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Short but sweet blogging about last night's show click here!
Ratdog has more bite
By JEFF MIERS
News Pop Music Critic
Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News
Grateful Dead legend Bob Weir leads Ratdog on an inspired musical journey, setting the mood for spontaneous dancing in a packed Town Ballroom.
Bob Weir and Ratdog
Friday night in Town Ballroom, 681 Main St.
Another show at 7 tonight.
There's something different about a Ratdog show these days.
Once, the band seemed to be stumbling its way through a mansion of many beautiful rooms, stopping along the way to throw a party on each floor, and welcoming you along for the ride.
It was a relaxed, glowing, hazy-eyed journey shared between band and audience, and yes, it seemed so proper, so much in the spirit of the Grateful Dead, and a celebration of the music's continued resonance.
On Friday, as Bob Weir and his band returned to the Town Ballroom nearly one year to the day that they first visited the venue, a full house watched Ratdog become something more than what it had been.
The group - Weir on guitar and vocals, bassist Robyn Sylvester, drummer Jay Lane, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, guitarist Mark Karan and sax player Kenny Wheeler - has benefited immensely from its past several years of touring.
Today, Ratdog is incredibly tight, well-versed in interband dynamics, in possession of some virtuosic improvisers, and able to ease gently and with grace between keys, time signatures and moods, as it eases us down the road.
Friday's show was a hot one, and the enthused Town Ballroom crowd danced, sang along, cheered particularly transcendent solos, and willingly entered into a general state of bacchanalia.
The group opened with a spacious jam in no particular time signature, toying with the outer reaches of a chord, until easing into an appropriate pick for Weir and company's post-October storm appearance, an elegiac "Cold Rain and Snow." And then off they went, warming to each other and the crowd, as song segued into song and the whole room seemed to move to one groove.
We got "Playin' in the Band," with a stellar solo from Karan, followed by an outside improv from Wheeler. Then, a swampy funk groove fell into a Weir guitar synth solo that suggested Keith Richards visiting Mars. All of this eventually bled into a thrilling take on the Beatles' "Revolver" coda, "Tomorrow Never Knows," again culminating in a stellar Karan improvisation.
It all went by like a beautiful daydream, and featured a long line of high points - the "Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance" bit was particularly brilliant, but the whole darn set was inspired. Weir and his band have hit a new plateau.
I: Jam > Cold Rain and Snow >
Playin in the Band >
Tomorrow Never Knows >
Jus' Like Mama Said >
New Speedway Boogie >
Lost Sailor >
Saint of Circumstance >
II: K.C. Moan@
Masters of War@
When I Paint My Masterpiece@,
Even So > October Queen > The Deep End >
Mississippi Half-Step >
Stuff > Stella Blue >
Playin in the Band (reprise)
12 hours ago