Wednesday, October 3, 2007

On The Trail With Bob's Dog

+ = A Great Hike!

_· Hiking Time --- 1 hour 44 minutes

__· Temperature -- 37ºF (3ºC)

· Trail Time in October -- 2 hours 35 minutes

· Weight Loss Goal -- 24 pounds (11 kg)
· So Far -- 1 lb. (1/2 kg)

Brrrrrrrrr, holy cow, you've got to be kidding me!!!! A whole bunch of hours ago I headed out for another short hike down the trail. 37 degrees was just about down to freezing but the wind she was a blowin' and a howlin'. Okay, there weren't any hurricane force winds but a constant light wind maybe 5 to 10 mph with no letup, and no sun, that just about froze me to death, to death I tell you! Okay, not really. But, dude, I've gotta start carrying a day hiking pack for late afternoon hikes like this, even just a few miles from my house. As the last light faded from the sky and my house was just a few football fields away (American or real) ... even after all the exercise of flyin' down the trail and back over the course of around 6 miles or so, I was seriously like an icicle, like Frosty the Freakin' Snowman, I tell ya! Wind, I swear, had frozen my ears, nose, cheeks, chin, forehead and hands. Interestingly, my bare legs in shorts were just fine. Shorts? It ain't snowin' so the stubborn surfer in me is probably secretly longing for warm summer nights and a nice wave to ride each day. Yeah, I am nuts. Maybe not clinically...

In any case, a beautiful hike overall when I look back on it now that I've wolfed down dinner and kicked back with my first hot chocolate of the season. Just felt right tonight. This is winter, not really central Alaskan winter yet but it's the winter much of America feels in mid-January so this is like sub-winter. I wanna elaborate but tis so much more to go into. Yada yada yada, on with the show!

Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman, Matt Kelly, normally Jay Lane, Vince Welnick, Warfield Theater or Warfield Theatre if you wish, Market Street, San Fran, CA.  Less than a month after the death of Jerry Garcia.  The Grateful Dead was no more, but Bobby carried on.  They sang a Bob Dylan song.  And a song by The Beatles.  Paul McCartney I do believe wrote Blackbird.  Possibly John Lennon, too. I'm not sure anything on this night was written by Robert Hunter.  John Perry Barlow maybe.
Ratdog Revue -- 9/1/95

The Warfield
San Francisco, California

Bombs Away Take Me To The River,
, KC Moan, City Girls Fever
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
This Time Forever
Shade Of Grey
The Winners
Easy To Slip
, Drums & Bass Bass
Easy Answers
, Josephine

It's All Too Much
Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Vince's first show.
* First Time Played; # with Henry Kaiser on guitar
(Prairie Prince sat in for Jay Lane on drums)

Once upon a time, Bob's band seemed to have a bit of an identity crisis. Not really so much, but the word "Revue" was added onto the name for several early shows before it once and for all got narrowed down to just Ratdog. In any case...

"Fun show" I wish I could say. Not quite. I knew I wanted to listen to some prehistoric Ratdog, some vintage '95. This date I chose 'cause it's one I've never heard before. While I was imagining the music alone, I did not think too much about the show's date, or more appropriately, when the date is.

In between the Dead's Summer and what should've been Fall Tour, Bobby's back home again in the Bay Area after finishing up his little side-project Ratdog tour on the East Coast. A two-night Warfield stand had already been scheduled... and so this would be... the very first show after Jerry.

Since the funeral and memorial a few months earlier, Bob went back out and wrapped up 7 shows. Not for a second can I imagine that was easy for the Bobster. And I don't have the feeling that it was easy on this night, as well. Why not? He'd already gotten back out there. Why not? First show on the West Coast and where's it takin' place? Right in Jerry's Warfield.

Right off the bat Bombs Away seemed kinda flat to me. It was good but the energy level was just not as cranked as it could've been. Take Me To The River on the otherhand, seemed to have the band really getting in the groove. The crowd fully appreciated that, a song several had heard this year already from Bob when the Dead busted it out on Spring Tour in Memphis. Maybe it was the tune, maybe it was because the show had a short break at the end of the song and the fans could let Bobby know they appreciated him takin' the stage that night to give them some of what they've been missing. No, this isn't the Dead. Not at all. But it's Bobby carrying on.

A few acoustic numbers later and it was time for another "Dead" song -- Dylan's When I Paint My Masterpiece. Because of its frequency in the GD rotation (they sure did adopt it, didn't they?!) it might as well be one of the Dead's very own. Okay, it's not really but it's so loved and the crowd so loved it on this night. Listening to this I felt there was an immense bond between the folks at the Warfield and this song in particular. That could only do with missing Jerry. The Dead was no more. Jerry's departure was just way too damn soon and way too damn sudden so hearing Masterpiece was some sort of connection to that which has left us. And within Masterpiece is the line, "Everything's gonna be different." That's actually just the first half of the line and while it finishes up with, "when I paint my masterpiece," if you take just the first part alone, and many did on this night, it's an example of lyrics kinda sorta taking on some new meaning in this time of mourning that everyone, Bobby included, was still going through.

