okay, the theater--first off, no pat down whatsoever, a true rarity on the east coast, but a blessing for us heads. friendly staff if you steered them in that direction. the place is outrageously ornate. painting on the walls/ceiling, murals, scultupes/framework, you name it, the place is GORGEOUS. my seat was truly out of this world--3rd row in the pit really means just that--reminded me of being at terrapin crossroads, except the band is set back a little bit on this stage at the wang.
ok, down to business...playin opener, half expected, but good. weirs vocals sound good out of the gate and the band is flowing. phil didn't get as "majestic" during the opening lines of the jam but he did get going after a few measures. this jam went many places, jk experimenting with all types of tones and phil/russo running off the same heartbeat switching the groove with the flip of a switch. the band seemed to be in full control! as a few of us were walking in i said "we need to hear crazy fingers tonight". during the playin i was secretly hoping for it, since playin>crazy is a fairly common pairing, both from GD and furthur. they just go very well together. phil orchestrated their journey there. this was a wonderful version. john was so soft and delicate, the vocals just pouring out so naturally, and my favorite line "gone are the days.." really hit home on this one. a nice digression to a pretty good black throated wind. vocally bob seemed on but it looked like he was forcing his guitar a little. "and i give you my eyes" his eyes bulged right out of his dang head, classic. i wish jk would have soared a bit more during the outro reoeat, but bob was trying to howl, and had some trouble getting up there, but his effort was an A. he was not (rat)doggin it. you could see heavy communication and signaling around the stage so they were going to fire into something, and it was a SMOKIN brown eyed women. this had the tempo it needs, the back and forth shuffling with every member of the band in the groove. phil givin us line "old man" line was the happiest i had seen him thus far in the night. finally a little break--that opening 4 song sequence was nice, really reeled folks in. they love each other was a nice shift in mood to slow things down a little, folks lovin the "further" line as always. big bad blues was cool, sounded like there was a slightly different arrangement during the jam, as bob was ringleading this one a little more than he's had to recently. also another moment where they jump keys back to the main groove and it almost sounded like a stepping stone was overjumped. they tried to count off right into built to last but it almost sounded like the opening notes of reuben and cherise, and the 2nd time around they hit it and just rolled right into it, no time to try to make it perfect. john did a good job as always. this one is tough as there is not much more than the lead guitar and his vocals on this. great work with the short midi solo. i always liked this song regardless of the fact it's not jam heavy. it's lyrical and meaning heavy. a SMOKIN transition right into hell in a bucket gets people back up and raging east coast style. i could feel the entire floor moving. bob really gave this one his all, especially during the ending. from where i was standing and the scene around me, i truly felt like i was in the music video LOL. too funny.
about a 40 min setbreak a little crowded. they do however let ya go right on the street as long as they scan out your ticket so you can come back in. little to no police presence, they were really letting us fans have a good time. ran into some forum folk outside.
st. stephen to open up the set, pretty bold. phil slowed things down a litle more than usual before the "ladyfinger" line and the whole band was in tune to it, not sure if that was pre-planned or not, as phil seemed to be looking for them to follow his lead. really this one blasted out with the jam. it took on all sorts of shapes and colors, many not previously toyed with. i've seen a lot of st. stephens, this one stands out. perfect example of deconstruction. a deconstruction of the song, and a reconstruction to where it needs to (eventually) get back to. nice quick fly into cosmic charley, you can tell one of phil's favorites. i always like this one, very trippy sounding guitar. tonight bob took on "airplane duties" in fact he was extremely animated all night, looked to be in great health/spirits. "go on home your mama's callin you". MOUNTAIN SONG, YEAH!!! was not expecting one the first night of the tour but totally ecstatic about it. this one had a faster tempo than normal (more like the first couple versions) and i loved it. flowed a little better, no drag at all. phil's vocals were strong, clear, concise. only downfall was the ending, that outro was botched/skipped over--they went into some noodley jam, phil looked displeased, but shrugged it off. moments later he wasn't even playing anything, just kind of waiting for weir and jk to find some ground, and then phil just starts the opening line to the wheel. decent wheel, nothing to write home about except phil's bombs, vocally it was really good. uncle johns is where things got bck to where they needed to be, strong version, phils bass again just really rounding things off and making the ends of the lines so poignant. the 7 bpmeasure jam on the backend was really strong, and had direction, did not go off into noodlefest, went there and brought right back with taste. little drums from russo and into a WILD king soloman's marbles..i felt as if this was at one point being overplayed but it's been scaled back on appearances and tonight made me remember why i love this instrumental so much. THE JAZZ. phil totally jazzed this one up, owning the hell out of everybody. aside from that, every single band member was on par with him, following every nuance. they did not let this groove bump or fall, which can happen very easily. john did not have to so obviously hint when it's time to drop, it sounded a lot more natural, the interplay that is. they were one. slow ballad time. thought i heard bob squealing his guitar for the peter. normally i am not excited for this one, as bob can sometime get a little off key and lose direction, but it was good. his expressions and general ambience were right on for this tune. john nailed a nice solo, and for a slow ballad, people were swaying beautifully. shakedown street came out of left field for me. it's not common for them to drop the late 2nd set shakedown, although obviously it does happen. i thought overall it was really strong, minus the jumps around during "shake it down", feel free to drop that and let john go to town boys phil went over to bob and said something during this backend jam and they QUCIKLY dropped into not fade away. time restraints! it was rushed through and they were swept off stage. phil came out to thanks us (seems so backwards, but it's so right, band=community, we're all one
great liberty to end the night. jk was playing the most melodic riffs throughout the entire thing, unlike previous versions. it was a treat.
the whole band seemed like this but john especially, COMFORTABLE. no nervousness, red face, etc. he was there and it's his band too, and that's the way he's playing. this unit is getting tight musically. the show started out rally strong that 4 song sequence then it tapered a little bit, weir got sloppy. but the 2nd set for the most part was right there and they were exploring everything and anything. i can't wait for tonight, hope to see more of ya'll outside the venue, look for the flag!!!