me. All three Sundays were good shows, as well as all of the other stuff I've downloaded and listened to so far. A big thanks goes out to Joe D'Amico (aka Joebeacon) for taping every night and uploading these killer sounding recordings of Phil and Friends to Kudos to you Joe! You're a modern day hero man!

Photo:Rachel Papo NY Times

Obviously I can't review 14 shows would be a huge post or multiple posts and I don't have time for that right now, but having listened to, or been there, for about 10 of these shows I can definitely say that this band came a long way since last year. It even came a long way since this past summer. Sadly enough, as usual, Phil will probably tear down another band he built up and developed. Rumor has it that everyone in the band's contract is up soon, except for drummer John Mollo's, and Lesh won't be renewing them. But that's really the idea behind Phil Lesh and Friends anyway; for Phil to play with different configurations and have fun exploring "The Moment", and this particular "moment" is about to come to a close. So, what probably was the second best of the Phil and Friends bands (the best being "The Q";Haynes, Herring, Barraco, Mollo) will come to an end at the close of this year. Leaving all us of Deadheads with nothing but memories, and a whole bunch of live CD's to listen to. What a beautiful world it is that you can go to a show and download it the next day online!

All in all these shows were consistently strong. As usual Phil invited a number of guest musicians to join the band; Warren Haynes joined on the second set of Tuesday 11/3/08 for some great playing, notably a killer Stella Blue at the end of the set, and Joan Osborne joined on Thursday 11/13/08 for a nice treat singing Sugaree in the 2nd set. Some high points for me in listening to these recordings, which takes some time with 14 shows to sift through, were: a pair of Beatles songs "Don't Let Me Down" on Sunday 11/9/08 (as a matter of fact that whole second set was great with a Dark Star, Cryptical, Mountains of the Moon interspersed throughout and a sweet Ripple with Larry on mandolin for the encore) and "I Am The Walrus" on 11/11/08 (also a great second set). Both these songs were played to perfection, and these are just a few highlights that come to mind in a sea of them. Each show has it's own gems, so get on that computer and start downloading...and give thanks to the tapers who give so much back to the community by preserving these moments for all of us. As always, if you were at any of these shows and want to share your thoughts with us please comment.

Download Phil Lesh And Friends at the Nokia Theatre Shows Here


Bob Weir's Ratdog at Westbury, NY 10/30/08

I caught Bob Weir and Ratdog at the Capital One Theatre in Westbury, NY on October 30th '08 last week. This is the third year in a row Ratdog has played this venue on Halloween and the day before Halloween. This year and last year I decided to just go on the 30th so that I can spend Halloween trick-or-treating with my daughter. Oh well, I guess I have my priorities mixed up. For most people Halloween night would be the preferred night to go, if you were only going one night; and this year New York Deadheads had a tough choice with Phil Lesh and Friends playing right accross the river on Broadway at the Nokia Theatre for three weeks starting October 31st. I'll write about my Phil and Friends experiences in the next post (I went Sunday Nov 2nd and will be going this coming Sunday the 9th).

As for Ratdog I thought the show the night before Halloween was excellent. Bobby and Ratdog played with great energy and seem to be on a roll right now. Weir looked good with his trimmed beard and mustache and familiar shorts, even though it's autumn. For those of you who have never been to this intimate venue the Capital One Theatre is in the round with a revolving stage at the center. Ratdog always keeps the stage stationary, and previous years they placed a curtain accross the theatre making it even more intimate with seating in only about two thirds of the place. This year they removed the curtain and opened the whole venue up to seating. This really didn't make the show lose any intimacy since the place is so small anyway. Maybe it seats 1000 people or so, if I had to guess, at full capacity. If anyone has a picture from this show I'd love you to email it to me so I can place it in this post. I brought my camera but had battery issues and unfortnately couldn't get any photos. If you provide me with a picture or two I'll credit you for it. Here's the setlist and link to download a great audience copy below. Please comment on your thoughts if you've listened to this show or if you were there.

Set 1
Jam ~>
The Music Never Stopped ~>
Minglewood Blues ~>
Queen Jane Approximately
They Love Each Other
Tomorrow Never Knows ~>
Jus' Like Mama Said ~>
Playin in the Band

Set 2
Crowd / Tuning
You Win Again@
Victim or the Crime@
Last Time* ~>
Ashes and Glass* ~>
Stuff* >
Knockin on Heaven's Door ~>
Might as Well

*w/ Chuck MacKinnon on trumpet
''Stuff'' was without Bob
@ Bobby Acoustic

Download Show at


Merl Saunders R.I.P.

Merl Saunders (2/14/34-10/24/08) died this morning at Kaiser Hospital in San Fransisco from complications involving an infection after a long battle with cancer. Merl was known for his incredible Hammond B3 keyboard playing, notably with Jerry Garcia, as well as lots of other big time (and small time) names including Harry Belafonte, Frank Sinatra, Lionel Hampton, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Butterfield, Phish, Robert Hunter, Widespread Panic, Blues name it Merl played with them. He was a musician who somehow transcended any title of performer, player, keyboardist whatever. When you saw Merle playing you felt as though you were up on stage dancing with him, and if you wanted to you probably could. His energy was just contagious. That big smile as he grooved to his funky Hammond. I never got to see him play with Garcia but was blessed to be able to see him many times. I've missed seeing him the last few years and will surely miss him forever. But, just like Jerry, he leaves behind a huge wonderful legacy of music and memories for us to enjoy.

So Merle I want to thank you for letting me be myself! Peace Brother!


