I’m not gonna spend too much time on this show because I didn’t think the show warranted too much of my effort. I understand that if you were there with all of your friends partying and dropping acid and sniffing glue, it was the most wonderful thing since the birth of your children. To be perfectly clear, I never appointed myself The Mayor of Grateful Dead & Company Land or anything like that and I’m just another Cat with an opinion. My take on things won’t always match your experience and I get that. I’m glad we have live action to write about and discuss either way.
Thursday’s show had the power to cure ailments associated with the human condition. For one, it could cure insomnia… Following Tuesday’s show at MSG, I couldn’t sleep for several hours thereafter. On Thursday, I had all I could do to just stay up through the first set. Mayer came out wearing a jacket that he stole from a waiter a Chinese restaurant. The highlight of the night was probably the opener. Opinions will vary but I think Dancin In The Street is a super fun way to get things started. Ramble On Rose was ok I guess. That’s when Slow Jimmy became the leader of a parade of boredom. Mama Mia, Broadway Bob rowing his guitar down the river of broken hopes and dreams… I know, I know, it’s your favorite song ever. Friend of The Devil was equally as uninspired and followed by a Minglewood that moved along slower than lines at The Division of Motor Vehicles. Just in case anyone wasn’t completely asleep by then, one of the worst West L.A. Fadeaways in history followed. That poor song… It used to be something… Now it’s like a tired old horse trudging toward the glue factory. Let It Grow helped the set stumble over the finish line.
Tuning for the second made it clear that Dark Star was the choice and the set was off and walking. It’s usually “off and running” but this show never made it past a jog. There was an interesting moment or two in the Dark Star jam but that’s about it. Truckin moved along into Smokestack which was good. Deal is always a winner with Dead & Company and that was probably the highlight of the second set for me. The Eyes of The World were squinted and bloodshot with a few cataracts but the jams found a moment or two of life.
Drums was probably the best part of the show. I was digging the scene Mickey and Bill were creating and had fun watching them mix it up. Space gave the drummers ample time to take a leak and return for Weir’s assassination of Dear Prudence. It’s just not good at all to me. Weir is a vocal anesthesiologist on Dear Prudence. I know, you love it, good for you, start your own blog… Uncle John’s was as flat as the rest of the night but at least Goin Down The Road Feeling Bad was able to wake up those that were sleeping by then. The loudest ovation from the crowd accompanied Oteil’s verse in that one. You could hear the roar through the stream. We all know that Black Toxic Swamp isn’t a favorite of mine either so the encore was a continuation of a night that was uninspired and packed little to no punch throughout.
Interestingly enough, when I look through the message boards I see people associating words like “tight” and “great” associated with the show. I wish I was that easy to please… Just for the sake of conversation, I participated from my couch and a glorious sound system I’ve assembled for live streams. It was great to be able to mix the show myself a little, adding volume to Oteil and being able to hear Mickey much better was an improvement. I was in contact with several people in attendance throughout and thought it was funny that a couple of them were finding it all slow and boring and one of them was texting like he was at Cornell in 77. Before I write reviews, I go back and listen once again. I do this because I realize that if I’m there, the music may seem a little better than it actually was. Tuesday at MSG, it was just as good relistening and some parts were even better. If you were there last night, I’m pretty sure it seemed much better than it was because it wasn’t “great” or “tight”. For those that don’t think you can assess the music unless you’re there, I think the opposite is true. When you’re there, there are so many things that influence your experience. When you’re watching in an extremely focused manner, it’s probably a more accurate way to hear the music. To me, it was as boring and uninspired as this review… I’m glad I didn’t make the effort to get there. Regardless, I still love The Band and all of you Long Time!
I’m sure Boston will ROCK tonight! Catch ya later…