Yes, the mix was poor in the 1st set. Way too loud and not enough bottom end came through (at least in our seats - top of the bottom bowl, center ice). The whole night was plagued by Bobby's vox either being too low in the mix or him not having any conviction when he sang "non-Bobby" parts... but I saw that as a plus, because he absolutely sucks at singing anything that isn't a "Bobby tune". Why they don't let Warren sing Jerry tunes is beyond me. That said, here's my piece by piece breakdown:
Cassidy: great, rippin' opener. Long jam that was absolutely nailed at every turn.
Agreed except for the sound did not help and Bob's vocals were lame
Passenger: lacked the vitality of the early ones with Donna in the mix, but Warren's slide absolutely smoked.
POC: what the hell can you say? Never thought I'd ever hear this one played live. Phil's vox were strong, Warren nailed the pedal steel riffs and the interior blues jam was Warren at home in his idiom.
Warren was great on this but not a big fan of Phil singing. Song was all over the place. Mixed emotions on that one.
Easy Wind: nice to hear Warren take a full lead vox. A little monotonous, but again, Waren in his element as a master blues guitarist.
Lazy River Road: sucked.
Alabama: seemed like they were trying to stretch it into an epic jam, but you can only do so much with I, IV, V. Still, nice interplay between Chimenti and Warren. This is when it really became so loud that the mix went to hell.
BRR: Ratdog arrangement, which mirrors the original jug-band shuffle. I thought it bopped along quite nicely, but the reprise was cheesy.
Love this tune, but with Bob's singing and warren didn't do anything inspiring to save it and then the reprise was a joke
Peggy-O: Uninspiring? It was freakin' beautiful! When is the last time you saw Phil play an acoustic bass? Yeah... it wasn't an electric Jerry version... Jerry's been dead for 14 years - get over it.
I did enjoy this tune but it was not great = phils singing + no jerry leads. Jerry made this tune, I want to get over it but this did not help. Phil's singing was as good has I ever heard him on this but beatiful? not
Glory Road: I have no idea where this tune is from - can anybody elaborate? It was a ballad that kinda stalled in places and was too long.
Kinda stalled from the get go until the end
Hard Rain: great sing-along. Not awesome, but certainly inoffensive.
Bob's singing (or mic issues) was not clear and phil was dropping bombs on his acoustic all over the place that were painful. Could have been decent if the sound was good.
Best part about the acoustic set was that it made the board back off the house volume a little and that really evened out the mix.
Drums 1: they called it "Rings of Saturn" on the setlist. I was hanging with my drummer and he said that it mirrored a lot of stuff on Mickey's last CD. Interesting that even the drums appear to be rehearsed. To a T. It's one of the few Drums EVER that has held my interest, as it actually had a melodic element to it.
agreed but drums will be drums.
Dark Star > KSM: DS was very exploratory and well done. Looong time to get to the verse, and then it was a bit of a letdown with Phil taking the first two lines, a few measures hanging, then Bob, then Warren taking a line. Would have much preferred Phil sing the whole thing. Again, Bob doesn't sound very good on non-Bob stuff. The KSM was absolutely dead-on, sick jamming. Warren had what I've called the "roto-vibe" thing nailed... I guess is this having him playing through a fast-turning Leslie?
agree 100% + they finnaly got the sound right
Drums 2: standard Drumz
This was a killer, after they finally get into a groove they reprise the fucking drums WTF kinda like gettting kicked in the balls after getting laid
Come Together: tight, very fun. Also very unexpected. It is quite clear the boys are not going to stick to rote stuff for the tour. Nothing huge about it tho... just well done.
Well played but I was hoping for something magical at this point and this was a major disappointment
Sugar MAgs: Sugar Mags. Always great.
UJB: long jam. Harmonies were tight.
Ripple: wish Bobby wouldn't sing this. Emotional to hear, but Bob's not the guy to handle the lead vox, Warren or Phil should be.
I usually hate Bob singing jerry tunes but I liked this one plus the harmonies from warren and phil were very good on the last 3 tunes
In sum: Bobby shouldn't sing tunes that aren't his. Never liked him on Jerry tunes with Ratdog (unless he rearranged them like he did BRR) and he doesn't seem sure of himself. Or, maybe it's just his stuttering approach to singing (think Corrina) that throws me. But it doesn't do these songs justice. Phil even sounded way better than Bob on the vox tonight - hit every damned note with conviction. And, the harmonies were very tight, something I noticed on the G-boro recording. Too much trying to play egalitarian games with Jer's tunes; get over it and do what is best for the performance.
All that said, I was hanging with about a dozen people who I've toured with for 30 years with 1000's of shows between us and most of us playing in each others' bands... nobody thought the first set was weak. At all.
I was in suite with 20+ heads all with impressive resumes. A lot of disappointed people in that box until dark star. Hopefully they will get the sound worked out and let Warren take over a little bit more.