at my friend Charlie's apartment. Old friends and new, spanning 30 years of community and adventure. Many smiles and laughs.
Show started at 7:30ish; house was packed. My friend Carla and I were 3/4 of the way back on the left aisle of the right section of the floor with room for dancing.
John K , in a blue tie-dye with his hair up in a half-ponytail, looked energized and happy from the outset, and the Golden Road opener got the room bopping'.
Viola Lee was well jammed out and up-tempo. The set got off to a more hoppin' start than Friday and the sound, particularly Phil's bass, was clear and strong; the bugs had been worked out the night before.
Minglewood Blues is officially a throwaway song for me now, due to
their unfortunate botched rearrangement of the chord structure. There is no 5 chord on "My number one occupation" so the song lacks the tension and resolution that the ear wants to hear. The energy was fine, but nobody I talk to understands why they have chosen this structure. It's mystifying. Phil plays a repetitive walk down starting not the 1 chord rather than laying into the original 5 chord, and it just sucks the musicality out of the song. That's all I have to say about that.
On to Sittin' on Top of the World, which brought the crowd back to life.
Alice D. Millionaire was played with confidence and gusto. Overall the crowd was in that odd limbo state where most people don't know the tune, so the dancing, cheering and mouthing along with the words was tentative. I continue to enjoy the band's willingness to learn and deliver new songs (to me) with almost every show I have attended. John K in particular was really animated for the first set, and really the whole show.
Cream Puff War was killer. It had a couple of false starts where Bobby flubbed his entrance, and then kept looking to Phil for cues as to how to reenter. The band members really do respond musically to each other, musically, and sometimes through visual cues. I noticed for the first time that Jeff Chimenti has a mirror on top of one of his keyboards so that when he is facing the wrong direction, he can still see the band. Cream Puff War! If the Grateful Dead had played this in their later years, jaws would have dropped. Furthur has really made a great choice in dusting off all these 60's classics. Fantastic. Very psychedelic. At one point between songs I heard John K tease the "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" intro riff, and I continued to call that song the rest of the show, and even tried to call it as part of a double encore with Saturday Night to no avail. That happened at Fairfax too, a Beatles song riff tease that went unfulfilled. Dang you Pranksters! The teases…
Loved the Lovelight set closer. My section was dancin' hard and hearty and singing along; it was a joy fest! The entire show, my section was rich with twirlers, dancers, smilers and singers. I love the Deadhead fervor; it truly is an essential part of the magic. New York energy, baby. This town knows how to party!
Great old school song selection. About an hour long first set.
Despite the excellent sixties song list, overall I have felt that the first sets
have that familiar "warming up" feel that was so characteristic of Grateful Dead first sets. But because of the ripping song choices, we do rock harder in the first set than we did at Grateful Dead shows. Look at that song list! Yowza!
I loved the Playing in the Band opener for set 2, which portended a musical voyage. This is what I crave. The jam itself went places; rhythms changed, tempo changed, musical motifs were introduced, echoed and picked up by the band. Everybody had a voice; I really believed that the group mind was at work here, and I was delighted. Chimenti's keyboards and Russo's drums continue to be just as essential to the evolution of the jam as John, Bobby and Phil. Definitely a group without a definite leader, a conversation that gets interesting! Nice!
Born Cross Eyed. What a great song title! Bobby laid into it with verve, and everybody was off and running. The Dark Star also went places, broke up into a completely different rhythm in mid-jam. Joe Russo continues to make definitive musical decisions that the band follows. He is in a jazz flow, and yet he hits hard. I love to watch him. He takes those sticks and mallets and rolls, flairs, snaps, and kicks his way into the fray. Fun stuff. To me Dark Star works best where we end up in a place where we wonder where we are. Where am I? Whee!
Eclipse was a big hit, and during the second set we were treated to a number of visual tributes to Owsley, including a cool Wall of Sound backdrop that got a big response from the crowd. It lent a fun visual to the picture. There's Furthur playing with the Wall of Sound. I was definitely going back in time, and I appreciated the tribute to this man whose intelligence and creative fire gave so much to the Grateful Dead, and by association, to us! Thanks Owsley.
Mountains of the Moon was very cool. Again, Russo brought the tempo up on it so it was not dirge like, but instead moved through space. I responded emotionally to the lyric "The earth will see you on through this time." When I really listen to the lyrics of some of these beautiful songs, my spirit opens to the beauty and power of this marriage of words and music. What a powerful combination of old folk images with futuristic space themes, ultimately bringing us back to this, our beautiful and fragile home planet. Thanks Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia for this timeless and classic composition, brought alive in the 21st Century for us today by these committed performing artists.
Terrapin Suite, Stella Blue, HelpSlipFranklins all worked for me, particularly Stella Blue. I was so enchanted with the free-form section of set 2 that the more structured 2nd half of the set was somewhat of an anticlimax for me, not so much for its delivery, which was strong, but for the relative predictability. That's more of a compliment to the improvisational section than it is a condemnation of the more structured songs. Terrapin Suite in particular was right on the money, and I continue to appreciate the work the band has done in bringing us the whole suite, and it was indeed sweet. Again, the crowd around me was completely on board as we all sang "Inspiration move me brightly; like the song with sense and color, roll away despair." Amen to that.
I continued to foolishly hope for a dual encore of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds>One More Saturday Night.
What can I say? I'm a crazy dreamer, with no realistic basis for these hopes.
And yet I dream on…
Great post-show gathering with my diverse posse of new and old Deadhead friends at the funkiest bar available "Blue Ruin" (what a great name for a bar)
right near the seedy Port Authority area at 9th ave and 40th st. We entered a practically empty bar with a bored bartender, many of our group adorned with stick on third eyes on their foreheads, fired up the jukebox, jumped into the photo booth for silly pictures, and danced. Long live New York City. By the time we left, the place was packed with regulars and I'm sure the party went on. It always goes on.
One more show tonight. What next?
You dreamed of me..."