Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The String Cheese Incident/Ratdog – 7/2/06 – Red Rocks

I went to this show with my brother Eric, Da_Pickl, and Jenny. The show was a birthday gift to my brother (I almost always take my brother to a show for his birthday (July 4). He never does anything for mine (Sept. 21). He has always bee spoiled like that.) Since he was going for free, I made him drive us in his GMC Starcraft van. I thought we’d go “in style”.

"Eric's van looks like this"

"Da_Pickl, Some Idiot, and My Brother"

We got up there early and parked in the upper north lot. Since we had reserved seats, we decided to bust out the washers game while we consumed the growlers of IPA that Da_Pickl picked up from CB Potts.

After a few good washers games with our neighbors (good as in they won them all and I was drinking beer) we strolled up to the gate. By this time Da_Pickl’s brother-in-law Chris, his brother-in-law’s brother Kevin, and his brother-in-law’s dad Chuck showed up. We actually had to wait for Chuck to give out tickets to the people parked in the handicapped spaces at the top of Red Rocks. He even gave one to a cop car. Chuck has balls!

My brother was at the show for Ratdog. so he asked me what a String Cheese show was like. So I told him about the hula-hoops, the flying glowsticks (the ratio of flying glowsticks to audience members is 97-1) and the costumed people. At about this time, these people came along:

As we were waiting for the show, this woman Debra and her friend came along sat down next to us. She said she didn’t know much about the band (she didn’t specify which one) and asked me to let her know the songs. When Playin’ In the Band came on, I dutifully told her the name of the song. She said she knew that one. Then something hit her: “Wait a minute, this is String Cheese Incident, isn’t it?” After I told her it was Ratdog, she was a bit embarrassed. She was there to see RD, after all. She was short, and maybe had bad eyes. Or she thought SCI opened. I don’t know.

When Playin’ came on, my brother said immediately that they were going to bookend the show with it. The went into a delightful New Speedway Boogie (a surprise for me) and followed with a sweet Big Boss Man. Tennessee Jed and Corrina followed. Then came the snores: Even So, October Queen (with the SCI “freaks” marching around the stage) and The Deep End. The Wheel was alright, and we saw a rare drum segment with Jason Hann and Michael Travis from String Cheese playing those bongo-style drums that you play between your legs (someone please tell me the name of those drums.) Knocking on Heaven’s Door and Playin’ finished out the set (or so I thought.) As soon as Playin’ ended the drums went crazy and they went into Samson. What a great song to end the set! My brother was ecstatic. He had never seen a Samson before.

Then, after a group meeting backstage, the band came out and all of them got in fromt of microphones except the drummer (who just stood there.) They weren’t picking up their instruments. I said to Da_Pickl, “Oh no! What is bobby doing?” He looked as worried as I did. The band began to sing Attics of My Life a capella. We were all amazed how good it sounded. It was nice, slow, and they did an awesome job! Kudos to Bobby!

"Tiny Ratdog"

Jam > Playin in the Band > New Speedway Boogie, Big Boss Man* > Tennessee Jed, Corrina@, Even So > October Queen+ > The Deep End > The Wheel > Stuff#, Knockin on Heaven's Door > Playin in the Band (reprise) > Samson and Delilah%
E: Attics of My Life&
*-w/ Boots (harmonica); +-w/ a "freak parade"; #-w/ Michael Travis and Jason Hann (percussion); %-w/ Kyle Hollingsworth (keys); &-a capella; Stuff - Jeff/Kenny/Robin/MK/Jay > Jay/Travis/Jason; All of RatDog sat in with SCI on "GDTRFB"
(with String Cheese Incident [SCI closed] and Taj Mahal)

At halftime we were just sitting there enjoying the atmosphere and watching the black storms that were rolling out over Denver and the plains (we never got more than a sprinkle. Da_Pickl’s neighborhood got 3 inches of rain.) when I noticed this chick with a stack of CDs walking in front of me. Suddenly, there was our scalper buddy Jerry shaking my hand. The CD girl was Jen, his wife. The thing about Jerry is he always finds us. He founds us at the Reunion shows in Alpine Valley, he found us at Vegoose, and he finds us all the time at Denver shows. We never know what shows he is going to, so we don’t know if we are going to see him. In this case he was going down the row to visit a friend of his. He told me he didn’t return my call about the show because, “I knew I would run into you.” He gave me one of the shows that Jen was carrying and I got a nice big hug from her (she is such a sweetie – Jerry, you don’t deserve her!)

