So now you have been to a Furthur Concert. What did you think? How was the scene? How was the music? Would you like to see more? What was your favorite part? What would make it better? Did it help fill the void? Address these or any other issues you find relevant. (Posted 6/29/96)
6/22 Blockbuster Pavilion, Charlotte, NC - Stacy Beard (email@example.com)
It looks as though the setlists have changed quite a bit throughout the summer. I guess seeing only the second show may have been a disadvantage. The highlight for me was Hornsby. Nothing else all day could touch the "Jack Straw" he and Bobby did. The crowd went nuts- finally some sort of fix for that jones... Rat Dog was pretty much the same as the last two times I saw them, but I guess it was still just Weir/Wasserman back then. Same tunes. Good, but not as energetic as I would like. The addition of keyboards will help. Lots of people seem to be dogging Mystery Box, but it was great to see Mickey out front, enjoying himself.
And wasn't it just the best feeling to drive into the lot after a year of thinking you'd never be back?
6/26 Nissan Pavilion Bristow, VA - JONATHAN HART (9999999@mcimail)
We walked in to the opening strains of Walkin' Blues from Hot Tuna... My buddy Joel had been to the previous two shows and missed Tuna both times so he insisted we rush inside. I didn't complain. Jorma and Jack sounded great as ever, though I admit to being suprised at their early slot in the line-up. They successfully (sp) warmed us up and the show got rolling. Los Lobos (whom I, like most of the audience, had never seen before) ruled! They lived up fully to my expectations and exceeded them even, when amid their own material which sizzled they threw in a rockin' Evangeline, a smoking Lovelight(!) and closed with a raging Bertha!! They might not be Jerry and Co. but they make this song soar the way it's supposed to. Alvin Hart seemed dwarfed on the stage despite being a large dude, but his slide and his voice filled the joint. Don't be caught looking at the vending sites during his set. I fact, it was hard to tear ourselves from our seats (beside the SBD) during much of the show. The Karamazov Bros. were awesome. Comedy, juggling, and music (sort of) rolled into one. Great stoner humor, though it was a bit hard to hear all of their jokes and the people on the lawn were pretty much out of luck as far as that went (doubt they noticed though).
Bruce lit the stage on fire and it did not cool down until the lights came up after the jam. His band is quite hot, and tight! Then there was Mystery Box. Fatty! I have always loved drums and though Mickey's on stage presence made me giggle when he came out from behind the drums,I liked it quite a bit. Mickey reminds me of a nervous rapper when he does his vocals but he'll get used to it and so will we. Besides, the band rules and those chicks can sing (they're cute too!).
There has been too much Bobby bashing lately and this tour should end it (I hope). We saw Rat Dog last August in Wash. DC about a week after Jerry passed away. The show was quite emotional for everyone and I couldn't make a good critical analysis of the show. This time we were back together (now with excellent addition Johnnie Johnson on piano) and it smoked! I admit to wanting to hear Jerry's lead on Rider but that's not Bobby's fault and it's not like he could replace him. Rat Dog, on the whole was excellent, and I suspect that this band will continue to grow in strength.
Then there was the JAM!!! All I can say is Low Spark of High Heeled Boys... and Around & Around with Jorma!!!! WOW!!!!] Megan was pregnant and the Baby boogied so much, that the next night she boogied on into this world, as a beautiful 7lb, 1oz girl. Her name is Althea Eliza Hart. What A WEEK!!!
Peace and Love. Jonathan Hart
6/28 Deer Creek Music Center, Noblesville, IN - Brett Heald (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When I first purchased my ticket to further my hopes were high. I was looking foward to seeing Bob and company in hopes too fill the void that this deadless summer had left in my heart..the closer it came to the day of the show the lower my expectations became. Then my brother called to tell me about the Virginia Beach show..and my hopes were raised once again, he had nothing but good things to say. The scene was definatly good, well compared to nothing at all. thanks to road construction, getting detoured in the parking lot by vendors and seeing some old friends I managed to miss most of Tuna..what I heard was real good though. The flying karamazov brothers provided a nice change of pace between groups.los lobos was next..maybe my memmory gets aliitle fuzzy during this part of the show, but I do remember is some good stuff.Bruce was next and I was really looking foward to seeing him again..well as I said my memmory is a little fuzzy...well somewere in there I got a little confused and I tried to listen to the music .... but it didn't help much. The music just never reached the great peaks that I had become used to and had been hoping for at shows.. I still had a pretty good time.. Brett Heald email@example.com
6/29 Alpine Valley, E. Troy, WI - Fritz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Went up a day early and camped at Bong Recreational Area which was just wonderful. Very mellow scene, no uptight park ranger action. Headed into the lot and was shocked at not having to pay the usual $5-10. Parked, got out and instantly heard the familiar hiss and watched a reall big line form instantly. Ah, well, the more things change... Anyway it was amazingly hot so we didn't eat quite as much of our special chocolate chip cookies as we'd planned, and quickly ran out of water. Since it was getting close to 3 we decided to head in and fill up there. We found out that the gates were not open yet and the whole show was going to be moved back an hour. First bummer, but what can you do.
