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Tyler Curtis

MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#1081 3 years, 7 months ago
Furthur @ Madison Square Garden, November 20-21

Words: Tyler Curtis

It’s been quite a year for Furthur in every aspect including the size of the venues the group has been playing. Just four months ago, this post-Grateful Dead act offered two performances at the 2,100-capacity Best Buy Theater in New York City. This past weekend, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh brought their latest project to the 20,000 seats at Madison Square Garden for two nights. Both shows were different in everything from the flow of the setlists, to the crowd and band’s energy. It has been said that when the Garden is full of enthusiasm, magic does happen and that was indeed the case for Furthur.

Night one consisted of a monstrous first set that included a Help On The Way, Slipknot! and Shakedown Street combination that shook the entire arena with merciless energy between the crowd and the music. The rest of the set continued the Grateful Dead repertoire’s standard of crisp jams and stellar vocals, though there was a minor flub in El Paso. However, the Terrapin Station Suite closer was the highlight of the set as the 23-minute sequence brought silence and focus from the attentive crowd.

The second set of Saturday’s concert provided a more psychedelic vibe to the atmosphere mainly controlled by bassist Phil Lesh. He seemed to stop and start the songs, leading the way to the next jam or pushing the improvisation to the next level. This was clear on songs like Saint Stephen and from the way Millennium Jam segued into The Eleven, consisting of an increase in the tempo to bring up the intensity of the jams.

READ ON for more on Furthur’s two shows at MSG…

Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and guitarist John Kadlecik connected all throughout the night, building off of each other’s musical charisma. Bob Weir also repeatedly brought it, especially during the Eleven where his rhythm guitar was astounding, as were his vocals in Death Don’t Have No Mercy. The earlier Help On The Way > Slipknot! found its proper closure from the set ending Franklin’s Tower.

Saturday night’s performance was one of those shows that you don’t expect the band to top the next night. However, as we moved on to night two, the magic and comfort in a venue so large appeared to finally set in. The venue wasn’t as full as the previous night since the 400 section was empty, yet the crowd was even more involved and enthusiastic on Sunday. The smoking show started with an upbeat Truckin’ and a southern-rock influenced Cumberland Blues. Kadlecik’s singing fit perfectly in Any Road and his fingers managed to tear up the fretboard during Eyes Of The World and So Many Roads. Viola Lee Blues was the definition of jam-rock, reaching out to the fray of psychedelic qualities. Jeff Chimenti was the MVP of Goin’ Down The Road, skittering the keys to step up the set closer.

Sunday’s second set started off with a heavy hitting Born Cross Eyed and moved into a not so special version of The Wheel. A crowd-favorite cover of Pink Floyd’s Time broke up Weather Report Prelude and Let It Grow. This version of Time was the finest turned in by Furthur since they started covering the tune back on New Year’s Eve. Phil Lesh finally grasped the phrasing of the vocals and Joe Russo mastered Nick Mason’s drum part.

The theme of psychedelic rock was reintroduced for the rest of the set, glistening during the dark Unbroken Chain jam, an abnormally extended version of Morning Dew and a fun rendition of Playing In The Band. During Phil Lesh’s donor rap on Sunday, he took the opportunity to tell the crowd how much fun the band had in New York City, noting that it seemed like a two-second show.

Both night’s setlists were some of the best New York City has seen from this lineup. The execution of the music also was brought to a higher level than prior performances. Although, it seemed as if the energy was brought to a much higher level on Sunday. Not even a full version of the Terrapin Station Suite on Saturday exceeded the energy that fans on Sunday provided. Furthur continues to show New York City love, hitting the Big Apple on every tour they’ve done. It is clear that the musicians have locked in chemistry wise, and hopefully will bring the love back to the area soon.v
Buy the ticket, take the ride..."
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Junior Boarder

Re: MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#1146 3 years, 7 months ago
Nice review man keep up the good work. I'm assuming there are gonna be some coming from this past weekend. Those shows were definitely real special though, certainly a real good time.
the highway terror
Platinum Boarder
{({({({({(Health Vibes For Bobby)})})})})}

Re: MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#1155 3 years, 7 months ago
Can't Live that Negative Way, Make Room for the Positive Day !
Junior Boarder

Re: MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#3615 3 years, 7 months ago
Phil said, 11/21/11:

"You know it seems like what we have here is a little time machine, you know cause I've... we've been up here playing it looks like for several hours now, and it seems like that just happened in like a split second. I think that's part of the magic that New York brings to our music and that you guys bring to our music. You guys and the power of the time... and thank you for helping us with that. And God bless you."