String Cheese were their usual good selves. It seems like I ALWAYS get a “Sittin’ On Top of The World.”

Taj Mahal (who opened and did an awesome set – my brother got a kick out of Taj’s “Wolfman Jack” voice. ) came out and joined in on “Mailbox Blues” and “The Ballad of Stagger Lee”. Stagger Lee was nice - real nice (and apparently one of the few versions that Taj has done – see here for the list of bands. See here for some history.) I was only familiar with Robert Hunter’s telling of the story. I didn’t realize that there was a true legend and that many, many bands have told the story (I know I have heard The Clash’s telling .)

They closed the first set with Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Shining Star”. The “freaks” were behind the percussion setup hiding and flashing cards every time the lyrics
“You’re a shining star, no matter who you are
Shining bright to see what you can truly be”
came about.

The second set opened with what Da_Pickl dubbed as “CheeseDog”. All of Ratdog was out there with SCI playing “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad”. It was really cool. They kept repeating lyrics – dragging it out – and jamming in between. VERY NICE!

After that, it got dark, and the glowsticks went nuts. Plus, the “freaks” began a dance-about on the old concession stands at the side of the amphitheatre under black lights. (I wish I had pictures – my camera sucks for dark pictures.) We had to leave early because Da_Pickl’s back was hurtin’ him bad, and a couple of us had to work in the morning (Sunday show). It is actually a good thing we did, because it began to rain hard as we hit the car.

Here is the setlist:

Set I: Outside Inside> Best Feeling> Sittin' On Top Of The World, Mailbox Blues1, Ballad of Stagger Lee1, Piece Of Mine, Black and White2, Search2, Shining Star2
Set II: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad3, It Is What It Is, Sometimes A River, Smile, Eye Know Why2, Rivertrance
Encore: Tamba2, Black Clouds

1 w/ Taj Mahal
2 w/ Panjea horns (trumpet & saxophone)
3 w/Ratdog

My brother had a good time, and I am glad for that.

(Sorry this is late. I bought a car the next day, plus I have a new boss at work who is keeping me working hard to impress his boss and told me I couldn’t use my MacBook Pro at work anymore. Not really an excuse that is valid, but part of the reason. Don’t ask me why my Moe. review is even more late.)

(P.S. – Da_Pickl has been hurtin’ these past three shows (Moe., WSP, and SCI/Ratdog) – and I am not talking his back. He is trying to get a job in FLA and has had to fore-go his and Pauly’s favorite green hobby before his interview. He is there now, and hopefully he will have an answer either way before the ABB/Mule shows on Labor Day Weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Widespread Panic Wiltern Saturday Setlist

7.1.06 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Set 1: Surprise Valley > Ride Me High, Crazy, Weight of the World, Let It Rock > Radio Child > Greta > Flat Foot Flewzy > Love Tractor

Set 2: Second Skin > Thin Air, Baby Let Me Follow You Down > Driving Song > Smokestack Lightning > Drums > Driving Song > Give, A of D** > Visiting Day** > B of D** > Chilly Water**

Encore: Dream Song > Ain't Life Grand

** with Sam Holt on Guitar
I was fortunate to see two smokin' back-to-back Panic shows in L.A. of all places. I wished they played this good at Red Rocks. They had their moments last weekend, but they had their shit together for the Wiltern shows.

The first set was one of the better Panic first sets I had seen in a while. The version of Give was one of the better ones that I had seen.