Deadheads For Obama 10/13/08 Bryce Jordan Center Penn State University

The Dead For Obama 10/13/08 at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University, along with The Allman Brothers, was the real thing. It took me a few days to download and listen to it. My conclusion is that this Dead or Other Ones (whatever you want to call them) lineup really works. They didn't try to load up the stage with too many musicians like in the past. They stayed true to the long time configuration of two guitarists - Warren Haynes and Bob Weir, two drummers - Kreutzman and Hart (wow), Phil Lesh on Bass, and Jeff Chimenti from Ratdog on Keyboards. On previous Other Ones and Dead tours they dragged too many people along by having two keyboard players and a third guitarist, and sometimes another vocalist. For me this tended to dilute the sound. I think they did that to make up for the missing X-Factor, Jerry Garcia. Really there is no making up for Jerry missing; so rather than try to make up for his absence (in body not spirit) I think they should do what was done at this Concert for Obama at The Bryce Center; just put together a good six man group and play. This concert for Obama, billed as the Change Rocks Barack Obama Benefit, was really the perfect lineup and hopefully isn't the only time this lineup gets to play together. There's lots of talk of a Grateful Dead tour coming in the summer of '09. I for one hope this is the lineup, maybe substituting Rob Barraco on keys for Jeff Chimenti (not that I have a problem with Chimenti but Barraco is great and can really sing). I was happy that Jackie Greene was left out of this show because I don't feel he belongs playing with the big boys when billed as The Dead. That said here's the setlist:
Barack Obama Speech
U. S. Blues
Help On The Way~>
Franklin's Tower
Playin' In The Band~>
Dark Star
St. Stephen
Unbroken Chain~>
The Other One~>
Throwin' Stones~>
Playin' In The Band
Phil Donor Rap
Bob's Political Statement
Touch Of Gray~>
Not Fade Away

Nice selection of opener Truckin'~> US Blues. Really heavy Help~> Slipknot~> Franklin's. Nice jamming on the Playin'~> Dark Star. Dark Star featured all three vocalists; Phil, Bobby, and Warren switching off on the verses alla Other Ones style and had some great playing in it. The St Stephen ending abrubtly and going into Unbroken Chain, soon after, was a nice surprise with a great version of both. The Other One~> Throwin' Stones was quite reminiscent of the Grateful Deads 80's versions with Warren Haynes playing sweeter than his usual bluesy style with the Allmans and Govt Mule. As a matter of fact I think Warren's playing at this Obama Benefit really caught the essence of Jerry's guitar. I don't think he tried to mimic Jerry, but there really was a certain sweetness applied to his guitar work on these songs that he usually does not exhibit with the other bands he's played with, including Phil Lesh and Friends. No matter what, whenever Warren Haynes is involved, you know you're in for some great playing, and this show was no exception. The rest of the set was icing on the cake: Jam~> Playin' Reprise, Touch Of Gray~> Not Fade Away. NFA is always great at any Grateful Dead type show; ending with the Deadheads rapturous clapping and chanting of "You know our Love will Not Fade Away" sends chills up the spine. What Mickey Hart says at the end is really beautiful; "Take this feeling and bring it home and do something with it". Heavy Man. You gotta love this stuff. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new chapter in the post Jerry Garcia Dead experience. We all love to see Phil, Ratdog, Mickey, Billy in all their conglomerations, but when you put the four of them together and throw in some other great musicians who love to work magic, the sum adds up to more than the parts. If anyone was there and would like to tell us about the Allman Brothers set please leave a comment. Peace, Love, and Obama.


Grateful Dead Historic MSG Run Sept 1987

Last week marked the 21 year anniversary of The Grateful Dead's now historic 5 night Madison Square Garden run of 1987. Imagine that! Twenty-One years Man! Un-Real! These were magical shows to say the least. I was lucky enough to make it to all of these shows, which would prove to be one of the high points in my Grateful Dead obsession of eight years at that point in time; and the first time I went to that many shows (7) on one tour. I was fresh off two shows at The Providence Civic Center on 09/07/87 and 09/08/87, and then caught these shows on 09/15,16,18,19,20/87 at The Garden. There were lots of high points at these shows and I'll just touch on a few. The whole year of '87 really was a high point in the Grateful Dead's history, musically, and commercially, and these 5 shows were no exception. The Fall tour was very strong coming off a hot summer tour with Bob Dylan to sold out stadiums accross the country. Brent Mydland seemed to really get powerful around this time, becoming a force to reckon with. They just seemed to continue to pick up steam down the track of 1987, riding their Tons Of Steele into Penn Station for this carnival at MSG. You thought Ringling Brother's was a freak show?...Think again. There's nothing like Madison Square Garden filled with Deadheads dancing, twirling, and celebrating with our extended family of freaks and side shows. I remember that guy who used to glow with electric lights of some sort travelling around the arena freely, seen by all that were there. You could spot him from anywhere you were..."If you get confused, just listen to the music play"....and find that guy for a point of reference to reality. Ha, that was my point of reference to reality! Pretty warped! And how about the Sticker Dude? It wouldn't be a New York City show without him sticking you.

The run, like I said, had lots of high points musically. This can be confirmed by listening to the "Tapes". I was lucky enough, also, to have gotten access to these tapes within a few weeks of the Fall Tour ending. These days you can download stuff within a few days of the show. Back then aquiring tapes as soon as I did was pretty good. I mean sometimes you'd have to wait years to find some recordings. Anyway I knew someone, who knew someone who was supposedly a cousin of Bob Weir (who knows?) and he was a taper and gave my friend audience copies that were very good quality. I have since aquired the Soundboards on CD from here and there. Over the years I've listened to these shows quite a bit. They've been some of my "Ol' reliable" tapes for years. I usually try to revisit them around this time of year for a kind of reunion of those shows and they bring back great memories, however hazed by time and other things they may be.