Once inside we got a sweet spot in the center of the front part of the lawn. I hadn't been back to Alpine since 89 and it seemed like I wasn't alone. It was a bit like Old Home Week, with lots of old bikers and plenty of families with kids in tow, something that I hadn't seen in a while. Overall the whole scene was very relaxed and friendly and uncrowded, but REALLY FUCKIN HOT!!!
Tuna finally came out and the show started up. Having Cassady there really filled out the sound of the Jorma Kaukonen Band who I'd seen a few months earlier. I'm a long time Tuna fan, but some of the newer material just left me cold. Overall though, they were good and tight, and played too short. I was pretty bummed when I heard they had started pulling acoustic sets out later in the tour.
I missed JWH set while waiting in line for the water fountain, using the bathroom, and checking out the "CyberTent". It was also nice to get out of the sun for a little while (did I mention it was hot out?)
Los Lobos were just fantastic. I didn't know they'd do so much jamming. Cinnamon Girl had many jaws hitting the lawn. However, the sound was pretty poor.
Alvin Yougblood Hart seemed like he was pretty good, but I couldn't tell since almost none of what he played came through the speakers. Too bad, I'd heard good things about him and really like Delta Blues stuff.
I guess I just don't quite get the fascination with Bruce Hornsby. Some of his stuff was ok, but a lot of it just didn't do anything for me. I liked Mighty Quinn->ITALTLITATTC->Quinn though. Also it seemed like somebody found the 'on' switch for the PA.
Then we got a REALLY long break while we tried to understand what the FKB were saying. The sound system had apparently been shut off again. We gave up after a while and watched clouds and people. Mystery Box was a revelation. I got the CD and was pretty underwhelmed. Live, the music really came alive and gained some depth. You could actually tell that Mickey Hart was involved with it. Also I think it helped that the cheesy synth sounds were not prominent. The sound system came alive again and the lights were well done. Hart's vocals will never be his strong point but it seemed like he was having fun. I know it's blasphemy, but I think that 'Down the Road' is one of the weaker songs, musically and lyrically, in MB's catalog. But like I said, seeing them live changed my whole opinion about this band. I'd go see them again.
Then we got another REALLY long break. Storm clouds were brewing and severall groups of drunken bozos had arrived in our section and we were all pretty exhausted. When Ratdog finally came on we stayed for about three thin, tinny sounding tunes and decided that we'd rather beat the traffic and heard back to camp for cold beer and muffaletta sandwiches and a better sound system. Which we did.
All things considered, I had a good time and saw some excellent music. It was good to be back amongst the best audience in the world (with a few notable exceptions) at one of my favorite venues. The sound was a real disappointment, and I think took away from a LOT of the performances. That needs to be improved. Also, the long delays before and after MB kind of took the wind out of my sails at least. Future Furthurs might also consider a wider variety of music, perhaps spread over two days.
6/29 Alpine Valley, E. Troy, WI - Sis Kind (Spectsx6@Juniata.edu)
when I pulled into the parking lot and saw all the old sites my heart gave a leap. yet, I didn't know what to expect. what I remember most and will always stay with me happened when Rat Dog took the stage. For some unknown reason the heat had been upon us all day and frequent trips to the water cooler were needed to keep from dehidration. then just as they layed into a sweet rendition of "It looks like rain" a clash of thunder echoed through the sky. I don't know how many of you live in this area but about a year ago on August ninth when I heard the devistating news the sky turned from a pleasant sunshine to feverent turrencial summer rain storm. When on this night the rain visited us again I could feel Jerry there with us looking down and my heart wells up with admiration, love, and indiscribable awe. Later, that night they boomed out "Not fade away" and more than the music I felt the anticipation, and love from every audience member as they clung to thier memories. The chorus not only lasted long after Rat Dog had left the stage but continued the entire length of that monsterous climb up the hill and into the parking lot in full force. I hope this love will help us find our way in the future. I know like the rest of you my love will not fade away.
7/4 Darien Lake Amphitheatre, Darien Center, NY - Rob "Gumby" Hillard (rhillard@cc,atinc.com)
THE BUS CAME BY AND I GOT ON AGAIN... ===================================== Going on the road with the Grateful Dead, joining up with the circus of crazed characters that followed them across the country, was one of the most educating experiences during my half-decade as a college undergrad. As I drove north across the lush farmlands of New York's southern tier towards Darien Lake, I found myself reminiscing about those days of wine and roses. A time when all one needed to join the parade was a ticket and a desire to explore the passion of the musical unknown. Now here I was, preparing to rejoin the tribe to remember what had been, and what it has all now become.
