I don't know why, but I never thought of VLB being all that hard to play...the beat comes very easy and feels natural.
As for Ratdog, I don't think they've ever played VLB, but as Phreaker said, Phil very much plays it w/ his band(s), and it's damn good!
I bet if Jer were to have stuck with us for a few more years, the Dead would've brought back songs like VLB, The Eleven, St. Stephen, Cryptical, Cosmic Charlie, Casey Jones (regularly I mean...I know they brought it back in '92...or was it '93?), Alligator, Golden Road, Born Cross-eyed, Rosemary, the Sailor > Saint combo, Lazy Lightning > Supplication, and all the other ones that fell off the wagon way back. Maybe even some Piggy songs like King Bee & Easy Wind? And wouldn't it have been great to hear a '96 version of King Solomon's or Stronger Than Dirt?
I think they were only scratching the surface w/ the breakout of Unbroken in Philly.
Play music, expand the mind, inspire...
"We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey" - Japanese poet Kenji Miyazawa