Every night really was special from the opening nights Sept 15th smokin' opener "Hey Pocky Way" all the way through to the closing night double encore "Touch of Gray" into a sweet "Brokedown Palace". When listening to the soundboards of this whole run it's glaringly evident the Boys were really on a roll. Garcia sounds great...hey what's to complain about when Jerry's sounding great? It drives the whole band, and these Grateful Dead shows were evidence of it. Very powerful! As Weir would say "Just like a Swiss Watch". There are too many highlights to cover them all but some of mine (if I leave your favorite out feel free to comment below) are:

Tuesday 9/15/87 2nd set China>Rider,Estimated>Eyes>Drums>Space>Wheel>Gimme Some Lovin'>Black Peter>Sugar Magnolia Encore: Baby Blue. Need I say more. Get this set if you don't have it. Wednesday 9/16/87 opened with a nice surprise. Baba Olatunji and his Drums of Passion opened with a 35 minute incredible set. Introduced by Mickey Hart they came out and really lit the Deadheads at the Garden up. Incredible energy! This left the place buzzing for a short but sweet 1st set featuring "Touch of Gray" into a rare 1st set "Scarlet Begonias". Also rare for those days was a Scarlet without "Fire on the Mountain" following. There are some but they're rare. This whole show was a gem. Great "Let it Grow" towards the end of the 1st set. Second set was great with an oddity the Dead only played a few times; Brent sang a Devil with a Blue Dress>Good Golly Miss Molly>Blue Dress Medley. This was especially hot, followed by the rest of a great 2nd set He's Gone>Drums>Space>Truckin'>Wharf Rat>Throwin' Stones>NFA Encore: NFA>We Bid You Goodnight>Black Muddy River! Great show! Friday 9/18/87 dubbed "Fabulous Friday" by my friend Terry, and Fabulous it was. Bobby declares "watch me levitate Garcia" before the first set. This is a reference to Weir and Jerry's appearance the night before on David Letterman in which Bob attempted to levitate Garcia as a parlor trick. Silly! This whole show is hot stuff. The Boys seem to really rock this whole weekend, picking up steam and never cooling off through the rest of the run. The second set opened with a New York "Shakedown Street", a song that really opitimizes The Dead playing MSG, changing the name on 7th Ave. It makes me think of that giant King Kong in a tye-dye they used to put up in front of the Garden entrance. The rest of the set was strong stuff: Women R Smarter>Terrapin>Drums>Space>Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad>Watchtower>Morning Dew>Good Lovin'>La Bamba!>Good Lovin' Encore: Knockin On Heaven's Door. Really Hot! They only played "La Bamba", with Jerry singing in spanish, three times. This was the second of two of these I got to see live. Every time I listen to this show it really brings a big smile to my face remembering Jerry sing this short but memorable classic inserted into the middle of "Good Lovin'" Truly magical Grateful Dead! Saturday 9/19/87 features a great 1st set (I tend to focus more on the 2nd sets in my writing but don't under estimate any of these 1st sets. They're all great; featuring allot of the In The Dark songs and Dylan songs typical of '87 1st sets. Very tight. Leaving the more Jam filled material for the 2nd sets as usual.) Great "Miss Halfstep" opener "It's All Over Now" "High Time" "Mexicalli B's"> "Big River" "Push Comes To Shove" "Box Of Rain" "Dough Knees". This nice 1st set is followed by another great 2nd set that's one of my favorites. Crazy>Uncle John's>Playin'>Drums>Space>Miracle>Maggies Farm>Black Peter>Round and Round>Lovelight Encore: "Black Muddy River". Boy I miss "Black Muddy River". The "Maggies Farm", a recent addition to the repertoir following the Dylan shows that summer, was broadcast live from MSG to Farm Aid, which was going on at the same time. Hence the odd placement of this song here in the set. At this point Jerry and Bobby switched off on the vocals. In years to come Phil would join in with a verse as well as Vince Welnick and or Bruce Hornsby. Always a fun song to hear the Dead do no matter what the configuration. Once again I'll recommend getting this show if you don't have it already. Closing night Sunday 9/20/87 was another magical night. I was a little sad this was the last night but also Grateful (I was pretty tired and sick with the tour bug at this point, and needed to get back to school and be a good boy(not) and hit the books...crazy man!). This show, especially the 2nd set, had lots of repeat songs from earlier in the run; but what do you expect, it was a five night run and they did want to play the In The Dark material as much as they could each night. We complained about that back then...who knew. In retrospect this stuff stands the test of time; super tight yet great improvisational jams throughout. 1st set: "Jack Straw"> "W.LA Fadeaway" "Brother Esau" (what happened to this song?) "Far From Me" "Must've Been The Roses" (which they should have played more often) "Desolation Row" "Might As Well" "Promised Land". Nice set. Sweet "Roses" which has some really great subtle sound effects in the instrumental break...sounds like chains smashing against each other or something. Cool stuff. "Might As Well" "Promised Land" at the end of the set was high energy, to say the least, leaving us ready for a break before the final set of the run. "Hell In A Bucket"> "Aiko Aiko" "Looks Like Rain" "He's Gone">Drums>Space>Other One>Wharf Rat>Throwin' Stones>NFA Double Encore: "Touch of Gray"> "Brokedown Palace"....tears in our eyes..."Fare you well, Fare you well, I love you more than words can tell, listen to the river sing sweet songs to Rock my Soul!" Hunter/Garcia

These were such amazing shows at a time in the Grateful Dead's history that they were really peaking. If you saw the Dead around this time, or listen to the recordings, you know what I mean. If you want to share any memories about these times (or any other) please comment below. Thanks...and leave it on!


Founding Pink Floyd Member Richard Wright Dead at 65

Richard Wright, the keyboard player and founding member of Pink Floyd, died yesterday at his home in Britain. He had cancer and was 65 years old. Wright was one of four original 1965 members of Pink Floyd along with Roger Waters, the late Syd Barrett, and Nick Mason. Barrett was later replaced by David Gilmour. Wright played with this Pink Floyd configuration through 1982's Pink Floyd "The Wall" Album and tour. There were lots of tensions between bandmates at this time and Roger Waters wanted Wright to be fired. Wright wound up playing as a "session player" on this tour and was not on "The Final Cut" Album, which was heavily influenced, and obviously creatively controlled by Roger Waters. Wright later resurfaced with the reformed Pink Floyd in their post-Waters incarnation on both "The Division Bell" and "A Momentary Lapse Of Reason" albums and tours. He also released his own solo albums "Wet Dream"(1978) (which I've heard and is very good) and Broken China(1996). What comes to my mind when thinking of Wrights playing is Pink Floyd's "Animals". His playing is incredible on this album. "Sheep" in particular is running through my head.