Another lyrically difficult moment or two comes in Easy To Slip -- "Well the whole world seems so cold today. All the magic's gone away. And our time together melts away. Like a sad melody I play." Heartbreaking almost. These same lines that Bobby's sung for years are now no longer just the same as they always were. The fans recognize it. They even cheer those lines which to me has got to be a nod to Jerry, a nod to Bobby for singing that which is now about Jerry, a toast to Jerry's life and yeah, we know He's Gone, and Bob, thanks for playing this music and carrying inside of you and giving to us the spirit of your dear friend, that man we never knew but loved so much. Easy To Slip may never have been in the GD rotation but it all comes back to Bobby just bein' up there and just playing in a band to bring music to the Deadheads. Damn, this is not easy to type about.

Like I said, I wish this was just a fun show... but it's deeper than that and another telling moment comes during Rob's bass solo. Yet again he goes into some song which I can't place my finger on the name of but he's been doing that in Bob & Rob shows for years. In any case, he goes from that to Satisfaction (which the crowd totally digs) and then comes the moment -- Amazing Grace. The crowd cheers to give thanks to Rob for honoring Jerry... and then it gets really quiet in the theater, so quiet you could hear a roach clip drop. The collective sadness and reflection at that moment must have been so immense. It's so brief but lasts an eternity erupting into applause at the end. Again, Thanks, Rob.

Cheezy... I mean, Easy Answers rolls out of the bass solo. I've gotta say that this tune has seemingly found new life post-GD as a Ratdog standard. The band comes rollin' out strong here. Earlier, near the end of Easy To Slip, hey were groovin' away in such a beautiful almost Dead-like jam, the best moment of the night musically... but it was wayyyyyy too short as Bobby stepped up to the mic and wrapped it up wayyyyyy too soon. Uuuuuuuugh!!! Nooooooo!!!! If you imagine what was there as a block of time, that could've so easily been doubled or multiplied times 3 or 4 times to really jam out the song. Not for awhile to come, though. This night wasn't really about jamming away. There was a lot more goin' on here that just puttin' on a sweet show.

This night was about carrying on and Bobby made that clear during the opening of the set's final song, Josephine. Up to the mic he stepped: "I wanna thank y'all for comin' here tonight. First time for everything." Sure, there've been Ratdog shows since that horrible day... but this show was the first back in SF and he knew it loud and clear.

By this time so close to end of the show, I'm sure most of the jitters had been gone, if there were any there at all. I can't imagine for a second this was a show Bobby was actually looking forward to playing. But it had to be done. And they got it done and so did Vince Welnick making his Ratdog debut. He wasn't very loud in the mix all night long, unfortunately. There were a few moments he shined and during Josephine, Bobby kinda sorta introduced him, not that Vince needed introducing but Bob verbally threw it to him and Vince lit into Josephine so perfectly. Ahh, gorgeous!

The first encore featured Vince on vocals with George Harrison's It's All Too Much (which was broken out on Spring Tour earlier in the year. Nice to see it returning here.) For this song, the band, with guest Henry Kaiser, was just so on, sounding fuller than at any other time of the show, possibly with the exception of that jam in Easy To Slip. But even then, no Kaiser.

A second encore immediately follows It's All Too Much and once again it brought the crowd to a place no one wanted to be. Knockin' On Heaven's Door, as I wrap up listening to this show for the third time in just a day and a half, is, for the third time, bringing some tears to my eyes. Like with Amazing Grace, the theater falls silent at times. It's so intense... and it's so sad. One dude cries out to Jerry, something inaudible at first, then the second and third times it's just a yell and then just a "Jerr-ryyyyyyyyy."

Just another early Ratdog show? Hardly.

Sound Quality: at first, I thought
this wasn't gonna be a very good Audience recording...
but it either got better or I turned it up and it was fine.

Wish I knew the name of the taper because I'd say -- Thanks!

9/1/95 is @
for Listening & Downloading...
so enjoy one today!

BGP127 BGP-127 Bill Graham Presents poster


GUYK said...

37F ???above zero? Gotdam. I reckon it is global warming after all. When I lived in the bush off Badger Road back in the early 80s by this time of year it was below zero damn near every day..Halloween of 1982 it was about 30 below..yeah we had a big Halloween party and no problems cooling down the beer

Wil said...

You've been weinerized, hanging about all summer in the NC mugginess, when you weren't hiding behind the A/C.

Grow some hair on your face. That'll warm you up! ;)

Seriously, you are right. Backpack, water, and a windsuit are in order. Plus something to make a quickie cast from -- just because.

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated