“Shut your eyes and listen to the colours of your mind
Give yourself a breath of air, let your soul unwind”
This song shows how incredible over the last two decades Bob has become. Hunter wrote this in ’93 and it was played 44 times by the Grateful Dead from summer ’93 til the end. It bounced around the set placements for its whole life. As a 1st set closer, the excitement came from Jerry playing an extra song - Don’t Ease. (This was done ten times!) Here is a related fun fact. That combo was played so much that Jerry actually flubbed the 2nd night of Louisville, in ’93! I was sad to miss my Don’t Ease because I only could make the second show. When Bob was ready to end the long set on 6/16 with Easy Answers – Jerry came back with a back-to-back night Don’t Ease Me In!! The band couldn’t believe it but Jerry was loving it and I was too – front row at his feet!! Anyways, the Easy Answers in Detroit absolutely blew away anything I saw from yesteryear (or decade). I found it to be played with serious vigor! Rob was pounding on the stand up with the bow. Bob was so pumped he came ten feet in front of the monitors, to the stages edge, to do his ever so famous “rock-n-roller” impression. PURE AWESOMENESS! By the way, if you ever wonder what Phil said in the mike before the first set closer at Soldier Field in ’93 – it was, “Lets not make this another Louisville”. (Hinting to not make Don’t Ease a three-peat!)
Althea had a double start with Bobby clinging to the slide making his signature head jerks while Wasserman still was hammering with the bow. The last verse came with lights on and interaction with the crowd after a very nicely toned solo by Steve with Bob leaning on that slide up and down his neck.
Silvio had a great introduction, which reminded me of Run for the Roses! (Done that missed call before, also). Then they did two interludes of the instrumental song “Tequila” getting a roar from the crowed. Jeff was grinning ear to ear at the organ and Bob laughed out loud for everyone to hear. Side note, this song (Tequila) was recorded by the Chimps who used one of Bobby’s cowboy respectee’s Gene Autry\'s record label, Challenge Records. Anyways, during Silvio the front rail actually was bouncing from the rail rats. The only time in the entire show this happened! Jeff also went from piano to organ about 5 times during this song, and Bob continued to give silent screens after each keyboard segment. Bob also started to shake his hips before he led into a very soulful Even So. He was pushing his guitars neck (the Gibson hollow body 336) to the brink, several times on the top wing, to get what he wanted. No shoulder or back problems evident here! The best transition of the night (rephrase to the first set ONLY) was the one from Even So> into October Queen. This has been a tandem for over ten years. Bob continued his hand jesters, on his hips and resting on his guitar as he playfully told us this story as if it was story time and not show time in Detroit. Bob at his best!
During the break – they lifted the large black curtain up behind the stage to expose all the road gear AND this very cool brick wall. Very very cool. Wasn’t sure if they did this for looks – or more for sound on the stage monitors. Anyways – it was a great look!
So you ever think that you may miss a song that you want to hear real bad – no matter where you start on a tour? I chased my Dark Star for over 80 shows till I finally heard it live. Not being able to do complete tours has a downside. Well to have Bob come out with an acoustic and do another Walking Blues was very special! This song was not done in real general public with Further. It was played a dozen times from ‘05 to ’09. So what used to be played all the time back in the GD days, became more of a recent dearth. I thought I missed it being played on 2-20, but Bob didn’t disappoint. It was just unbelievable. Great energy. Great song. Jay, Rob and Steve(electric) were on stage for this song. Me and My Uncle was a surprise to everyone upfront and was the sing along of the night. (Almost). Then Bob showed Detroit his acoustic chops soloing on Friend of the Devil to then put down his acoustic and the knocks where clearly heard before the first note of Help! Steve really elevated from this point of the show and Robin was thumping away like crazy as he kicked back almost appearing to be napping in usual SYLVESTER fashion. He was really unbelievable at this part of the show. During slip I caught a photo of Bob yelling with mouth open into Steve’s ear from maybe 3-4 inches away in a playful way. Steves reaction was priceless – also caught on film.(Or digital card – whatever you call stills now adays) The incredibly played slip led into silence before they broke out the first of tour STEPHEN… The crowed erupted with joy, and they really rocked it hard. The post St. Stephen jam was sounding like it was going to do a William Tell bridge thing – but didn’t and came right back into the final part of St. Stephen. The song ended and there was silence till they heard another song, first in tour, Morning Dew. This song was played with respect – paying homage to those in deed. Steve’s tone was fantastic and the piano solo was hard to hear at the rail.
After the Dew a friend of mine who is on the whole tour said he was going to get in line for the soundboard. I said – no way. You can’t go. What if they do ‘Around and Around’ or something? Another blown call on my part (that’s okay, I don’t pay attention to stats before shows anymore….) and thank goodness because they played a few versus of SLIP and went into a Franklins Tower that blew the roof off! The place went absolutely ballistic. The last time I heard Bob actually sing this song electric was way too long ago. (Some bass player feels that the vocals are his to sing here… SHAME) Bobby nailed it and Steve actually went behind his amp and picked up a peddle steel stand up and just absolute went wild. He solo’d three times hard and everyone stage and crowd had to be impressed.
To encore another premier rarity like Revolutiion was a perfect end to the night. What a show. Jeff got Robin and Jay to do the Dobbey Wop Wop’s in the song, that was done during Furthur by those fantastic vocalists over the last 5 years. Bob is so clear, engaged, and is clearly having so much fun – I cant imagine him playing with anyone else to soon. This carnation of RatDog is one for the ages. If you are an old head, or a RatDogger, or a newer Furthur fan – you must get out to see this band. There are still limited tickets available for the rest of this tour and festivals coming sooner than later. I can barely wait till Chicago on Friday to see them from the rail again. Until then May the four winds blow you safely home – or to the next show!