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away...

Wright, Waters, Gilmour, and Mason did reunite for one show in July '05 for the Live 8 charity concert in London. This sparked some speculation as to whether they would tour again, and I for one was very hopeful at the time. I had only seen Pink Floyd once on the "Momentary.." tour at Giant's Stadium. It was an incredibly spectacular event musically and visually. I also saw Gilmour two or three times on his solo tours in the 80's at Jones Beach and the Beacon Theatre in NYC. I thought these were great shows. I also saw Roger Waters twice on his "Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" Tours, once with Eric Clapton on guitar and once without him (Andy Fairweather Low played at Radio City Music Hall), on his "Radio KAOS" tour, and on his recent tours in the past 10 years or so. Once recently at Madison Square Garden playing "Dark Side of The Moon" and other great Pink Floyd material. Too bad the Pink Floyd didn't tour together as the quartet before Wright passed away. I would have loved to have seen it happen.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond...Your at that Great Gig In The Sky...

Wolfgang's Vault - Pink Floyd posters, tshirts and photography


Grateful Dead To Play Obama Benefit Oct 13th Tour In '09

Supposedly the four remaining members of the Grateful Dead will play a Benefit Concert for Barack Obama on Oct 13th 2008 at Bryce Jordan Center at the Penn State campus in State College, PA. This concert marks the first time that Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart will have performed together in four years. Weir, Lesh, and Hart had played a Benefit for Obama billed as "Deadheads for Obama" in Feb '08. The four have not performed together since "The Dead" played in the summer of '03. The lineup will most likely be Weir, Lesh, Kreutzman, and Hart, joined by Warren Haynes on Guitar and Vocals and either Jeff Chimenti from Ratdog or Steve Molitz of Phil Lesh and Friends and Particle on Keyboards. Hopefully the tour in 2009 comes to fruition. We can only hope! This would be a welcome treat by all Deadheads. I think when all four members play together it creates a bigger energy and scene. The previous tours of The Dead and The Other Ones of the Furthur Festivals had a great energy about them and I'm looking forward to that feeling again...of seeing the four remaining members of the Grateful Dead jam together again as well as Warren Haynes adding his special sweet edge to the groove.

Old men sing about their dreams
Women Laugh and Children scream
And The Band keeps playin' on!



Hot Tuna Westbury, NY 8/30/08

I didn't plan on going to Hot Tuna at Westbury's Capital One Bank Theatre in New York on 8/30/08. When I got home from work my buddy Tom Thumb called and said he had an extra ticket for me if I wanted it. No Brainer! "I'm there", I said. Westbury is a hop, skip, and jump from where I live so It's nice and easy for me. A pleasant surprise was that David Lindley opened up. Wow! I've never seen him and I'm not familiar with his solo stuff, but am aware of his studio work with the likes of Jackson Browne, Crosby Stills and Nash, James Taylor, Linda Rondstadt, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Ry Cooder, and a slew of other big names. He really impressed me! Don't under estimate this guys talent. What a great act for an opener. I'll definitely look for some of his recordings. He's an amazing acoustic guitar, dobro, pedal steele, etc. player, as well as a great vocalist with a very unique earthy quality to his voice. If you get a chance to see this living legend don't pass it up!

Hot Tuna was in top form. I always love to see Jack and Jorma in any configuration and the Trio with Barry Mitterhoff has really developed into quite a potent mix for any Hot Tuna fan (or any fan of Blues, Old Time Music, Folk, or Bluegrass). I've seen this lineup a number of times over the last few years and I'm enjoying them more and more each time. At first I felt that Mitterhoff's mandolin solos took away from the quantity of Jorma's solos. For me less Jorma equals less satisfaction. But now either I've gotten used to the mandolin being a part of Hot Tuna's sound or Barry just kind of fits in better over time. He really can play! And he sounds like he fits Tuna's sound like a glove now. I never really caught on to Michael Falzarano's guitar playing with Hot Tuna (or The Memphis Pilgrims, or The New Riders). I felt he really took away from the Hot Tuna sound. But Barry Mitterhoff really lends that "Old Time Sound" to the music and has proven to be a valuable member of the band. I do miss Pete Sears keyboards though. I think it would be nice if Jorma and Jack Casady would do a little duet section like they did in Jefferson Airplane and the Electric Hot Tuna lineups, but you can't always get what you want. Just be happy we still have these incredible musicians to hear after 50 years playing together. That boggles my mind Man!

Thanks to Tom Thumb: Peace Brother

Here's the setlist:

1. True Religion
2. Parchman Farm
3. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
4. The Terrible Operation
5. Nashville Blues
6. Sea Child
7. Serpent Of Dreams
8. More Than My Old Guitar
9. Hesitation Blues
10. Bread Line Blues
11. Come Back Baby
12. Good Shepherd
13. Full Go Round
14. Nine Pound Hammer
15. Encore: Embryonic Journey

Note: Setlist taken from Jorma Kaukonens Blog


Ratdog And Allman Brothers Girls Eye View

I said in the last post I was thinking about having my seven year old daughter Guest Blog on her opinion of Ratdog and The Allman Brothers at Jones Beach Theatre 8/13/08, her first big time show (see previous post) with Daddy. What I decided to do was just have her write her opinion directly into Notepad, and I'll show you what she wrote, unadulterated, then I'll give an explanation after. Here it is.....

I went to a concert with my dad.I was up front. The bands were Ratdog and the Allman brothers.I can't believe I actually saw bobby from the grateful dead. Before I did all that I had a picnic dinner on the beach. I had a sandwich with ham tomatoes and mayo. Back to the concert it was so loud I put cotton in my ears. I caught a balloon. on a break I went a little closer up to visit my aunt my uncle and my cousins.I switched seats with one of my cousins then we switched back. They played a song that they usually show's Jerry Garcia but they did there was a song called Mellisa thats the name of my cousin so I went over to my other aunt who was there I danced with her cause the songs name was the name of her daughter.I had a lot of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

.....Definitely Sweet!!
I left what she wrote, pretty much, being the anal purist I am. But here's an explanation since I discused it with her. What she's talking about when she says "They played a song that they usually show's Jerry Garcia but they did not" is that I told her during The Allman's "No One Left To Run With" they sometimes flash a picture of Garcia on screen along with departed Allman Brothers Duane Allman and Allen Woody. She was looking for Jerry, but they didn't show him. After the show I mentioned this to my friend and he said he had heard that they stopped showing the picture of Jerry because The Allmans didn't like the fact that he got a bigger response from the audience than Duane or Allen did. If that's true I have no problem with that. I can understand Greg, especially, feeling sensitive to that. I mean Duane Allman deserves HUGE respect, especially at an Allman Brothers show. But Jerry Garcia is such an icon that you can't help people responding the way they do, ALSO especially at an Allman Bros show; a majority of Allman's fans are Deadheads too. Deadheads kind of boost the Allmans crowd since Jerry died.

Anyway that was what she meant. It's interesting that that stuck with her after the show. And it reminded me of a story. When she was about two years old I was doing what every good Deadhead Dad does; I was turning her on to The Dead and looking at Grateful Dead pictures. While looking on with me she says, out of the clear blue "Daddy, Jerry's so cute!". I actually couldn't believe that my daughter said that at two years old. At that point I knew eventually she'd be going to shows with me. And here we are at that point already. Time flies Man. Summer time does come and go, my oh my.


Ratdog Allman Brothers at Jones Beach with My Girl

On Wednesday August 13th I brought my seven year old daughter to her first real concert, Ratdog and The Allman Brothers at Jones Beach Theatre, a classic lineup and a wonderful introduction to Live Rock and Roll! Sure she's been to other live music before; she's seen The Zen Tricksters a number of times, but she's never been to anything close to this scale. I debated back and forth whether to take her or not. It's a big responsibility on allot of different levels. My wife was lobbying for me to take her. I kept thinking "what if she doesn't like it", "what if it's too loud" (I had 5th row center tickets), "what if it rains" (it didn't), "what happens when she or I have to go to the bathroom" (my sister also came so she brought her). I also know that bringing anyone new to something like that means you're partially responsible for their experience as well as your own. This in itself distracts you to some extent, and dilutes YOUR overall experience. Even so, I was able to enjoy this show immensely because of her presence (and the presence of my sister, brother-in-law, nephews, niece, brother, sister-in-law, and numerous friends). It proved to be a very emotional experience for me and one in which I'll cherish for many years to come (God willing).

My final decision was made about a week before the show when I simply asked her if she wanted to go. Her answer was a definitive YES! I explained to her that it would be LOUD, Crowded, and LONG! She wasn't fazed. So I put some live Allman Brothers on when we were driving in my car and turned the volume up high. I asked her if it was too loud. "No" she replied. "It'll be ten times louder" I told her. "Okay Daddy" she said. Decision final. I did put cotton in her ears at the show to protect her though.

All in all it was a success. She says she enjoyed it. I might have her write about her experience for a future post as a guest blogger. It's hard for me to tell what her true feelings are about the show. My first concert was Crosby, Stills, and Nash at the Nassau Colliseum at the age of 12. I went with my older sister, who took me because I loved the music and chose to go (I think I begged my parents for weeks for permission and funds to go, as was usual for the following 6 years or so). This, on the other hand, was different; as a seven year old she didn't choose to go to this, I chose to take her. I wanted her to experience this before it's too late. Let's face it, The Icon Greg Allman is no spring chicken. Neither is Bob Weir. God knows how long this kind of scene will be going on. I want her to have some kind of understanding of what the scene is all about, and nothing can compare to this kind of match up. Maybe next year we'll go to The Gathering Of The Vibes if we can swing it. What an experience that would be for her and me (and potentially my wife). I think that she was somewhat impressed by the fact that I know so many people at these shows. She asked a few times "who was that?" I had to respond that I know the person, but I don't know their name. This is a result of following The Grateful Dead around for so many years. People you know come out of the woodwork.

It was a real strong show for Ratdog, and average for The Allman's. Maybe I'll write a seperate post about the music soon. For now I'll say that the musician swapping, for me, were the high points. Notably Warren Haynes joining Ratdog on two songs, New Speedway Boogie and Mississippi Halfstep. And Ratdog members joining The Allman Bros on their home stretch down the line. Notably Mark Karan on Good Morning Little Schoolgirl played a very soulful and tasteful solo (only to be eclipsed by the Immortal Derek Trucks slide solo following, in which Karan acted out fanning him with an invisible fan; putting out the fire). Oddly enough almost all of Ratdog came out to jam with the Allmans EXCEPT for Bobby Weir. Strange! My explanation, not to knock Bobby, is that the other members of Ratdog have more to offer in spotlights than Bob himself. That said, he most certainly could have come out and played or sung on Schoolgirl or some other blues song. Whatever. I just wonder who's decision it was, or whether an invitation was extended to him at all, as well as how much interfacing, back stage, goes on between the two bands all together.

If you have an experience you'd like to share about bringing your child, or anyone else to a show please feel free to share it with me in a comment. Thanks! See Ya at the next show.

Download the Ratdog set here.


