Some of you might remember my brother Bob from the review following the first Boston show during the Summer of 2016. After Mayer sported the gingham geranimals, Bob showed up not only with some gingham but a Yankee dye to boot! If you know Bob at all, chances are you received unexpected mail from him with gifts of tie-dyes he made. He was everything that’s right and amazing about The Grateful Dead Community. He was a giver and a contributor. He was always sowing seeds of love into the lives of others. He commented on my blogs by saying “Fuck You Long Time” or “Fuck You Forever!” Being from NJ, those are terms of endearment and were mutually understood. He passed in his sleep Wednesday night from non drug-related causes and many are mourning his departure. I’ll really miss you, my brother. Seeing you comment “FYLT” always made me smile. I’d like to pretend the band all wore black in honor of Bob in Detroit. It’s always special when those coincidences are perfectly timed. Rock In Peace Bob!
Those that like when I break everyone’s balls won’t like what I have to say about Detroit. Holy Shit, the brothers played the fuck out of everything that came around. You could tell immediately that there was a pop to the music and some pep in every step. There were no cumbersome tempos or sluggish segments to act like you were happy through last night. Mayer hit Twitter beforehand and said It was the kind of night where if he wasn’t booked, he would find a place to play. That was obvious from the minute the band broke into Dancin In Street! Jack Straw didn’t require that lackadaisical intro, it just took flight immediately as it should. It was strong throughout and Weir was in as fine a form as I’ve seen since MSG. Dude has been wearing out that Mini Bar in his hotel room tho… Brown Eyed Women kept the energy super high and it was starting to seem like something special was taking shape. Ramble On Rose was great and Weir was completely on top of the moment. He wasn’t looking lost in the shuffle or stumbling across lyrics, he was looking like the leader of a badass fuckin band! Shit got extra interesting with the debut of Deep Elem Blues! Debuts don’t always have the magic they’re capable of the first time around but that certainly wasn’t the case with Deep Elem. That tune got a facelift, new tits, the whole nine yards! The song was fresh and vibrant, reorganized and totally electrified! It was a perfect choice for this group of players and everybody did the tune justice. I loved Bob, Oteil and John each taking a verse and I’m not sure why that didn’t continue because there was a second verse for each of em, if I’m not mistaken. Regardless, that tune found new life and Mayer and Chimenti crushed it as did everyone else. Beat It On Down The Line returned and found that incredible pass or two that can take place in the middle of any Dead song that the band’s members are playing. It was the manifestation of the total hive mind and the jams were taking twists and turns that weren’t lead by any individual but the forces that power each of them collectively! Waves of power and sonic wizardry ran back and forth on that motherfucker!!! Deep Elem might’ve been the wick in that stick of dynamite! When John wants a piece of musical ass, he heads for Sugaree! That’s the strongest woman in town nowadays and last night wasn’t any different. The cumulative impact of everything that lead up to that moment ensured that it would be a total knockout and indeed it was. The collective celebration of life through music throughout the first set in Detroit was a strong confirmation of why we go to any and all lengths, sacrificing time, effort and treasure to experience what Dead & Company have to offer. I said in my last review that shows aren’t typically known for their first sets and last night Dead & Company said “FUCK YOU BUBBA!”
During intermission, everybody left their seats to go hug friends because they had so much energy to share after being part of that!
When the lights went down for the second set, I hoped the band didn’t get too high on the wrong strain or do anything that might fuck up their vibration. It didn’t take long into New Speedway to realize they were picking up exactly where they left off. The song had the authority that’s required to make it stand up and deliver its intended message. Dark Star was next up and the energy that existed at the core of the song was tightly wound and totally interesting. The jams found their ways into some confusing places but never got too lost in the process. Then Scarlet Fire emerged with that same tightly wound core that was pulsating incredible energy from the inside-> out all night long. Mickey and Bill were one drummer with 4 arms and kept the powerful mother rollin all night long. You could tell when Mickey came out looking like he combed his hair with electricity that shit was gonna get serious last night! Scarlet was played with the musical acrobatics that are inherent within the tune but not always fully expressed. Every part got its due and the transition wasn’t rushed or forced but found its way to the dance by moving unrushed and with incredible flavor. Fire was a perfect way to complete the pre-drums segment since the heat was escalating constantly through the entire show. The end result being Fire was most appropriate!
Coming out of Space, Weir sang the living shit out of the Hard Rain Gonna Fall! He was as good as he’s able to be on that one! It’s kinda funny that he can’t for the life of him get Miracle right but delivered a master class last night on a song with 12,000 different words. It was truly Bob at his very best and he painted an incredible picture as he delivered that one. That brother gets a few high fives in a row for the Hard Rain! Outstanding if ya ask me! The Wheel seems to have lost some of the power that exists within it through most of the song but the changes at the end I like. I’m not sure what seems to be missing from the middle of it but it doesn’t seem as thick in the center as it once was. No big deal, just an observation. It was played as good as Dead & Co have played it and when they’re playing like they were last night, the routine at the end is a lot of fun. When they’re not playing that good it comes across as trying to force something good to happen. Last night they were totally surrendered too the forces that make shit happen! Mayer went full Frankie Valli and I enjoyed every second of it! Then they played Not Fade Away for Bob Munnichi! Sometimes all the dots line up just right whether they’re intentional or not. It was a great way to close out an OUTSTANDING night of music. The jams were infused with passion, power, and purpose and everybody was having musical orgasms simultaneously and in multiples! Casey Jones was a great exclamation point on a night that made a powerful statement!
I haven’t used the word “tight” nearly as much as I’ve seen it thrown around message boards or other people’s reviews but last night it was really evident what happens when Dead & Company reach their stride. The invisible ingredient was abundantly present last night and the music took its twists and turns as a single unit with 6 members all providing the best they’re capable of all at the same time. At the halfway mark of this wild ride, the music to me is finally tightening up and has the snap to it that wakes up your senses and creates this incredible surge of neurological activity. Last put an imprint in my nervous system that I’ll revisit in the future. I hope the momentum continues because last night, we got the nectar!
I’m outta time, Fuck You Forever!
In Loving Memory of Bob Municchi…
Dead To The Core,
Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)
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