Baseball & The Dead. Opening Day at Wrigley for the Cubs and tonight is the Mets home opener at their new Taxpayer Field. This is a good time of year!
And, oh yeah, The Dead kicked off their tour last night in Greensboro, North Carolina. Lots of excitement out there, I think. I'm not goin'... unless anyone wants to fly me somewhere and give me a ticket... but I am gonna enjoy the recordings from the Internet Archive. Maybe, after Ratdog plays this summer, they'll have a Fall Tour. I wouldn't count on it, I wouldn't even bet 5 bucks on it. But maybe and perhaps then I'll get to see a show or two.
But hey, wanna take a look at a few more pics from Night 1? Go here.
The Music Never Stopped, 2009 -- Volume 38
It ain't exactly gorgeous weather in Chicago for baseball but Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, a.k.a. Mr. Cub, used to love the game so much, he's known for saying, "Let's play two!" Nowadays he might want to rest a little on the cold, rainy days but cold, rainy days are great for music, eh? So, kinda sorta to go along with baseball's Second Opening Day, a musical doubleheader is what I had in mind... but I got tied up in this and that so I'm hopin' to "play two" tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Part 1 of what was going to be today's doubleheader is what you get today. A couple weeks ago or so, a new commenter came around these parts of the intertubes -- Dogstarz -- and he commented on my Bruce Hornsby 4-12-96 post. That was from way back when I was barely immersing myself in the world of mp3 and there was no download for the show... sort of. I had listened to and downloaded it courtesy of the Sugarmegs website which featured shows for downloading but only in one long .wma file. How lame. Kinda lame. I mean, they sounded just fine, I enjoyed a bunch of shows that way and took up very little space: a whole show might be only like 40 MB or something like that.
Anyway, Dogstarzeseses comment reminded me of my desire to get a copy of that show because A) it's sooooooo good B) it's important in the history of the post-Grateful Dead years and C) I wanna be able to share it with whoever's interested!
SO... thanks, Dogstarz, for gettin' me thinkin' of this one again! I know you have it but for anyone else interested, here ya go!
|from my original post:|
Bruce Hornsby 4-12-96
** with Bob Weir & Phil Lesh **
(Shortnin' Bread)-» Spider Fingers-» (Tighten Up)-»
(First There Is A Mountain), White-Wheeled Limousine,
Tango King, Talk Of The Town-» (So What), Hot House Ball,
Stranded On Easy Street, Every Little Kiss,
Rainbow's Cadillac-» (Walk on the Wild Side)-» (Shaft Theme),
Cruise Control, China Doll-» Pastures Of Plenty,
Down The Road Tonight-» The Valley Road-» (Breezin'),
Sugaree, On The Western Skyline-»
When I Paint My Masterpiece, Jack Straw,
Truckin'-» Turn On Your Lovelight-» Not Fade Away
Encore: The Weight
First thing to say is -- holy crap and glory hallelujah! If certain places on this planet could be labeled as Heaven On Earth, the Fillmore on this night over 11 years ago 5,000% most definitely qualified!! Same deal right here tonight in 2007. Did I say holy crap yet?
It wasn't very far into Spider Fingers before knowing it was time to dance! The ensemble on stage is so tight and so blistering at times. At over 10 minutes, that was one heckuva way to start the show! Bruce didn't know how hot the Fillmore can get and he had to do a shirt change before the next song. (Actually wasn't for a couple years after this when I was first there but I remember sweatin' my ass off for Ratdog and Phil & Friends.) I imagine the backstage crew even set up an electric fan or two for Bruce to stay cool.
The show beautifully meandered on from there. I am no expertise on the catalog of music from this other Bruuuuuce, but in this Deadhead's ears, he played some fun music and outright jazzy and jamming at times. Without Jerry on guitar throughout Pastures Of Plenty, Bruce seemed to be channeling his dearly departed friend for a little inspiration to make the song flow here and there like any great Dead jam does. Outstanding! The same can almost be said for The Valley Road... while Jerry didn't originally played on that sort of early Hornsby tune, Bruce in this era of musicmaking surely could extend that basic song into a 10 or 12 minute jammed out crowd pleaser. It could've ended the show it was so great!
But this night wasn't over yet! Haha... far from it!