Unfortunately, some of this romanticism began to fade as our caravan arrived at the venue. Suddenly, memories surfaced of ticketless deadheads seeking miracles, adolescent teens strung out on powerful psychedelics, and parking lot dogs tied to car bumpers, scrounging for food. Some of the same elements of the scene that forced veteran deadheads off the bus in the 90s were still here, rearing their ugly heads, although in much smaller proportions.
Having been forewarned that Hot Tuna's set would start promptly at 4:00, we had arrived early. Unfortunately, parking hassles and the customary full body search reserved exclusively for deadheads forced many to listen to Jorma and Jack from outside the fence.
In at last, we waded through the vendors fair and secured a spot on the lawn, just off to the left of the taper's section. While Hot Tuna rambled through Uncle Sam Blues, I managed to secure a line out for my tape deck. I opted not to record the last few tunes, but I did manage to scribble down a set list:
HOT TUNA (electric): Let Us Get Together / Candyman / Walkin' Blues / Ice Age / Hit Single #1 / Uncle Sam Blues / Just My Way / Come Back Baby
John Wesley Harding took the microphone as the roadies prepared the stage for Los Lobos. This friendly Brit treated the growing crowd to a thirty minute set of gangsta folk, including Talking Return of the Great Folk Scare Blues, Ricky Nelson's Down Home, The Devil In Me, and Red Rose in the Briar with a Jack-a-Roe ending. In spite of some reports that he had been sardonic in his earlier performances, my wife and I found his performance to be very entertaining and enthusiastic.
Los Lobos opened their set with a special appearance by John Wesley Harding, singing an old X tune called The Fourth of July. It took a little while to iron out some of the sound problems, but once the sound was tweaked it became clear why many consider Los Lobos to be one of the premier rock n roll bands in the country. David Hidalgo is clearly the band leader, taking most of the lead vocals and guitar riffs. Cesar Rojas, sporting shoulder length hair and a red, white, and blue Steal Your Face tie-dye, provides solid rhythm and lead support from the other side of the stage. He also took lead vocals, singing in Spanish, for Mas y Mas. One of my favorite tunes featured the drummer on vocals, a cool number called Everybody Loves a Train. They closed the set with a ripping version of Bertha that put the first real charge of the day into the crowd.
Next, Alvin Youngblood Hart entertained the now capacity crowd with a short set of delta blues. The highlight was an awesome version of Pony Boy Blues. He also performed a few songs off his critically acclaimed debut release "Big Mama's Door," including the title track and Fairweather Friend. He finished his 30 minute set with a traditional take on the classic Gallows Pole.
It was now almost 6:30, and the Bruce Hornsby was next on the platter. Always a dynamic performer, Hornsby and his talented band shot out right of the gates, opening with a short piano melody that was very reminiscent of the piano jam that led into drums/space when Hornsby played with the Dead in Charlotte on 3-23-95. This opened up into Jacob's Ladder, then funked into a surprising version of the old mo'town classic Tighten Up. By special request, he played The Way It Is, the apparent debut of this song on the Furthur tour. Switching to accordion, he played a medley of four songs, including Dylan's classic When I Paint My Masterpiece. After two songs from his latest release "Hot House," Bruce introduced Bob Weir. The crowd went wild, which only fueled the predictable but exhilarating version of Jack Straw which followed. Hornsby closed his set with a rambling version of Quinn the Eskimo that kept the crowd's adrenaline pumping.
BRUCE HORNSBY piano jam > Jacob's Ladder > Tighten Up / The Way It Is / Jack of Diamonds > Western Skyline > Masterpiece > Baby Don't Do It / Cruise Control / White Wheeled Limousine / Jack Straw w/ Bob Weir / Quinn the Eskimo
The Flying Karamazov Brothers filled the next few slots with vaudevillian humor, working hard to keep us entertained during two of the long set changes. They tried everything, from juggling to ballet to barbershop quartet, with a general degree of zaniness wrapped around it all. At one point, they traipsed out in the stage in pink tutus and performed what appeared to be a synchronized swimming routine, although without the water. There were even some cool recitations of Allen Ginsberg and Groucho Marx. Pretty wild stuff, although a bit tough to appreciate from my vantage point way out on the back forty.
As the sun began to set, Mickey Hart, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussain, David Garibaldi, Sikiru Adepoju paraded out on stage banging on a variety of percussion instruments. They were soon followed by the remaining members of Mystery Box: Bakithi Kumalo on bass, Jeff Sterling on keyboards, and the enchanting Mint Juleps. Based out of England, the Mint Juleps are an a capella group comprised of the four Charles sisters (Debbie, Elizabeth, Marcia, and Sandra), Julie Isaac, and Debbie Longworth. While the ladies handle most of the vocal work, Mickey took the lead vocals on a few songs, including Only the Strange Remain and Down the Road. Using a headset to amplify his spoken rap, Mickey prowled around the stage playing a variety of hand percussion. But Hart spent most of his time on a platform behind the Juleps playing on his Random Access Music Universe (RAMU), an ultra modern version of the electronic drum that unleashes a vast array of sounds.
