Here's my review (sorta cut & pasted from what I put on Dead.net, but this one is better!)
Bob Weir came out without any fancy stuff...ES335 clean with NO effects and crushed it. Warren & Jeff were there purely for color and that's exactly how it should have been - BUT, only if the core 4 would step up. And, they did. Phil needed more "bottom" in his sound - I'm not too sure I dig that new weird bass - I thought Alfonso sounded better, tonewise, than Phil...which is weird to even say.
Mickey & Billy drove all night long. From the first song, that band was ON.
They start with "Truckin'"...okay, light selection, but let's have at it. Weir's guitar is louder than usual and he's playing REALLY well. Great energy from all 4 - Billy's smile is HUGE (as it was all night long). Nice little interlude in between the 2 sets of verses, Bobby actually plays lead guitar through it, as the band just jams in E behind him. Nice licks and it's sounding like the Dead. The jam into "US Blues" is good and - again, another light-hearted selection. Now, I'm thinkin' that's how the rest of the night's list will play out...which is okay, I guess, but not what I was hoping for.
"Help On The Way." THAT'S what I was hoping for. Good solo by Warren, followed by a GREAT Fender Rhodes solo by Jeff...and I mean GREAT. Really nice "Slipknot!" with the band kinda losing the "1" towards the end, so Bobby leads the band at this point, turns around and gathers them all in an instant, to the outtro riff before heading back into the main "Slipknot!" riff....sick. Great job by Bob and now they are REALLY getting tight. "Franklin's" was expected - and it was pretty good. Phil vocals...nothing fancy - the jams were okay...no real huge peaks, but well-played.
"Playin' In The Band"! Great call and again - Bobby is leading the band sweetly....nice intro, gathers them all up, counts "7,8,9..." and they're off. Good big jam into "Dark Star", which was SICK. A COLOSSAL jam. This is the point of the show that I simply cannot fathom a DeadHead not enjoying this show. This jam was PURE DEAD. It reached EPIC proportions of psychedelia (and I was not on ANY...just a bit of mighty fine green). Bobby, Phil, Mickey & Billy just ripping off of each other and built it into a frenzy. It looked like they didn't even realize Warren & Jeff were onstage - eventhough their input to this jam was great.
Dark Star ENDED....kinda weird, but I was not about to ask questions at this point! Help > Slip > Franklin's, Playin' > Dark Star? My call was "Saint Stephen"!
I was right! REALLY well-played. GREAT, BIG jam before the last verse...Bobby led the band again to switch time signatures over to 4/2....VERY nice - a perfect way to segue to "The Eleven," but to no avail....it would be Phil's call and a beautiful rendition of "Unbroken Chain." I was VERY impressed with the tightness of the core 4 again. Now, I heard they soundchecked this song along w/ St. Stephen & Dark Star, but even still - well done!!!
"The Other One." GREAT call - you know it's gonna lead towards the end of the show, but a lot of fun jamming in this one. Bob on guitar - one word....sickleberry. Warren played great, as well - but again - the core 4 really doing what they've done best for SO many years....
"Throwin' Stones," always seems to let the air out of the bag....a great song and I love it, but you know the fun is coming to an end REALLY soon now! A pretty hot version. Bob's guitar is even LOUDER by this point (I think it came up a bit more in "The Other 1") and the band is tight....just SO tight!!!! A GREAT improv jam comes at the end of "spinnin', spinnin' free..." and it's a nice 4-5 minutes of jamming before they head back into the "Playin' reprise."
Donor Rap / Weir Rap right into "Touch Of Grey." Good pace, good energy and I thought that was it - THANK YOU BOYS for going into "Not Fade Away." As good as Touch was, it wasn't played HOT enough to close this insane show. The NFA was killer. First jam was GREAT - the 2nd jam was not quite as stellar.
Mickey says a few words, thanks everyone - then the lights come on.
I had an absolute blast. Did I miss Jerry? HELL YES. But not because the band was lacking - the core 4 played hot and I enjoyed the color that Warren & Jeff added. I missed Jerry because I thought he'd be having a BALL at this show. Screw the "WWJD?" political stuff - this show was hot and he would have really enjoyed it. I know I did.
A couple of side notes:
For those who will inevitably listen to the recordings, I would imagine some will say, "Eh...it sounds okay," and some will say, "Sounds pretty good, wish I had gone." I will say this:
I've been to probably 20 shows since Jerry's passing - a few "The Other Ones / The Dead", a few Rat Dog, a few P&F....the energy and level of play of the core 4 was never better than it was Monday night. Bob Weir was SO freakin' tasty on that guitar. Sure, he flubbed some lyrics (including the 1st 2 lines of "Help On The Way" - DUDE! How do you forget "Paradise waits"??!!!
), but that did not matter. The level of tight improvisation going on between Bobby, Phil, Mickey & Billy was simply astounding. And they were having SO much fun with each other....that was quite apparent.
I will retract my earlier statements that Warren Haynes was too busy a choice for this show. He played very subdued - I was glad to see him on a Tele for most of the show, as it put him a bit "thinner" in the mix. He played some great Warren licks and had some really hot solos, of course. But he didn't dominate the show and didn't even try - so hat's off to WH for that! The main focus was on the core 4...perfectly done.
If they do a tour, I'll be surprised. I probably would attend a show if they played here in the 'Burgh, but I don't think I'd travel for it - not because it wouldn't be worth it, but because it might diminish the "specialness" of this past show for me. They were hot, kids. REAL hot. I am SO happy I went.
I want to hear THEIR recording of this show. I don't think any audience recordings will do this show much justice.
Also - I had NO problems w/ the cops. Burned a MONSTROUS fattie (courtesy of mttourpro!) during Dark Star (in my opinion that song was the highlight of the night).
"Once in awhile, you can get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right." - R. Hunter
"If we had any nerve at all, if we had any real balls as a society, or whatever you need, whatever quality you need, real character, we would make an effort to really address the wrongs in this society, righteously." - Jerry Garcia