Saturday, June 7, 2008

"T'aint the tunes, it's the 'tude" --Robert Hunter

No, there haven't been many GD or related shows added here lately. Eh... I've already added plenty, haven't I? Some people express their gratitude and I appreciate that and to those people I say thank you and you're welcome! But all the others who download without leaving comments -- man, I gotta tell ya, just doesn't do much to encourage someone to keep posting. Whatever. So maybe I'll get around to a show now and again but on a regular basis? I'm not so sure that'll ever start up again. The few who comment make it fun... but the many who don't really ruin it.

But for everyone who digs these tunes and appreciates that they're shared here for you, hopefully you'll like this show. If not then stay tuned, I might get around to something else in a few days.

Robert Hunter

April 30, 2002


House Of Blues

Chicago, Illinois
1st Set
Man Of Constant Sorrow, John Silver, Jack Straw,
Shelter From The Storm, Dry Dusty Road,
Yellow Moon-> Over The Hills, Deal,
Aim At The Heart, Brokedown Palace, Ship Of Fools

2nd Set
Bertha, Keys To The Rain-> La Bamba-> Keys To The Rain,
Tiger Rose, Malagueña Salerosa, It Must Have Been The Roses,
Hill and Gully Run, Mountains of The Moon, Promontory Rider

Into The Blue, Ripple, Boys In The Barroom

from Robert Hunter's Journal, April 30, 2002:
Tonight's show will be a test of sorts (aren't they all?) digging deep into the repertoire bag to provide an all new selection of tunes, other than "Out of the Blue" & my take on "Ripple" without which no show of mine would be complete. Over the years it remains my favorite of my co-creations.

First time I can remember doing three nights in a row at the same place. Six hours of music. Whew! Fingers and voice holding up well due to hard rehearsal since last September. T'aint the tunes, it's the 'tude. Stop on by tonight if you're in town, but give a call first just in case.

When you're having technical issues and the show is supposed to start, what do you do? Why not treat the fans to a couple songs done a capella? Good idea! And why not make one of those two selections something done for the first time ever plus one from wayyy deep down in the bag, something also never done, sort of... something many Hunter fans don't even know, and something even fewer Grateful Dead fans know? Sure, why not!

As Tomie (Hunter's tech guy) gets things readied for a proper start to the show, Robert launches into an a capella version of the traditional folk song Man Of Constant Sorrow. Hmmm, I wonder why he chose this song. In the year prior to this show, the tune became widely known in America all thanks to the very popular film, Oscar-nominated film O Brother, Where Art Thou? starring George Clooney. Plus a few days before this last night at HOB Chicago, the 74th Academy Awards took place and Robert mentions seeing it. Mystery of why solved.

A tremendously rare tune came next with John Silver. Much like Terrapin Station is actually a song within the Terrapin Station suite, John Silver is part of the Eagle Mall suite that Hunter wrote a long, long time ago, in the late 60's he mentions in his book Box of Rain. Hunter broke out Eagle Mall for a very short while in February 1980 and this is perhaps the first time (and maybe the only time?!) John Silver has been "played" on it's own. Due to the technical problem when the first set was to begin, these couple of songs were quite possibly completely impromptu. No matter if they were or not, for devotees of Hunter's entire catalog of music, this is a treat.

In the past, well, specifically in the 1997 Albany show I have listened to, Jack Straw has been a fun quick tune with harmonica added for good measure. Here Robert slows it down and lengthens it, strips away the harmonica and the faster pace, essentially turning it into a ballad. A new arrangement for the song and while I'm not sure which version I like better, it's definitely interesting and according Robert himself, one which he was perfectly pleased with. The following Shelter From The Storm would have made Dylan proud, without a doubt. Just gorgeous and you can really feel Robert putting his whole self into this performance.

Off of Hunter's 1974 debut solo album, Dry Dusty Road picks up the pace and afterwards we get a mention of some guy named Garcia. Not a big story but still it's great to hear Hunter interact with the crowd during much of the show.

By just a hair, Deal was probably the crowd-favorite of the 1st Set while two nice GD ballads closed out the set.

As the second set got underway, Robert must have fully had the ballad theme in his head because Bertha here is not what one usually knows Bertha to be! Normally when this song kicks off a set, the kids they dance and shake their bones and everyone in the house is so happy to be alive!! Here in this house on this night, it's quite a bit different. Some really nice emotion gets poured into it but this is not a dancin' Bertha, this is a Bertha ballad and... pretty interesting.

Tiger Rose picks everyone up and listening really closely one should be able to pick out a little Jerry Garcia in the middle... sort of. Hunter, for just a brief 15 or 20 seconds, does a nice bit of Elizabeth Cotton's Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie.