*************************************************************************** MYSTERY BOX Bani We > Full Steam Ahead / Only the Strange Remain / Where Love Goes (Sito) / The Next Step / The Sandman > drum jam / Down the Road (w/ Hornsby on accordion) / Fire on the Mountain (w/ Hornsby on accordion and Jack Cassady on bass) ***************************************************************************
The Mystery Box set was intriguing, presenting an incredible blend of percussion and sound, interwoven by the fantastic melodies of the Mint Juleps, all supporting the ingenious lyrics of the masterful Robert Hunter. I loved the opening Bani We into Full Steam Ahead, but the real crowd-pleaser was Down the Road.
After another stint by the Karamazovs, the stage was set for RatDog. Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know that RatDog is the latest project headed up by former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir. While RatDog had been performing for several months prior to the death of Garcia, most would agree that it was not until that fateful August day that they officially became a band. The talented ensemble includes Weir's long-time acoustic partner Rob Wasserman on bass, Matt Kelly on harmonica, Jay Lane on drums, and the most recent addition, 72-year old piano legend Johnnie Johnson.
Opening with Robert Johnson's Walkin' Blues, RatDog rocked and rolled through a 90 minute set of rhythm and blues tunes. Weir clearly asserted himself as the band leader throughout the set, belting out the lead vocals and laying down some good guitar licks. Weir stepped back from the limelight briefly while Johnson belted out a rollicking version of Gone Fishin'. Kelly stepped up to the microphone next, taking the lead vocal on a great version of I Know You Rider. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that Hornsby had performed Masterpiece earlier in the day, RatDog tossed out another version of this song. Hornsby played accordion and shared the vocals with Weir during Masterpiece, then sat down at the piano for a blistering version of Little Red Rooster. Following a hot version of Victim or the Crime, the band cleared away while Wasserman performed some wizardry on his electric upright bass. A thumping Not Fade Away beat gave way to an absolutely amazing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner (a la Jimi Hendrix). When the band returned, Hornsby was back on the keyboards for a crowd-pleasing version of Throwing Stones.
At this point, the lights dimmed as the stage was quickly prepared for the final all-star jam. Having read the set lists from the previous Furthur Fests, I knew this portion of the show had the greatest potential. RatDog soon returned with a variety guests, including Hornsby on piano, Jack Cassady on bass, and Pete Sears on accordion. The jam began with a magical version of Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy with David Hidalgo of Los Lobos on lead vocals. Hidalgo's sound was so true to the classic original that I had to look closely to convince myself it was not Steve Winwood himself! This was definitely one of the highlights of the entire day.
After Fantasy, a few more guests came on stage, including John D'earth (trumpet) and Bobby Reed (sax) from Hornsby's band. From where I was, it looked like Johnnie Johnson was out there playing trumpet as well. As they broke into Truckin' the crowd cheered, then proceeded to shake their collective asses off as the band jammed away on this infamous Dead anthem. The local crowd let out a huge roar as they belted out the line "Truckin' up to Buffalo." A few more folks came and went before they broke into the Promised Land finale, accompanied by a dramatic fireworks display that reached full pyrotechnic splendor during the final riffs. WOW!
*************************************************************************** RATDOG Walkin' Blues (Bob acoustic w/ band) / City Girls (Bob acoustic w/ band) / Fever / KC Moan (trio: Weir, Wasserman, & Kelly) / Goin' Fishin' (Johnnie Johnson on vocals) I Know You Rider (Matt Kelly on vocals) / Masterpiece (w/ Hornsby on accordion and harmony vocal, no JJ) / Little Red Rooster (w/ Hornsby on piano, no JJ) / Victim Or The Crime > bass solo (Not Fade Away >Star Spangled Banner) / Throwing Stones (w/ Hornsby on piano, no JJ) / Dear Mr. Fantasy * / Truckin' ** / Promised Land ***
* - David Hidalgo on vocals/guitar, M. Falzano on guitar, Hornsby on piano, Jack Cassady, Pete Sears on accordion, and Mickey Hart ** - Jorma, Jack Cassady, Hornsby, Mickey; John D'earth on trumpet, Bobby Read on sax, and Johnnie Johnson on trumpet *** - same as above, also with Cesar Rojas from Los Lobos ***************************************************************************
All in all it was a great day, with some moments relived and some new horizon's expanded. The weather could not have been more perfect, with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s. The show was very well- produced, with quick stage changes, but NO encores whatsoever (unless you count the all-star jam finale). Well worth the trip and the price of the ticket. And these shows should simply get better and better as the busses roll on...