Happy Fourth Of July

Hey Now all you Deadheads. I'm just thinking about all those great shows on or around July 4th that I went to. Nothing like a Grateful Dead Concert to ring in the summer. In particular 7/4/86 Rich Stadium, Orchard Park (Buffalo), NY with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 7/4/87 Sullivan Stadium (Boo Patriots) Foxboro, Mass with Bob Dylan, and 7/2,3/88 Oxford Plains, Maine (too many whipits man). Wow what shows! That Buffalo show was my first time seeing Dylan, as well as my first significant Road Trip (7 Hours facing backwards in a station wagon with six other people and a sign on the back that said "Nomads Of The Deep"). The Dead opened the show with a mammoth set and Dylan and Tom Petty followed. Dylan really wowed me. But it wasn't until the following year that I caught the Dead/Dylan combo shows that I really was sold on Bob Dylan. I've probably seen him close to every year once or twice since then. What a writer and performer. There really hasn't been anything like that combo since then. Imagine....Jerry Garcia AND Dylan on the same stage. What Shows...
Summer time does come and go my oh my!

Phil Lesh and Friends at The Warfield Theatre Part 2 Coming Soon


Phil Lesh and Friends Play Grateful Dead Discography to close Warfield Part 1

Deadheads consider it a big deal that Phil Lesh and Friends, along with Bob Weir and members of Ratdog, and other assorted guests, played a portion of the Grateful Dead discography in chronological order of release, and in track order, over 5 nights at the Warfield Theatre in San Fransisco. This all done for the closing of the theatre, a venue the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia Band, and assorted Grateful Dead side projects and Post GD bands had performed. The Warfield was a Mecca of sorts for me personally, where I was lucky enough to catch one Jerry Garcia Band show on Jan. 30th 1993 while out on the West Coast for the Chinese New Year shows at The Oakland Coliseum a week before. This was a great way to cap off an awesome run of shows. Ah those were the days. Very Grateful I caught all those shows on that Trip...

It took me a long time to sift through these recordings due to the shear scope of them. I downloaded them from and will provide links below. Rather than review each show, which would be quite lengthy, I'll just give my overall impression of them and some highlights for me. I'll break it down to a series of posts, since one post would be too long (besides, I can't write that fast). If you'd like to see pictures from, and read a comprehensive review of these wonderful shows check out There are lots of interesting things about these shows; not the least of which is just the fact that Phil (and Bobby) even thought of this concept. The Dead never bothered doing anything like that. It was almost counter to their concept of random, spontaneous, unplanned chaos. This almost seems too premeditated, in theory, but actually works on allot of levels. It's interesting to think of how long it must have taken for people in the audience to realize that Phil and Friends were taking a journey down a road never travelled by a Grateful Dead member before. Maybe by the third song of San Fransisco's Grateful Dead; Good morning Little Schoolgirl (sung by Jackie Greene) people started to catch on. The special guests from Ratdog including Bobby, Mark Karan, and Jeff Chimenti, and others including Dave Nelson, Henry Kaiser, Sikiru Adepoju, and Teresa Williams (Larry Campbell's wife) really added to the great energy of these shows and comes through in the recordings. The people that witnessed these shows are quite lucky.

The first night, 5/13/08, they played The Grateful Dead for the first set and Anthem Of The Sun for the second set. Weir joins them on the Cream Puff War and stays with the band for the rest of the show. Interesting that he didn't come out for his own songs like Beat It On Down The Line and Pigpen's Good Morning Little Schoolgirl sung by Campbell and Greene respectively. I love Larry's earthy vocals on BIODTL, but sometimes have trouble stomaching Jackie Greene's vocals on some songs; this being one of them. I prefer Bobby's barking on this one and wish he would have come out for it. Maybe he couldn't come out that early in the show due to Union Rules, who knows? That said, I can still deal with whatever Phil decides, just sometimes I would be happier with different choices for the lead vocals. Jackie's playing is just fine. He's a huge talent. I just tend to like him on his own material better than on some of the Jerry and Pigpen Dead stuff Phil has him do. Phil could have Larry Campbell do anything. Everything he touches is gold! Bobby sounded great playing and singing in Phil's band, adding a little more of that magical mix of the Dead's sound to the mix. He comes through strong on The Other One (and an added surprise Nobody's Faul But Mine in the middle of it), which is sandwiched between Phil's familiar versions of Cryptical. The Other One/Cryptical Suite is also highlighted by some nifty keyboard playing by Steve Molitz and Greene. Molitz adds his Techno sound while Greene contributes some Pigpenish 60's sounds. I can do without Jackie's Caution, which worked for me somewhat the first time I heard him sing it, but now comes off sounding kinda canned. It's a cutsie way to introduce the band; but he should leave that to Phil and his rap at the end. All in all I found that Anthem works for me, in this format, better than the First Album does. Maybe because the album itself has a flow to it, with one song fading in to the next anyway. Let's not forget that Anthem actually was recorded live over a run of shows and pieced together in layers on the record (remember records?). It really was a live album in disguise.

Have an opinion of these shows. I'd Love to hear it. Post a reply now! Thanks!

