spent our day relaxing for this one, needed as much energy for the VIP night as possible. we got down there early. early enough to be one of the first upstairs in the VIP area. but before that we listened to some soundcheck from behind the building. not a whole lot goin on just some folks mingling, having a drink. they brought up lots of yummy stuff from the restaurant--flatbread pizzas, smoked salmon, array of vegetables, and some more things. we just talked to some folks, met a great woman who we ended up hanging out with all night, and not too long later phil came upstairs. it was obvious we were all going to have a little time to talk to him. when he made his way over i was awestruck. i've really been waiting for the moment and thought about it so many times. i didn't ask any of the stupid shit i always wanted to. i just thanked him for doing this, and he explained how he never thought he'd be in that position, but he's rolling with it and loving it. i also got to talk about levons with him and he used the word "inspiration" for that place, in creating his. we knew this, but those words...powerful stuff. as he was about to trail off to the next couch or table or whatever i shyly asked if i could trouble him for a picture, and he was okay with it. i will forever be indifferent because the flash wasn't on but it's still visible, just a little dark.. also saw chimenti milling around and got to thank him for his contirbutions to the music and also ask how he enjoyed playing at terrapin crossroads. needless to say he loves it. after a while it became clear the band was going to take stage in a bit so we went downstairs and inside. found a nice spot a few back from phil. saw jk down there on the floor walking by and said his name and he stopped and came over to chat. told him how awesome the tones he was pulling were but also raved about the fiddle bust out. told him how i'd been waiting forever with furthur for him to pull it out. he kind of laughed ehehe. but i steered the conversation to him being brought up on the fiddle. he was modest about it, and i said well i'm sure you'll have loads of fun with larry campbell tomrrow..and he goes "yeah, a real fiddle player" LOL.
not too much later they take stage. i saw john pick up the fiddle, SWEET. a great US blues and really johns contributions were perfect. grahame was very strong on this, firing right out of the gate. noteworthy: i had the conversation with john about the fiddle. this was the only song he played it on. i wonder if he intended to at all? maybe he considered after my comment, or maybe it was planned all along, just seemed strange to only use it on the one song. nice rip right into mr. charlie, place was on fire. jackie showcasing his musical and vocal abilities. next tune was a total curveball, BELIEVE IT OR NOT. john did a good job with this late garcia/hunter collaboration. "just when you think you've seen it all burt". phil gave away the bird song but it's ok. such a beautiful one. never lets you down either. it always gets there. now the jam was just great, this band with very little rehearsal really showing exemplary use of dynamics and gestalt sound. phil charges into a verse of cold rain and snow, and i believe that was it, just the one verse, and a trip back to the end of bird song. well done all around, very smooth segues. dear mr. fantasy was awesome, john giving some RAW emotion, not often seen with the furthur versions. china doll was a highlight of the night for me. i REALLY wanted to hear it because i heard john messing around with it on friday night and we heard them soundchecking it yesterday afternoon. first set, great. jackie sang the vocals, which caught me by total surprise, but he did a killer job on it. whole band was giving him props. doin that rag, love phil versions of this. john k taking vox, was wondering if jackie would since he did inbroomfield. "wading in the water but you never get wet if you keep on doin that rag" touch closer, unexpected, fun and BOUNCY. "hey phil, how do you get your tone so (bend knees) BOUNCY!?"
went back upstairs to the lounge during the break, they had some slammin' desserts up there. i'm not one for too many sweets but this one like whipped cream/strawberry thing was awesome. we were eating phils stash saw grahame up there and let him know how well he was sounding and more comfortable even within 3 days of playing. he was extremely appreciative. also worth noting here, the staff at terrapin crossroads is exceptional, nothing short of first rate. they make sure your experience is everything you want it to be, including all security.
back down to the grate room for set 2. a heavy truckin to kick things off, my expected and usual nod to buffalo, the place i left to go god knows where each time it's played. everybody was in fine form, it smoked. the jam they pull off is quite nice and i swear i heard riffs of a possible broken arrow coming, but at the same time, i was totally hearing the jack straw. ended up being the latter but it was another highlight of the night. they really killed it everyone it was the biggest outburst from the crowd of the night "JACK STRAW FROM WICHITA..."..a drop to the "millennium jam", the dead giveaway to the eleven. well played, they did not screw up the intro or anything as that can sometimes be an issue for jk during furthur shows. one of those songs i've seen a zillion times but it never gets old. the 11 bpmeasure is fun to dance to. ahh, the watchtower we heard also being soundchecked. not a first choice for me but they switched this one up. jackie was doing some cool slow stuff with it and it gradually picked back up the momentum of the freight train that was the previous few tunes, and digressed into what was probably my most anticipated song, hoping to hear for this weekend, TERRAPIN STATION. it was everything i wanted it to be. just a straight on terrapin station, they even had the crowd singing the "TERRAPIN" lines the place was going bonkers. right up there with the crowd energy level for the straw. ahhh the relief after a tension filled outro jam, STANDING ON THE MOON. what's that, john k, slowly stepping to the mic, yes. wonderful. thank you phil. really somethin, they did this one right. special song for all. a really nice scarlet to follow up this ballad, perfect tempo for the swinging sound these guys had goin on. jackie piloted this one and a really interesting segue jam blasts of the fire. some fine solos from all around on this one, phil just grinning ear to ear at everybody both band and crowd. BEAMING. throwing stones was soundchecked for quite a while so i was expecting it eventually and there it was. jackie did a great job with this.
grilled cheese as always was fantastic, make sure to always thank your server!
encore i really wanted box of rain and with the heavy rain and all i thought maybe but no...an absolutely killer sugaree. everybody was trading verses and solos and it climaxed like no other. it was an awesome way to end such a rockin show.
went back upstairs to the lounge after but it was surprisingly pretty empty and not many band members stopped in. talked to jk again for a little, but some strange dude came over and kind of scared him i think i felt bad. he eventually trailed off john left not long after. and that was it. another exceptional night at terrapin crossroads. the VIP experience was 100% worth it. i wouldn't do it all the time just because i wouldn't feel the need but i got what i wanted and needed out of it. i'm grateful.