show starts with an unexpected (but most absolutely welcome) foolish heart. have always loved jk taking this one on, like a journey/challenge everytime. i can recall some trainwreck renditions, but this will not fall into that category. the structure of the song is delicately followed and jk builds a meaningful solo to jump back to the main. they soar on the outro and things start to get a little metallic sounding, almost like a couple of freight trains are colliding and they are crunching down the opening riffs to dupree's, a personal favorite of mine. aside from the rocky transition, i'm still dancing, HARD. john's phrasing with the lyrics on this is hauntingly good, a natural choice for him. wait, 2 jk vox to open the show, SWEET. a little time to tune up and bob runs us down on the estimated prophet. his stoic approach provides the darkness and mystery the song can often spotlight. bob's throat has not been 100% these past couple nights and his usual estimated howling reflects this. the effort is there, but it's not flip of a switch anymore. it's okay though, we can see his emotion as well, even behind his yosemite sam mustache and beard. john takes us on two really strange rides during this and eventually they land down and drop a beautiful version of it must have been the roses. john is graceful in everyway, with nice harmonies from all. furthur does not play this one often. thought i heard jk tuning for JALL, and there it is. this was strong, much better than the struggle he had at terrapin crossroads with it. a great tribute to brent to play this song (any of his songs for that matter), chimenti seemed to get more solo time in this one, or maybe i just noticed his solo a lot more on this particular night, only the recording can confirm that. what i do know is they shuffled around to stranger, a very odd placement for the song. at one point they take it to a whole other level, and i'm not sure how much of it was composed but it veered pretty far off course during the beginning verses/repeat of the intro lines, which was cool, an unexpected jam is always nice (like when phil started doing that with box of rain after the first few verses). it does clash a little bit after a while and it becomes obvious someone gets a little too lost. they manage to find their way back and go off the deep end again, finally arriving at our raging set closer, viola lee blues. it starts out like any other viola, but after the first verse, things get intense. they take their normal between verse jam and let it ride, slowly picking up speed, snowball effect, getting louder, weirder, wilder, and they take it even higher, and then the energy cannot be contained, it spills into the next verse, being sung and played at a much quicker tempo. it has so many musical elements of cumberland blues, it begins to sound like their love child. the energy continues to build and build and spills into the final verse. in 94 furthur shows, i've never seen viola lee take such risks and new paths. seems like they've been on for a long time, and they've only played 7 songs, and it's setbreak. despite the set being one short (they almost always do 8 song first sets) it's incredible risks/rewards from the jams are much more important and meaningful.
setbreak was much more tolerable tonight (experience, even if one night, helps immensely with a venue). they were cool enough to scan tickets on your way out so you could go wherever and come back in whenever. first night was a mess gettin out but smooth sailing tonight.
they start us off with the fantasy. i often think this one is overplayed but i really can't complain because they almost always do a great job with this one. jk and jc both take powerful solos in this one. the more times i hear this song, the more meaning it takes on (really for every tune). they groove to that E and the straw is on, bob officially cueing everybody up after an almost early start. like the previous tune, it's all jk and jc here for a bit during the jam, phil and bob almost stepping away, being the guides on the side. phil reinforces the crowd not only with his lyrical verse but his powerful, straight to the point bombs in the 2nd jam, especially when they kick into the "jack straw from wichita.." line. chilling, no question a highlight of the night. phil immediately pilots the band to the mountains of the moon, with nothing but a strange ride there. vocally and dynamically these guys pull of a classic, with some extremely spacey segments surrounding. chimenti gets totally deep into his synthesizer during the first jam, they know how to bring you to that level. they pick things up and rocket into another highlight of the night, mason's children. this one is all phil and bob. good job all around and they really spin it out of control with perfect handling to punch it right back in. one of the best mason's this band has pumped out no doubt. phil lifts the ship back off and we visit the dark star. it does not have the normal intro where he includes the opening bass line, they just "crash" right into it. strong vocals from all three. this dark star stays pretty classic with the slow winding grooves and twists and turns, everybody really melting together, co pilot bob steps into the drivers seat and rips it up with a great let it grow. all around awesome weir. outro jam is great, rollercoater like. phil takes back hold and flies us back to the dark star to fully explore. a burst of energy emerges with a pretty good throwin stones. the crowd received it very well. weir seemed to be holding back a little, like it'd been a while. after things wind down phil counts the group off into passenger, a total curveball at this point in the show. it starts out awesome and really grows but somewhere along the way bob gets lost and the band is playing 2-3 different parts at the wrong time. they recoup fairly quickly and digress to a poweful morning dew. john grabs this one by throat and does it justice. not only this, but very strong and concise work from the rest of the band to give it the many different feels it has throughout.
after last night it was clear they had an 11:30 curfew there, phil comes out for a quick donor rap and when the boys start to play their encore, for some reason guitars sound like johnny b goode and phil is going box of rain, and we receive the latter. a favorite of mine, so i was all smiles. can't go wrong with box, ever.
i loved this show, it was nowhere near perfect but it was incredible, with new fresh approaches and extremely strong vocals and playing. they believe it or not sound rehearsed, or maybe all the playing with all these different musicians is helping them grow and add more to their project we call FURTHUR. they've been dabbling HEAVILY with the jazz, phil with the killer basslines but also chimenti's background being more out front, and obvious in his playing.