Saturday, November 26, 2005


I hear John Perry will be back to blogging soon, so keep an eye out for that. His blog is listed among the links on this page.
A nice Ratdog mention from this columnist- read on-
Jim Abbott

A Dead Head holiday

Somehow I never made it to a Grateful Dead concert, even though a bootleg cassette tape of the band compiled for me by a Dead Head girlfriend was once a prized possession. It's still in a box of mementos somewhere, I hope.

On Sunday, I went to the next-best thing: a marathon performance by Bob Weir and Ratdog at House of Blues. There was enough tie-dye to start a pretty groovy commune, and the vibe was copacetic, even though the security searches at the door were more intense than at any metal show I've ever attended.

My wand guy even wanted to inspect the wadded-up paper napkin that I removed from my pocket. Eeeuuu.

Weir and the band played two long sets that amounted to roughly three hours of music. Anyone who wanted to wait another 20 minutes after the show and part with $23 or so could walk out with three CDs of the night's performance. Why don't more bands do that?

At 58, Weir is the old man in the band, but the younger musicians were seasoned in his style, which juxtaposes extended, free-form jams with a knack for accessible tunes. Guitarist Mark Karan offered inspired solos on his gold Les Paul, especially in the soaring spiritual finale of the Dead's "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo.''

Weir balanced Ratdog tunes with a generous assortment of Dead songs, including a rollicking "Samson and Delilah," as well as a few well-chosen covers. He opened the second set with an ominous rendition of Dylan's "Masters of War'' and later unearthed the complex beauty of the Beatles' "Dear Prudence.''

Between the songs, there was a lot of aimless jamming, but Ratdog never approaches the kind of self-important instrumental excesses of, say, the Dave Matthews Band.

A decade after the passing of Jerry Garcia, Weir is hitting all the right notes to keep the Dead's spirit alive.

Jim Abbott can be reached at 407-420-6213.