I really like the last night of the last tour, 11/21/10. I just heard the Z-man recording again and it sounds GREAT. Very little crowd noise.

It was my birthday and I thought it was amazing. The first set is outstanding, they really have it together throughout the whole show.

Both nights were outstanding, the best I had seen the band play, until New Year's which was equally good. I thought Sunday night 11/21 was the better of the two.

I wrote this on 11/22:
At MSG they really went all out. It was so great to see how loved they are in NYC. I was (foolishly) a bit worried that they would not be able to sell out half of MSG but the whole thing was either sold out or almost sold out on Saturday night. The crowd was dancing more in NYC and there were less talking and/or very drunk people, way less. Last night I was in an aisle behind the first section behind the stage and it was filled with dancing people all the way around, there was way more space and they even closed off the very top section. Saturday night was great but I think they played better last night, especially JK but the whole band just played better. Everything was amazing, especially I want to mention the Cumberland, even the Truckin into Cumberland, the Viola Lee, Eyes and So Many Roads but I feel quite sure that whole first set will hold up on tape.

(I should mention that I may be biased because last night 11/21 was my 37th birthday, I was born on 11/21/73.)

The second set was kind of a dream come true, I love Pink Floyd and it should be mentioned that hearing WRS live by this band is really something. Phil live in general is amazing, and he is rarely captured so well in recordings that you can hear the full spectrum of his bass sound. They did Time very well, Unbroken Chain was just beautiful, and the Playing in the Band really was reminiscent of the 72-73-74 era Playin's.

Their setlists are as good as it gets, the Band can Play. Such a privilege to have been there.

Other notes that may be of interest: before each set you can see the band discuss what appears to be the setlist at some length, then they do this group-hug-huddle-thing that is so sweet to see. Last night after the show Sunshine gave each band member a rose, I believe they put them in their mouths to take a bow, first to the front then to the back. It was just magical… that's why today I am like, did I see that??

Tapes I will be sure to acquire from this tour: 3 nts red rocks (esp. 9/25/10), 1st night Chicago, 2 nights MSG.

Oh and about the sound, I thought I noticed that some nights the 1st set was actually quieter or at least the sound improved for the second set. the sound was consistently great at MSG. In Chicago and Cincinnati I thought it could have been better.
Last Edit: 3 years, 7 months ago by spinneresque108.
Doctor DoctorMrMD
Fresh Boarder

Re: MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#3816 3 years, 7 months ago
as a new, young 24-year old deadhead, these two nights at MSG were the almost certainly two of the most memorable nights I've had seeing this lineup or really any other post-GratefulDead act. The energy was there, the band was on and feeding off the excitement of the crowd, and I had the time of my life.

The Terrapin Station Suite as the closer on Saturday was truly something to behold and, personally, one of my favorite moments seeing these guys play!

2 more nights at the Tower, then on to Pittsburgh in just over a week!
Senior Boarder

Re: MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#26146 3 years, 5 months ago
These shows were a blast. How can you not love some Dead vibes in NYC! The Terrapin was especailly sweet, I've been listening to these two nights from Zman's recordings on archive. I listen to the Terrapin a lot. just killed it that night.
Platinum Boarder

Re: MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#26274 3 years, 5 months ago
it was the perfect way to close that tour--we were spent but man those shows were powerhouses, i liked that first night first set wharf and terrapin...tye dyed empire state building, streets of manhattan always a zoo
who else is gonna bring you, a broken arrow?
Platinum Boarder

Re: MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#26741 3 years, 5 months ago
that Terrapin was special
Platinum Boarder

Re: MSG 11/20-21/10 Review

#26877 3 years, 5 months ago
Warrior for Peace and The Positive Movement!
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