To Be Continued

Phil and Friends at The Warfield Theatre 5/13/08

More Phil Shows on


Jerry Garcia Band, Lunt-Fontanne Theater,New York, NY 1987-10-15

I recently downloaded The Jerry Garcia Band at The Lunt-Fontanne Theater,New York, NY 10-15-87 from This was a most magical night for me! I had bought a ticket for this night when they went on sale. I didn't want to buy for more than one night, not that I could have afforded to anyway, being a college student and just having attended SEVEN other Fall of 87 shows between Two nights in Providence and Five at MSG. But I really didn't know what to expect from these shows. Jerry was playing Fifteen shows over 13 Days (two Sundays had 2 perfomances, Matinee and Evening) on Broadway. Each show he would play a set with The Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, a new configuration with old New Riders pal David Nelson on guitar, The Ever Present John Kahn on Stand Up Bass, Sandy Rothman on Mandolin and Dobro, and Dave Kemper, from Jerry's Electric Band, on Drums . Then he'd play a set with the Electric JGB. Sounded nice for a change. A chance to see Garcia play acoustic. That really hadn't happened much since the Dead had played Acoustic sets at Radio City Music Hall and The Warfield Theatre in 80' for their 15 year anniversary. I got shut out of those shows back then, trying to get in Halloween Night with no luck (finally opting to go see Frank Zappa at The Ritz instead, for the third night in a row!). So I went with a bit of anticipation and wonder. It wound up being a pretty amazing scene though. Bill Graham was present out in front of the theatre keeping order, as well as inside; telling people to put out their cigarettes and other burning products and to be careful with their drinks on the carpet. Their was also a special surprise for Jerry on this opening night. Graham's crew handed out plastic Top Hats to everyone in the audience and we were instructed to stand up before the Encore and tip our hats to Jerry in a spoof of the poster for these shows of Jerry in a Cape and levitating a guitar from a Top Hat. I still have that Top Hat by the way. These shows were also marked by Egg Creams, a favorite of Jerry's, being served in the lobby. Anyway, The Acoustic Band wound up being amazing, to say the least, and the JGB was in rare form Rocking the place with their awesome repertoire of Gospel, Blues, Rockabilly, Reggae, Dead, JGB, and Dylan songs. This recording being evidence of this. Although, as usual with these shows, the audience recordings leave a bit to be desired since they're all stealth recordings due to the strict no recording policy at these shows. This particular recording sounds okay; the Electric set is much better sounding than the Acoustic. The vocals on the Acoustic set get kind of lost. All in all, worth the download and the listen though. Great energy throughout.

Acoustic Set-Bright Morning Stars02-Blue Yodel #903-Spike Driver04-Short Life Of Trouble05-Two Soldiers06-I'm Troubled07-Ain't No Lie08-Rosalie Mcfall09-Long Long Way10-band intros11-Ragged But Right

Electric Set-How Sweet It Is02-Forever Young03-Stop That Train04-Think05-Mission In The Rain06-Evangeline07-Sisters & Brothers08-Lucky Old Sun09-Stoned Me

As for me personally, I wound up coming back for Six More Shows all together. I couldn't keep away. The second night, 10/16, I went back with my friend Mike. We didn't have tickets, but drove down from Bridgeport looking to get in. We're outside the theatre about an hour before showtime and some lady pokes her head out one of the doors and says "who needs tickets?" We flew over there. She tells us to go across the street for a few minutes and wait for her to signal us back over. Sure enough, a few minutes later she comes back out with a fan full of tickets in her hand and calls us over. We paid price for them and jumped up and down and kissed her "We're In". The tickets were in Row G Orchestra (G for Garcia). We later found out she was Eileen Law. I think she was the Stage Manager or Road Manager for these shows. We came back the next night and she hooked us up again, same deal. Wow, what a godsend. What amazing shows. The toughest part was driving back and forth to Connecticut and making it to classes the following days, and scrounging up the money to keep going. I just thank God I went to all those shows. 7 Glorious nights with Jerry and Friends on Broadway. Thanks Bill! For puttin' on the good stuff! And, can I have another Egg Cream please.


Wolfgang's Vault: Bill Graham's Legacy

At the expense of outright "plugging" something I'd like to tell you guys about a really great site I've been going to to stream live music and to check out some cool stuff that I wish I could afford to buy. Check out Wolfgang's Vault Home page for all types of hip memorabilia from The 60's and 70's. You'll find stuff like Vintage Tickets from cool shows, Poster Art, and Photography from really cool sources. You can Stream (for free) lots of Live Shows; from Santana to Frank Zappa to The Beach Boys, and of course The Dead. The more I check out this site the more I find. You can also Download live shows for a small fee, usually under Ten Dollars for a complete show. I've been streaming some Band shows from 1976 and 74' that sound great. Bill Graham knew how to put on the good stuff, and Wolfgang's Vault carries on this tradittion in a really cool way in his name. Check it out. You're gonna keep going back for more.


Mickey Hart Summer Tour

Mickey Hart recently announced a whole bunch of shows with George Porter Jr and Steve Kimock. Sounds pretty intriguing to me. They'll be playing at The Fillmore NY @ Irving Plaza, the new Live Nation aquisition. These are my local shows but they'll be coming to a theatre near you too. Go HERE for more info where the tour will go.

Search Here for tickets if you'd like.
Concert Tickets


Ratdog at the Beacon Theatre Setlists

Here are the setlists from the three Beacon Theatre Ratdog shows. They're taken from the official site of Ratdog. If you were at any of the shows let us know what you thought. Read my review of Saturday nights show in the previous post. I downloaded the first night at and it's definately a keeper.


1st Set: Jam > Shakedown Street > Minglewood Blues > Queen Jane Approximately > Loser > Money for Gasoline, Bird Song* > Tuesday Blues* > Iko Iko*
2nd Set: Catfish John@, Franklin's Tower@, I Need a Miracle > Uncle John's Band* > He's Gone > Stuff+# > Sugaree# > Bird Song (reprise)# > Turn On Your Lovelight+#%$
E: Touch of Grey+
*-with Jimmy Herring (Guitar); +-with Tom Pope (Drums); #-with Warren Haynes (Guitar/Vocals); %-with Steve Molitz (Keyboards); $-with Dana Fuchs (Vocals/Tambourine); Jay on percussion box for "Franklin's"; Stuff - Jay/Tom > Jay/Tom/Kenny/Jeff/Jay/Robin > all/Warren


