the excitement was buzzing throughout the place, people were really ready to hear this band play. me being one of them. i had truly been looking forward to these shows even before NYE. opener? no bother to even call something, just bring it on..
nice little jam that finds its way into a firm, powerful blasting opening chord to shakedown street, the venue erupted. holy shit, it's phil and friends! that sound, it's funky, it's great, this rocks. dire wolf was great jackie doing some decent vocals and the band giving it that fun bouncy feel. tennessee jed was great the vocal harmonies were great on this one, tight playing all around. heard the tuning and sure enough pride of cucamonga. was a little slower than furthur's version and the verses seemed to drag a little but the bluesy jam in the middle was crunchy, really raw sounding, good navigation back to the main riff as that can sometimes be totally botched. doin that rag great choice for me a song i particularly enjoy. jackie seemed to slip up a little with vocals and guitar a little but not enough to take away from the positive. the wheel! first set? awesome! they really explore this one with a nice bomb from phil and all, and a nice journey to standing on the moon. a highlight of the night for me. warren sang with so much emotion my spine was shivering and tingling. it was beautiful. "somewhere in colorado, on a back porch in july", awesome. just a little light to cap the set was just as great with warren charging and leading the way. i always loved his vocals on this and his playing was phenomenal, especially the backend jam. just great. great first set, i wouldn't have changed a thing about it. no sloppy vocals, no trainwreck sounds/moments, it was just what i was looking for. for the first set of the weekend this group sounded very good.
setbreak seemed a little short but enough time to do all the necessities and still come back and hang with the forum folks. we had a great crew down on the floor. incredible spot, dead center, halfway between stage and soundboard, killer sound.
scarlet begonias was nice. surprised to hear them repeat stuff from the rehearsal in this first show but doesn't matter. they really have fun with this one. jackie takes a leader type role and yells for sco to let it rip, then jeff, then warren,a nd then sco points at jackie and jackie let's loose. very cool. last time i was seeing jackie greene with phil, he was not nearly that comfortable on stage or performing that well. rollin and tumblin was a great choice, a rarity really. GD broke it out twice in 95 once in highgate VT and once at RFK. phil started doing a few years back and it's cool to see jackie singing it, has that minglewood feel to it. nice rocker. rollin and tumblin was the kick start to a lengthy sequence that would take us to the end of the set. awesome jam finds its way to cryptical, but not before new speedway teases were thrown around. magic bus was somewhat expected after viewing the rehearsal webcast earlier in the week. very cool though, good song for these guys. other one was great i love to hear phil sing this but really the jam between the verses was the best part. absolutely mind bending.i am pretty sure phil gets caught up in the timing of the phrasing and has to extend the 2nd verse a little bit but no biggie, i'm impressed to hear him sing it at all. wharf rat was another highlight of the night. played excellent. warren nailed it, his voice was just great on it, perfect emotion, something the song needs. they really made this one good with the exploratory feel they gave the entire thing. what i was expecting earlier in the show is now delivered, a big help slip franks. i really loved the slipknot, great ride. franklins was really fun too with jackie getting some vocals in too.
not fade away to cap the night, it was ok. probably the weakest tune of the night in my opinion but it just sounded sour at several moments. it couldn't have mattered any less, this band had just killed and left everybody glowing, and ecstatic.
overall i loved this show. it was just what i needed. seeing so much furthur has become not so fun for me, a big reason why i've scaled back the full on touring with them. too predictable really. this phil band provided the twists and turns i really seek in the improvisation. i like saying "what was that!" instead of knowing the lick someone is about to lay down during the "solo". too much too fast? i don't know, but this lineup is doin it.
i think sco was really shining during the second set, his solos were highly anticipated within the crowd, and everyone was open to whatever. very few talkers, not many filthy beggar types. good scene in a good place. i can't wait for tonight.
last night was pretty grateful dead heavy with only one weir tune the other one. i have a feeling they will start to stray a little bit the next couple nights and delve into what phil's got on his mind.