Bruce starts up Sugaree and is playing it gorgeously, a great tribute to Jerry and midway through out walks a special guest, a close and dear friend, one Mr. Bob Weir. What a freakin' moment! The crowd wouldn't shut up, they couldn't quite down, not only was Bobby jamming Sugaree with Bruce, the song was hitting an incredible fevered pitch just moments after he came out.
And here I am listening to this show for the second time in the past 48 hours and I'm not embarrassed to say, there are tears in my eyes as Sugaree comes to end. Why? Contextualize this, okay... Jerry had died the summer before, just 9 months ago. Here in San Francisco, at the Fillmore, is Bobby on stage with Bruce, his former bandmate, playing together for the very first time since the Dead were in D.C. at RFK on June 24th, I believe, a couple weeks before Jerry's last show. This is a darn great moment.
Bruce's On The Western Skyline came next. The Dead never played this one and I wish after Sugaree they'd done another GD tune here but eh, with Hornsby on accordion and Bobby adding some interesting lead guitar (in his own style,) it wasn't bad. Masterpiece with Bruce on vocals was interesting. But it wasn't long before he got Bobby to take over the singing and he obliged. The song had almost a Cajun feel to it and wasn't quite at the same speed and rhythm Bobby was used to with the Dead and continuing with Ratdog, but the professional musician he is, twas not a problem.
Two numbers with the accordion was enough and with Bruce back on piano the band started up a familiar tune -- Jack Straw. It would be almost two years before Bobby busted this one out Ratdog style so this was the first time since last summer for him. This version of Hornsby's band had no guitar player so again it was quite interesting hearing Bobby on guitar. He knew all his rhythm parts but he tried to fill in some lead as well. No, he wasn't trying to be Jerry or to take the place of Jerry or anything like that, just doin' his own thing. And the end result -- they smoked it! I got up, I danced my ass off like I hadn't since Spider Fingers and yeah, again some tears. This was great... and bittersweet, too.
What a great way to end the show! But wait, there's more!
"Ladies and Gentlemen -- Phil Lesh." Okay, well, I knew it was coming but really, this night gets better?! Just hearing him warm up that bass of his was awesome in itself! And the song they launched into is one of the most popular Dead songs ever, but could it get any better than this? After Jerry, probably not. So this was amazing! Seriously, Bobby, you can play lead guitar that well?! HOLY CRAP!!! No way. Way! No, he's not Clapton or Hendrix or even Garcia up there but for a few moments he shines like Garcia never needed to exist. BLASPHEMY and yes, I'm just kidding! Anyway, when the Furthur Festival rolls around a couple months after this show, Bobby does Truckin' a good handful of times during the Encore Jam at the end of the show but like Jack Straw, this is the first time post-GD. What a long strange trip it's been indeed but the music lives even if Jerry's gone. The wound is still fresh, and even if many Deadheads thought it was over, these guys clearly wanna keep the music alive.
And that theme just keeps going with the next songs. Both Lovelight and NFA are tunes, yet again, not played since the previous summer. Freakin' sweet. I'm really now at a lack of words because these three guys jamming NFA is just delicious, awesome, great, groovy, splendid, bitchin', gnarly, kick-ass, Heavenly. Phil's rockin' that bass and Bobby not just bein' Bobby but the guitar he adds is, well, it's just interesting and I've gotta use that word once more -- bittersweet. It's very cool what he adds but it's where something's missing. Still while there's sadness there's also the joy of this music being played. Bruce, Bobby & Phil -- reunited and it sounds so good!!
The Weight for the encore is just the perfect capper. Not a Dead song but a much-loved GD encore for many years. It gives all three guys a chance to be heard singing and for them to join together for the last verse just like they have many times before. As it comes to and end I've got tears in my eyes again.
It was a monster blowout of a Bruce Hornsby show at just over 2½ hours. The last almost 1 hour was a seminal moment in this post-Jerry age. For the first time since the days of Jerry's funeral and memorial, these three guys got together and made some great music on this night in San Francisco. There's no doubt that the crowd at the Fillmore left that place as exhilarated as I feel now. If life was about music then this would be king and my world would be nothing less than incredible. Above the greatness that spilled forth and filled me with all sorts of tingly good feeling, one other word needs to be said and related to the music I just experienced... and that word to describe what this night musically really was, and is -- special.
Bruce, Bobby & Phil -- Thank You, for a real good time!