I am happy to say at my fears were not only allayed, they were squashed like a little fat bug, SPLAT! To put it bluntly, we got served! We've been going to Furthur shows from their very beginning, and I can honestly say that this NYE Run was the best I have ever heard them play. Bobby must be back on his meds , or took a much needed vocal rest, because he sounded very good and back to his old self, in a good way. Sure, he is still fucking around with that horrible pedal that sounds like a car honking - Bobby, if you read this, PLEASE for the love of all that's right in the world, get rid of that pedal, it's distracting and sounds horrible - but other than that and the malfunction on NYE, which was resolved quickly, he was back! Phil's new spot next to Joe really helps both of them to see what the other is doing and thus, we got a lot more drive and punch in the drums and bass. It was a blast to watch Joe locked onto what Phil was doing and the level of jams showed the results. We also loved Phil's new bass tower, which seems to give him more power, presence and definition...his intro on The Other One was extremely satisfying! JK seems to be playing less like a Jerry clone, which I never cared for, and more like himself, which I totally appreciate and he seems to be growing into his position more and more. Background vocals were bright and lovely. And then there's Jeff Chimenti...what can you say about a guy who, no matter what, where or when, shows up and delivers the goods and then some every single show?!? He is simply amazing and it was great to see him take so many opportunities to lead the band on spacey excursions that were very very tasty! When he's bouncing around, attacking his B3, it's pretty perfect to me.
Which brings me to this...I never thought I would see the day when Furthur started to take the kinds of risks that the GOGD took. Let's face it, Jerry was the driver in many a space adventure, and with Furthur's rehearsing and the pre-determined set lists, it's not been as experimental as it used to be when nobody knew what the next song was going to be. But this run was the first time I felt like Furthur was reaching for that same uncharted territory. For me, 'taking it further' isn't about changing around song placements, or song selection, or who sings what. To me, those are all just band logistics. Taking it further, to me, is about going into unknown territory that is unrehearsed and pure in its unscheduled and unknown destinations. And I was really happy to experience some of those moments last week. It doesn't always work, and I'm okay with that because it's not the destination I'm interested in, it's really the journey, and there were some wonderful journeys this run. As we left the NYE show, it felt like the band left nothing on the table. They were spent, we were spent, and that's exactly how I like it.
So thank you Furthur, for a real good time! Happy New Year to you all ~