Unfortunately one guy in the House Of Blues didn't appreciate Robert's song selection as much as, well, probably everyone else. One of his outbursts of "PLAY SOMETHING GOOD" even caused a song --
Malagueña Salerosa -- to come to a grinding halt. His response to the heckler and the crowd's response to Robert's response -- priceless.

There were and are people who don't necessarily (or at all) dig Hunter's music even though they are thoroughly into the Grateful Dead. They love, for the most part, Hunter's words but their opinion is -- Jerry Only, Please. I hate to criticize what people like and dislike when it comes to music but my first reaction is -- that's a shame. To me, there's just something so very special about hearing the songs we love actually played by the man who wrote the words! And then when it comes to Hunter's shows, he, like the Dead, doesn't only play Grateful Dead music alone. He's an artist and while he was the Dead's primary lyricist for so many years, he also felt the desire to add some other stuff to his solo repertoire. Some don't care for all of it, some don't care for some of it... but others truly love the music Robert Hunter plays and they support him and appreciate him... and they sure as hell let that heckler know it!! "Those of you who don't like me, don't come out," Robert said. The crowd noise was unfortunately quite loud but he adds something along the lines of -- "there are plenty of people like what I do" ... and the crowd kept screaming. If that person stayed in the room after that, man, he sure got an earful from people who appreciated Robert being there doing what he loved!

The show finished out just fine after that, with Hunter's take on Mountains Of The Moon and his Promontory Rider being a couple favorites... plus the encores, of course.

Overall a nice show... it doesn't have many incredible highs for me but I can say this -- seeing Robert Hunter, spectacular show or not, is a treat and a half and I would have been so happy to have been there. Three shows in Chicago was something special for him as it's not something he did that often... if ever at all, not even in San Francisco.

from Robert Hunter's Journal, the next day, May 1, 2002:
Last night's gig, 3rd night at HOB, was definitely the capper. The guitar remote didn't see fit to function so I opened with ten minutes or so a capella, Man of Constant Sorrow and John Silver (from Eagle Mall) while O'Neil scrambled to fix it, finally plugging me in with the cord. Followed with about the best feeling Jack Straw I've ever managed, down at a slow crawl tempo which allowed the emotional development of the tune to manifest. Followed that with a "Shelter From the Storm" that had me muckin' through Dylan's murky terrain towards salvation 'til I felt the sting of the driving rain on my face. Then I started pulling stuff out of the old song bag: Tiger Rose, Keys to the Rain, Dry Dusty Road, Yellow Moon, Over the. Hills - on and on. Those songs wanted to be played, had missed me doing them, and they stood up and did tricks for me. I left the stage floating on air right back to the hotel room, hit the sack and was lucky I arranged for a 9 O'clock wake up call to get to the airport in time for a 1:15 flight to Philly.

Airport was a breeze. The lady at the check-in counter recognized my name and I autographed a boarding pass for her. A sweet moment in often forbidding O'Hare.

Thank You, Robert!!!

Source: Neuman KM-140 mics> DAT> WAV> SHN

Sound Quality: music = A+
but in between songs there's loud crowd noise,
and it's sometimes difficult to hear Robert talk

Taper: Tomie O'Neil, Hunter's tech guy


4/30/02 Robert Hunter - House of Blues, Chicago
Part II - Robert Hunter 4/30/02
4/30/02 Robert Hunter - Part Three
4-30-02 aka 04-30-02 aka 4/30/02 aka 04/30/02 aka 02-04-30 download 320 kbps setlist
 Grateful Dead wagon wheel and roses Jerry Garcia, Brent Mydland, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Ron Pigpen McKernan, Brant Grillo, Dave Mohowski, Chris Wicke, Donna Godchaux, Keith Godchaux, Vince Welnick, Tom Constanten, Bruce Hornsby, songs by Bob Dylan


Nazz Nomad said...

heh heh heh.
you said


AussieJohn said...

Wow - more Hunter to listen to!
Thanks for this and it'll be straight in the car stereo!
Many thanks for your efforts again!

Zooomabooma said...

Many thanks for your thanks, Aussiejohn!

Unfortunately this show isn't the hottest... Robert's in much more of a ballad mood in 2002. That's not to say it's bad... just different.

Plus the crowd noise in between songs can be somewhat annoying... but hey, it's all that exists and I'm sure other Hunter stuff I put up (in the future) will be (sound-wise) more like the Albany as well as the Asbury Park shows I've posted.

One of the best things about the show, I think, is one can really feel Robert having a good time with these songs that he loves.

Anonymous said...

Ok, just found your blog, not sure how I did it but I'm loving it. I like the reviews the most. I'll keep looking around and reading.

Thanks for the blog

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

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated