Let's face it The Dead tour of last year was a bit of a snooze fest. I enjoyed the one show I saw but it lacked energy and the transitions were rough. I almost fell asleep during drums/space and I normally really get into the rhythm devils time in the spotlight. But it was great to see all the surviving members play together for perhaps the final time if not a nostalgic trip down memory lane. I figured Ratdog, Phil and Friends and BK3 would suffice in the future.
The Other Ones had too many people on stage with dueling Keyboardists from Phil and Bobby's respective bands. Jimmy Herring was great in Jerry's role on guitar but he doesn't sing. Warren "the hardest working man in rock and roll" Haynes was called on for two tours to fill Jerry's shoes. Some deadheads felt Warren was trying to steal thunder, others felt he overpowered Jerry's chops. I love Government Mule and the Allman Brothers but Warren is a completely different sound then Jerry.
Finally its all come together. This time Phil and Bobby tapped John Kadlecik of Dark Star Orchestra to fill the tall shoes of Jerry Garcia. Close your eyes and listen to the voice and you'll here Jerry's distinctive warble. The rest of the line-up consists of Ratdog's Jeff Chimenti (who actually uses Brent Mydland's old B3 organ) on keyboards, Jay Lane also from Ratdog drums and Joe Russo from Benvenuto Russo duo on drums.
I headed up solo as BFF Kim forgot it was winter break for her youngest and had a weekend in Boston planned before she got sick. I hit the lot at about 4 PM and wandered shakedown street. It was spitting snow and a rather miserable damp day. I did and inventory ala Dr Pauly but failed to get prices. I was recognized by Saratoga Chef Scotty while on lot and enjoyed his Pasta Fagioli with garlic croutons but no one had a garlic grilled cheese for me!!! I bought an awesome new tye-dye from Not Fade Away located in Woodstock NY which will be a subject of another post.
Oh yeah, I went armed with my little Flip Camcorder I purchased that day. After seeing the Olympians sporting them I figured It would be a great way to capture some great live music.
As soon as the doors opened at 5:30 PM i headed in and was able to get right up on the barrier right in front of Phil's mike stand and Jeff's keyboard. Jeff would have his back to me most of the time when on piano but when he switched to the B3 he was looking down on top of me and as I was focussed on him during China Cat Sunflower I got a hair toss and he looked right into the camera!! The coolest thing was being in front of Phil. When he came out I waved and he smiled. And I swear during Unbroken Chain he sang to me and those smiles you will see were for me. Sure I've been right up front before many times but never with a camcorder.
I had cool people around me. A Psychiatrist from Buffalo and his lady friend/wife on my right, and a young group of guys and the girlfriend of one of them on the other side and behind me. After first set they left and were replaced by April and Brian: friends I've never met. A big thank you to April for filling in the only blank on my set list: Magnolia Mountain. I had never heard it but apparently it is a Ryan Adams tune that the Dead performed only when Joan Osbourne was with them and I think Phil and Friends has done.
FURTHUR: Utica Auditorium 2/20/2010
Set 1: Good Morning Little Schoolgirl > Promised Land, Cumberland Blues, Ramble on Rose, Foolish Heart > Reuben and Cherise > Dear Prudence, Satisfaction
Set 2: China Cat Sunflower > The Wheel > I Know You Rider > Magnolia Mountain, Unbroken Chain > Comes A Time > Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad > Touch of Grey, And We Bid You Goodnight E: One More Saturday Night
Lineup: Phil Lesh - bass; Bob Weir - guitar & vocals; Jeff Chimenti - keyboards; John Kadlecik -guitar & vocals; Jay Lane - drums; Joe Russo - drums; Zoe Ellis - vocals; Sunshine (Garcia) Becker - vocals
Notes: The Good Morning Little Schoolgirl is not the raunchy PigPen bluesy version which I prefer but the Ratdog/Bobby version. Bobby sounded really strong on Dear Prudence the one song I wish I had recorded and didnt. He was clearly enjoying himself on Satisfaction. I hadn't heard Foolish Heart in forever and a day. That tune was a constant in my busiest touring year of 1988 along with Victim or the Crime, Touch of Grey and Throwin Stones. I was happy to hear it. My battery ran out of juice 6 minutes into recording Unbroken Chain but the jam at the end was awesome. They nailed it with their instruments (the sound is a little fuzzy). Phil literally looked right into my eyes/lens and I want to think those smiles are for me (about 37 seconds in the first time). April and I blew him kisses at the end. Bobby still had the black t-shirt on he sported last year, plus Man-pris and his trademark birkies. I don't think i ever heard Reuben and Cherise performed by the Grateful Dead. I had named this blog post with lyrics from THE Wheel long before I knew they would play The Wheel. When I looked at the two female backup singers I said that looks like Annabelle Garcia, much to my surprise it is her half-sister Sunshine. Listen to John Kadlecik on Comes A Time/Foolish heart and you hear Jerry. In fact he could be Jerry's cousin.
I saved a young deadhead from face planting. One minute he had his head down texting during intermission the next time I looked he was rocking on his shoes doing the big nod. Twice I had sloppy drunks try to converse with me. I nodded a lot and smiled. One asked me if I was going to go out to the bar on the way out. I have no idea what bar he was talking about, nor did I know him. The nitrous mafia were vending hippie crack right on the sidewalk across from the venue about 20 feet from my car. While on the other side of the road a deadhead was screaming/pleading to deadheads not to buy it. I had more then enough opportunity to 4 wheel drive over several people who stupidly veered in front of my car while taking hits off balloons.
I've uploaded three video's already to you tube of the 5 I can upload to there. The China/Wheel video is 15 minutes long and too long to upload there. I'm irongirl99 on you tube. they can also be viewed at Deadvids.com.
In the old days we chanted: Let Phil Sing. Last night I said Let Phil sing to me and he obligied so I leave you with UNBROKEN CHAIN