TAPERS NOTE: A strong breeze early in the afternoon marred most audience recordings of Hot Tuna, Harding, Los Lobos, and AY Hart. Fortunately, there are soundboard tapes of Los Lobos, as well as Hornsby. The wind died down as the sun went down, and there is no noticeable wind noise on tapes of the later sets. There wasn't a designated tapers section on the lawn, but the gearheads had staked out prime real estate along the fence, extending back about 25 yards. I heard that a few front-of-board tapers were busted, although I'm not sure if they were ejected or simply had their tapes confiscated.
Enjoyin the ride... I just want to make sure you all are too.
7/4 Darien Lake Amphitheatre, Darien Center, NY - Beadz (email@example.com)
The Further Festival was one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited. My friends and I set off early in the morning as it was about a three hour drive and we also needed to clear the boarder. The day started out great as we didn't get stopped at the boarder. When we finally reached the park, the magic of the tour began to rise. All of the people parked around us got together and we all had a great time getting to know each other and listening to some tunes before the show started. When finally getting into the show, the music was already going and spirits were high. All of the bands turned out to be really great! Evereyone was freely sharing their music and all of the crowd was taking in as much as they could. The high point of the show for me was when Truckin came on and the crowd went wild! There were even fireworks going off in the background to add to the excitement of the ending of a truely great day!
7/6 SPAC, Saratoga, NY - Alan Topal (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What an enjoyable day. If you are contemplating going to Furthur Fest, by all means do! I would advise you to arrive as early as possible, as traffic is quite heavy. Also, bring as much of your own food and water as you can, the lines for vending and water fountains got unbelievably long at SPAC.
Now for the music:
I've always enjoyed the acoustic version of HOT TUNA more than the electric, and this show was a perfect example why. The music is way over-amped, and the result is just waves of noise. It seemed like they were playing good, but most of the time it was hard to tell. I was sitting right in front of the SBD, so it's not like the location was the issue. Next time Jorma, bring the acoustic, please!
This was my first time seeing LOS LOBOS in concert, and boy was I impressed. Their own tunes were great, the Cinnamon Girl cover was tremendous, and the Bertha was incredible! It had the same instrumental intro as their version on "Just Another Band from East L.A.", but they also added a couple more trancendant Jams on the end, wringing every last drop out of the thing. Definitely the highlight of the day for me.
It was also my first time seeing HORNSBY (except for accordian on one Dead show), and thoroughly enjoyed him as well. He nicely blended jazz riffs into many of the songs, as he and his bandmates really got off on playing with one another. As an added bonus, one of the Mystery Box percussionists sat in for the entire set. The highlights were a latin-flavored Scarlet Begonias, Tangled Up in Blue, and a percussion jam with SAMBA NOVA (who also played before Tuna).
MYSTERY BOX was a lot of fun. It helped that I had bought the album and heard it twice through, I recommend you do the same. While "Down the Road" (with Garcia verse) and "Fire" were obvious high points, I enjoyed the mid-set percussion jam the most.
RATDOG has come a long way in one year. I saw them at SPAC last August, and left thinking I wouldn't be willing to pay money to see THAT again. Last year they seemed to just be a collection of rhythm players, this year they were a BAND. The harmonica is much more in the mix, plus they now have Johnny Johnson's keyboards. They could still use a lead guitarist or horn player for a little more color, but the sound is much fuller now. The Need a Miracle was much better than the 3-minute-ditty version the Dead have been doing in recent years. Minglewood smoked. Cassidy was terrific, with a Victim-like jam in place of the spacey Dead jam. Saturday Night was the last true Ratdog song, with Hornsby taking Johnson's place, and the horn players from Hornsby and Lobos sitting in. Then more people started to come and go, as "Ratdog and Freinds" rocked the house with one encore after another: The Weight; Good Lovin; Higher and Higher; Gloria; and finally, Satisfaction.
Also, the Flying Karamazov Brothers performed during several of the breaks. These guys are unbelievable jugglers, and quite entertaining.
In summation, this was quite an entertaining and diverse show. As long as you attend with the proper expectations, you should enjoy yourself immensely.
7/7 The Meadows, Hartford, CT - John Scott (email@example.com)
Sunday defied the forecast showers and proved to be a beautiful day, if a little on the warm side in the 80s. We arrived to find that most of the parking was very convenient from I-91, but a bit of a hike from the venue. The scene as we approached was eerily identical to the traditional Dead lots. I found myselt swept up in bittersweet nostalgia as I ran into eighteen years worth of tour buddies.
The venue itself was a nice new shed with good site lines. Unfortunately the sound was another matter. The acoustics were horrible up front where we were blessed with excellent seats, and from what I have heard they weren't that much better behind us. I could not tell if it was due to the sound system, or the venue itself, just that the sound was dramatically better on the subsequent two nights.
Absolutely no food or drink allowed inside. Threw away two sealed water bottles, a Gatorade bottle, and gave away half of Terrie's delicious cookie bars (snarfed the balance on the spot). This is stupid if not immoral conduct for the venue to deny outside liquids on such a hot day.
The music was excellent. It was an exceptionally long show, almost too packed -- if you wanted to get something to eat or even visit the restroom, you had to pick what you were going to miss. Each setup time between main attractions was filled. They dropped a curatin infron to the main area onstage and various acts came out to entertain us in the meantime. With all this talent one wonders how the tour can break even, let alone turn a profit. Are half these bands performing gratis?
The bands kept to a very quick schedule. The stop time was posted on a chalk board for the band to see, alongside a schoolroom clock. And they payed attention: almost every act kept to the schedule within the minute.
Electric Tuna opened. Pete Sears was playing with them on organ and accordion. They were very good as expected; it was comforting to be greeted by a familiar act..
John Wesley Harding had some impressive licks, but I found his brand of folk a little trite. His lyrics relied on cutesy irony, and were rarely incisive. His ego dominated the stage.
Los Lobos was quite good, but somehow I had expected even more. How selfish of me. I guess not having seen them live allowed those expectaions to be based largely on unbounded fantasy of a concert-starved junkie. I had half-expected them to be on a par with say the Allman Brothers. They are not. Their bass player was too loud, and somewhat limited. Fortunately, this was their weakest performance of the three I saw; I was quite impressed the following night in Maine.
Not being familiar with his work, we missed Alvin Youngblood Hart in order to wait in a tortuously slow line as they hand made each burrito to customer spec (the hotter than hell sauce was barely mild, adding insult to injury). Big mistake all around. On the subsequent nights his material proved to be the best of the "filler."
We even missed Bruce's first song, returning during Samson. Excellent set, the best band performance of the night. His bass player is particularly sunny and infective. Later on Bobby joined them for a second Samson. While the previous version had seemed more than adequate at the time, this one rocked. GDTRFB was fun, and a hot Valley Road closed the set.
The Karamazov Brotheres were honoring a previous engagement, so rumors of Warren Zevon preceded him. He was still anther impressive feather in an already heavily plumed hat. He was on for only a very short while. Played Lawyers, Guns & Money on 12 string. Also Excitable Boy with help on sax. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the performance -- it seemed very raw, unfinished and short. I had also hoped for Werewolves.
Mystery Box was great. It was the most dancable act of the evening by far. Cool percussive flowers played by Zakkir Hussein. Fire on the Mountain was their highlight, but the new material was not far behind. The sound on Mickey's headset microphone was terrible. I could barely understand the words to Down The Road. Mickey used a Julep mic on the very next song. The Mint Juleps were excellent. It was an amazingly effective convergance of some very different styles. There was no guitar, just percussion, bass; the keyboards were rarely present in the mix. It was interesting to hear vocals centered around percussion rather than melody.
Acoustic Hot Tuna was superior to electric. The whole band came out. The drummer played an over the head washboard, and somnetimes a strap-on drum. Pete Sears played accordion. While I missed hearing some of their best acoustic material such as Water Song, I was still thrilled to get my double dose.
Bob and Rob were as good as I have seen them. While some was bland, there was some genuine saprkle to much of it. Johnny Johnson is an important addition to the band, and I hope they take better advantage of his vocals and general experience in the future.
Then there were the jams. We got our Werewolves with all the appropriate fanfare and accompaniment. My personal highlight was a no brainer: Little Wing. Bliss was me. It's only flaw was its brevity. I wish they had reprised the verses rahter than suddenly finishing.
The best part of the event was the various collaborations. The guests sprinkled thoughout the afternoon, evening and night always livened things up, and the various configurations at the end were fabulous. There should be much more time alotted to the finale, and greater cultural exchange would also be welcome. Unfortunately subsequent nights actually had fewer guests throughout the show, and the ultimate jams were shorter, not longer.
Don't miss the Furthur Tour. It is easily worth the ticket price, even if it is not the Grateful Dead.
7/11 Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ - Erin Barry (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Seeing as this was the very first concert I have ever been to, some may not consider my opinion a good one. However, my friends, I assure you that I was at the show and I was completely blown away! Besides the absolutely gorgeous weather and the killer view of the Statue of Liberty, the bands were fantastic. My personal favorites were Hot Tuna, Los Lobos, Bruce Hornsby and Rat Dog. The atmosphere was great; I even ran into people I knew there that I never would've expected to see. I had the time of my life and if this is the only concert I ever go to, it was the right one!
7/15 Polaris Amphitheatre, Columbus, OH - Spud (email@example.com)
Rumor has it that only about 5,000 folks showed. Harsh!
7/15 Polaris Amphitheatre, Columbus, OH - JerryHead (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Very disappointing. Though I have to admit I went there with a chip on my shoulder about Mr. Stirfried himself. I said I would go only if it was to protest against that pompus ass. But a need for a fix I went any ways. No wonder Bruce was Jerry's boy. He certainly had some sweet points that night. MB was new to me, I didn't know what to expect and I wasn't thrilled when Mickey was not drumming away. But I have heard alot more now of that group and I have to say I really enjoy it. Ratdog could not even be saved by Bruce. No matter what Bobby always trys to take the lead, and he is still not after all of these years a talented guitar player. Maybe he didn't have a large enough crowd. I think alot skipped out on him because of the USA article. I personally would never travel to see Rat Dog. They would have to come to my back door. To do Rider without Jerry is a huge mistake.