1st Set: Jam > Playin in the Band > Tomorrow Never Knows > Tennessee Jed, Sitting in Limbo > West L.A. Fadeaway, Even So > October Queen > The Deep End > Big Railroad Blues
2nd Set: K.C. Moan@4, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, The Weight@*, Eyes of the World+#, The River Song*+#%$^ > Stuff > Dear Prudence* > China Cat Sunflower% > I Know You Rider%
E: Casey Jones%
*-with Dana Fuchs (Vocals/Tambourine); +-with George Garzone (Saxophone); #-with Doug Yates (Saxophone); %-with Dred Scott (Keys); $-with Chris Burger (Vocals); ^-with Zacariah Mose (Vocals); Jay on percussion box for "KC Moan"
Only ''The River Song''; Previous ''Sitting in Limbo'' 3/19/2007 [61 shows]
(Kenny Brooks's 550th Show)


1st Set: Jam > Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Maggie's Farm, Row Jimmy, Dark Star > Weather Report Suite Prelude/Part 1 > Let It Grow
2nd Set: You Win Again@5, City Girls@, Victim or the Crime@, Lazy River Road > Jack Straw > Dark Star > Stuff, Days Between > Two Djinn > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower
E: One More Saturday Night
Bob before ''City Girls'': "This one's dedicated to a bunch of you out there and you know who you are."; "River Song" choruses during "Franklin's"; Stuff - Jeff/Jay/Kenny/Robin > Jeff/Jay(keys)/Kenny/Robin/MK(drums) > Jeff/Jay/Kenny/Robin > Jay/Mark(drums) > Jeff/Jay/Kenny/Robin/MK > all
(Jeff Chimenti's 700th Show)

Download 4/4/08 at ratdog, the beacon theater, new york, ny 2008-04-04


Ratdog At The Beacon Theatre

I went Saturday night 4/5/08. I thought it was a great show. Other people who saw multiple shows were not as impressed as me. I guess it's all relative. I made the most of it since I could only go to one show. It helped to be in the first row where there's a different kinda energy coming off the stage up close. Thought the opener Help-Slipknot was strong. The segway into Maggies Farm was a letdown although Maggies Farm was still good. The rest of the First set was strong to say the least; Row Jimmy, Dark Star > Weather Report Suite Prelude/Part 1 > Let It Grow. No complaints there.

Bob Weir Ratdog Beacon Theatre April 08
The second set started with the usual acoustic endevour. You Win Again was nice to hear Bobby sing (some others would beg to differ, oh well; their problem) and well done. I always enjoy the sleazy City Girls, this version going into a really hot jam!!! Victim or the Crime was real hot too. Bobby trades in his acoustic for an electric and they play a laid back Lazy River Road. I also don't mind Bobby's voice on this Jerry ballad, but some people complain they can't deal with his edge on certain songs of Jerry's. I have no problem here. Just brings a different emotion or angle to these great songs he's keeping alive. Mark Karan's playing on Lazy River was really sweet and remeniscent of Jerry, and for me struck a cord. It's the first time I saw Mark since his return and felt his playing was impressive, even poignant at times, this being one of them. Great to see him back. The rest of the second set (just like the end of the first set) was strong -> Jack Straw > Dark Star > Stuff, Days Between > Two Djinn > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower. Encore: One More Saturday Night. Jack straw was a nice second set surprise. The rest of the set was really hot. Once again I loved the Days Between but some have problems with it. I thought Bobby's delivery of it was suiting to Hunters lyrics. Almost haunting. It's that kind of a song though. Phil's interpretation, I always felt, was haunting too (not to mention Jerry's).
Bob Weir Ratdog Beacon Theatre April 08
All in all a good strong show. Wish I coulda done all three, but happy and Grateful I could make it to at least one. Hope ya like the photos I shot. Rare that I bring a camera in. A little blurry, but I never said I was a concert photographer.

As for Bobby "Thanks, for a real good time!"


70's Popular Music Quiz

A friend emailed this neat 70's Music Quiz link to me. I thought it was fun. It brought back lots of cool memories for me. Follow the link and take the quiz yourself. There are also other music era's by decade available there. Check it out.

I scored a Dynomite
95% on the


Spring Tour In The Air

It was wierd. The first couple of years after Jerry died I felt like each change of season should have been accompanied by a tour. I hadn't really noticed that that was how I'd been marking time; Spring Tour, Summer Tour, Fall Tour. I was too busy having such a real good time to realize. Once the party was over it was so heavy around the change of seasons without having a tour to plan. Spring time always kinda felt and smelled like the Carnival we called The Dead were on their way. We were on auto-pilot so long that even not doing mailorder at certain times in the year seemed strange. I still always think about that this time of year. Although I am Grateful we still have Ratdog and Phil and Friends shows to look forward to (usually at regular times in the year) it's not quite the same. Kinda sad about the Allman's having to cancel the Beacon shows too (they'll probably reschedule for September I hear). I just hope Greg gets better soon. Just goes to show; enjoy the ride while you can. Have a nice trip, see ya next Fall.


Growing Up Dead But Grateful

When I was growing up my friends used to ask me why all I listened to was the Grateful Dead. My response always was something like "Hey Man, I listen to lots of other music! I LOVE the Jerry Garcia Band, and I just went to go see Bobby & The Midnights last night". That's how I was ever since I was bit by the bug. And that's the way I remain to this day. But, ironically, the very thing that seemed to limit my musical horizons, at the time, was what ultimately turned me on to so many other musical styles (and continues to). There was no way you could listen to Jerry and the Boys without some Bluegrass, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Country, Folk, RnB etc. rubbin' off on you. And it did. Why else would a 17 year old kid go out looking for Etta James records or some Bill Monroe? It definitely had a huge influence on what I listened to; and also where I travelled, later on. If it weren't for the Dead I never would have gone to some of the cities I went to all across the U.S. My parents thought I was at college in Connecticut and meanwhile I was in Rhode Island or Massachusetts seeing a show.

I'll continue with my ramblings on the Dead and other musical adventures as often as I can. If you have any inclination to expand on my posts or just reflect on your own experiences with the Dead, Jambands, or any other music scene (or life scene) on your mind, feel free. Talk to ya soon...and stay in touch.