I got drenched with (what I hope was) a full beer during Chilly Water.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Widespread Panic in L.A. Friday Setlist

6.30.06 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Set 1: Disco > Papa Legbra > Goodpeople > When The Clowns Come Home, Rebirtha > C. Brown, Dyin' Man > Holden Oversoul > Doreatha > None of Us Are Free

Set 2: Lawyers, Guns, And Money > Diner > Stop Breakin' Down Blues > I'm Not Alone > Tie Your Shoes > Drums** > Junior > Pilgrims > Climb To Safety

Encore: Trouble > One Arm Steve

** with Matt Abts on percussion
Here's my mini-review...

Change100 found a great parking spot one block from the Wiltern Theatre. The crowd was late to show up and we wandered up pretty close. We could have chosen a spot that was the equivalent of fourth or fifth row, but those areas are always super crowded in general admission shows. We found some space a little farther back from the front of the stage.

I never saw a concert at the Wiltern before. Capacity is about 4,000 with a balcony. The entire floor is general admission. The Wiltern reminded me a little bit of the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. The crowd was an interesting mix. Most of the cool trendy music industry types were across town at the Greek Theatre seeing Radiohead. The rest of the crowd was peppered with California hippies, Southern transplants, and a decent amount of heads on tour including a handful of wookies. A couple of chicks that drove up from Orange County were nearby us. We suspected that someone gave them the tickets.

The band started out slow. Although Disco is a rockin' tune and Papa Legbra is a fan favorite, the crowd didn't start grooving until the third tune. Goodpeople > Clowns Come Home are two of the few songs off of Earth to America that I actually like. John Keane continued his run with Panic playing both guitar and pedal steel.

The band fed off the crowd for the remainder of the set as George McConnell stepped up with some magnificent guitar playing. JoJo and George were the MVPs of the first set. We had a great spot and were in the center about 20 people back. Plus the show was indoors so the sound was crisper and clearer that an outdoor venue. I could keep my eye on George and pay more attention to his playing. After seeing him hold his own with Trey at Vegoose last year, I developed a new-found respect for George's playing. Rumors have been circulating whether or not he'll be with the band in the future. Regardless of what you've heard, George brought his best shit to Hollyweird. He and JoJo carried the band during the first set.

Rebirtha > C. Brown were the highlights of the entire show. George also sang on Doreatha.

The boys opened up Set 2 with a rare cover of Warren Zevon's Lawyers, Guns, and Money. The crowd recognized that they were getting a treat. Diner had everyone singing along. The jam out into Stop Breakin' was dark and as Daddy would explain, "Pure sickness."

One of the things I love about Panic is that at any given moment, they can take a sharp turn and take you to a very dark place. Matt Abts sat in during drums and I particularly dug the bass and drums jam with Dave Schools. I dunno if I was really wasted at Red Rocks or that he was drowned out by three guitars onstage, but the Joker commented that he barely heard Schools during the Colorado shows last weekend. During the second set Schools and JB stepped up.

The intensity picked up during the final three songs of the set. Junior > Pilgrims > Climb To Safety is an example on how you close out a set. I called Climb to Safety. Actually I had been calling it the last three shows I saw. It seemed obvious to me that they were going to bust out the crowd favorite.

The night before, American Idol Taylor Hicks came out and played harmonica. I expected a Clay Aiken sighting and didn't get one. Although I'm not a fan of Trouble, I freakin' love hearing One Arm Steve. The boys closed the show with that one. I wish I saw that set at Red Rocks.

I left the Wiltern extremely impressed. It's a cool place to see a show even though he drinks are pricey and on par with NYC prices. I dropped $17 on a water and two beers.

The Red Rocks shows were average and they're playing and song selection inconsistent. Since they were at Red Rocks, the shows were special and they could get away with not putting out their best efforts.

Alas, Panic showed up in sunbaked Hollyweird ready to show the West Coast that they can still bring it.