7/17 Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, MO - phil pusateri (email@example.com)
-MH Full Steam Ahead..When in Rome..Down the Road,Fire(w/steel drumz?) Sandman,EnsembleJam (note Lobos drummer's "breast" percussion)________
-JWH,lyrical skills add a facet + positive contrast to overall show;__ Dylan fan - warmup w/"Dont think twice..."chords - still, willJWH name his firstborn "Blood on the Tracks",e.g?;xtranice Jack-a-roe acoustic_ w/JORMA(nice to see"cutesy irony"*-toting chap take on a Mr.RobtHunter original... ended w/"Devil in Me" -[* see NYmeadows comment
-RATDOG:Walkin'(smoother,but is it s'posed to be smooth?Vocals on-key, melodic,but not too emotional);TakeMe tothe River(vocals dig in),Rob W now establishes his rumblin' and fukngruven backbone-presence,into____ Wang Dang;bluesyDog spotlighting Johnson's keyboard licks to his home- town crowd; Wang Dang's evocations coming more to life in the presence of the 71-yr.-old and his ties to the song's lore/americana; Bobby and_ Bruce on nice milked and drawn-out Masterpiece-close to beautiful, but Bruce was a little slow finding the vocal harmony..Tanqueray coincided w/lastcall at 9:55, Johnson's vocals were gritty and soulful (does/will he sing anything else?), jam, (Thistimeforever) Shade of Gray->Easy2Slip (grabbing everybody's usually and clinically deficient attention)> SUPPLICATIONjam launched a mind-excursioncomparable towhat,a nice Slipknot!... untilBob gently returns to finish Easy2Slip; BassSolo w/St. Stephen,star-spangled jam; Easy Answers outtathat..>ensembleTruckin'w/3+horns, Bruce, (grewonyou exponentially assong progressed:crescendoat"getback truckin'onhome"repeatedly was like a shamanic session to conjure up familiar ghost,mojocontinued to rise w/JoRMAleadsolo >OtherOneJam
-ensemble: hotDEARMR.FANTASYw/lobovocallead+ensembleguitar(HOT:Lobosguitarsolo,JORMAsolo) (w/mickey@drums,Bruce@keys)>JohnnyB.Goode(hometownnamesake@keys),bobbyw/kindaslow+enunciatedvocals(niceguitarlicksfromWeir);RecallsGarcia beforeJ.B.Goode at FillmoreWest 7-7-71:"Folks, this is the one it's all about"; no encore
7/18 Sandstone Amphitheatre, Bonner Springs, KS - Scott Finkeldei (TelaTela@aol.com)
Like most people, i had really been looking forward to the Further tour to hit my area. I had talked to other people who had been to some of the other stops on the tour and had heard great things. It would be nice to be among friends again.
When i arrived at the lot 2 hrs or so before show time, the vending was in full swing. Talking to others in the lot, it sounded like it had been going all morning. It was nice to be among the "freaks" again. One of the things i miss most when not on tour is that feeling of community and oneness that i get in the lot, walking around, seeing old tour friends, talking to new friends, etc. Anyway the security didn't seem to tight although there were event staff as well as cops around. Right before the show was about to begin, it seemed that the cops decided to crack down on the vending and started hasseling some of the people, particularly people selling hemp products and pipes. We were sitting next to a drum circle in the lot that was jamming when we heard the first notes of Hot Tuna and decided to head in. Before we could some event staff and cops came over and asked the drummers why they weren't heading into the show. They said they were playing and didn't want to go in so the cops tried to intimidate them into going in. Immediately someone came over with some "bad cop, no donut" stickers and began giving them away to everyone in the area and more people came over to join the circle. The cops seemed to give up and move on and a few of them even took a bad cop sticker.
When we got in Hot Tuna was jammin and i was glad we made it in to see them. I had been told Los Lobos put on a hell of a show and they sure did. I had never had to much interest in them but now i do. Hornsby was also great and they were one of the bands i really wanted to see. They did not disappoint and jammed some long tunes and played a rockin Mighty Quinn. Mystery Box also really got me moving. The playing was great, the singing was great, even the showmanship was great. I had been listening to the cd and was ready for their dance/r&b thing but seeing it live is another matter. And i always thought Bob was the cheesy GD member. i will never forget the way Mickey acted on stage that day. RatDog blew me away. i had never had a chance to see a RatDog show till now, but now i will see as many as i can. A nice LL Rain and a hugh Victim were but two of the highlights. The jam the end was what everyone had been saying it would be! I was told by people who had been following the tour that there was as many people as they had seen all tour on stage the whole time for this encore. Playin>Gimme Some Lovin>Gloria>Playin!! They played it hard and got the crowd into it.
All and all, it was better than i hoped it would be. Every band exceeded my expectations and even the transition acts were great. the John Wesley Harding/Jorma Jack-a-Roe was a particular highlight. It definately filled the "summer tour void" that i was missing. I highly recommend everyone catch at least one show!!!
7/18 Sandstone Amphitheatre, Bonner Springs, KS - Scott Finkeldei (TelaTela@aol.com)
This is an amendment to my previous review about Sandstone in Bonner Springs, KS. The encore jam was Playin>Kansas City(w/ Johnnie Johnson on piano).Gimme Some Lovin'>Gloria>Playin'. I left out a really hot Kansas City with Johnnie Johnson taking over keyboard from Bruce.
Could whomever administers this site add this to my review of the Sandstone show add this to it. As you can see it is a pretty major oversight. Thanks and keep up the good work on the web site. It is interesting and I hope you continue to keep up the interesting interactions and pics. It's in my bookmarks!
7/28 Country Fairgrounds, Eugene, OR - Casey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sun & fun in Veneta, home of the legendary Country Fair and other assortedf hippy-happenings. Before the day was through Bobby would have to restart Sampson and Delilah after screwing up the first verse, Ken Kesey would get up and read an ode to Jerry, and the whole gang would do a rendition of the 'Gloria' into 'America The Beautiful' ("the whole gang" meaning everyone plus Kesey). On paper, an utterly phenomenal show! In reality, I was disappointed. I thought Hornsby was the best part of the show while Mickey's new thing was a low point. I will never get used to hearing 'Fire On The Mountain' done with a rapper! RatDog was good, but through it all Bobby seemed somewhat displaced. A guest on his own stage, giving serious back-up vocals to Ken Kesey's non-melodic bellowing through the JAM (Gloria>America) Perhaps I've been spoiled by years of enchantment at the hands of Mr. Garcia, and possibly I went there half-expecting to have the fat guy with the beard come out & melt my heart once again. Whatever the case, Furthur was a disappointment for me in many ways. Yes the music must go on, however, I think its going to have to be in tapes for me if Furthur is the best I can expect. That is, tapes and a Hornsby show now and again... and Phish, and Ratdog, and the Allman Bros., and Santana, and Leftover Salmon, and Steve Miller, and Calobo, and Reggae Sunsplash, and Merl Saunders, and some more Phish, and Jimmy Buffet, and whoever else will grace our Northwest stages without all the gimmick!
7/28 Country Fairgrounds, Eugene, OR - Don Wolfe (email@example.com)
It was nice to give the tribe a place to gather again, and especially one that had been the site of true Dead shows. The lineup had something for everybody, and was run like clockwork so there were no gaps in the entertainment. I had a really good time, and I really needed to hear the poetry and tributes to Garcia to help get over his death. Hearing White Rabbit was quite a kick! What I wish had been part of it was some jamming that wasn't just assembling various musicians from the different bands for familiar tunes. I wanted some space, some drums (couldn't Mickey have jump-started some drumming). I wanted a group to stay on stage long enough to really get into something. When you're used to Dead shows that last four hours (counting breaks of course), an hour a band only seems like enough time to warm up, but in the Furthur Festival, by that time, their set was over. I especially wanted to hear more of Los Lobos. Santana would have been good to have there, or Traffic. Somebody who really likes to jam.
8/1 Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA - William Graney (WTG1@Juno.com)
I enjoyed Further as i really liked the musical line up. To me the week link was Ratdog. Always been big on Tuna and Los Lobos and they certainly did not fail to satisfy. I hadn't heard Mystery Box before the show and I was impressed enough to buy their cd right after the set. The end jam was very cool too. The scene was subdued but I like that, in fact I stopped going to shows for a few years after '89 because I couldn't take the hugeness of the scene. So I kind of appreciated the return to reasonable crowd levels. Of course it was difficult getting through without Jerry. From what I have seen of this year's line up I am less than enthused.
8/4 Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ - Shane Matolyak (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I started listening to the Dead in 93. I finally decided to see them the following fall and only made it to one other show since then. I felt like I got on the bus right before it got a flat tire. Since I knew I'd be in Az at the time I figured "ahh, what the heck" and ordered my ticket. I thought it would be strange being at a show "alone" with my pals at home. MAN, I HAD A BLAST!!! Even after being to other shows I didn't really get what people meant by "the sense of community". I figured it out in AZ. Me and some new found friends set up a tarp and met others who migrated over to our island of shade in the hot parking lot sea. So the crowd scene was way cool. The show was awesome too. I'll never forget when they wheeled a big cake onto the stage for Bruce's Birthday. Yeah, I was in the "concert state of mind" and really thought Jerry would jump out but I wasn't too let down when it wasn't him. The best Samson and D. I ever heard.