Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: 7/24/2021

Yes! Live music is here again. This marks my first concert since Patti Smith at the Fillmore in March of 2020.

Earlier this week I was having breakfast with my wife, and she was reading the newspaper and asked me, “Did you know that Bob Weir is playing this weekend in Berkeley? Says tickets are $75.” I said I wasn’t aware and asked if she wanted to go with me, and she said yes, so I promptly went online and ordered two tickets to pick up at will call. Being a long-time Grateful Dead fan, it seemed appropriate that this would be my first post-pandemic concert. And I was particularly excited to go to the Greek Theatre. This is one of those legendary concert venues, so that just made the event all the more special.

When I ordered the tickets, I was notified about Covid restrictions. All concert attendees must present either proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test. I had been procrastinating getting my official “Covid Passport” through the State of California, even though I am vaccinated. So I got that, and had a picture of my vaccine card on my phone, just in case.

Berkeley is a good hour’s drive for us, so we left early, since it was a general admission show, we had to deal with will call, and we wanted to grab some dinner before the concert. We got there and there were lines of Deadheads extending from both the north and south gates, two hours before show time. I wasn’t really worried, though. We went and got the tickets easily enough, then walked about a half a mile to a Mexican restaurant called Celia’s. The service was quick and the food was good. My wife and I both had combo fajitas.

After dinner, we went and got in line. Gates were open at this time, and entry was seamless. We did have to show our vaccine record, but that was easy and in no time, we were in the Greek. I have to say, just the stage itself was impressive.

The show started at just a few minutes past 7:00, and they opened with “Not Fade Away,” a Crickets’ cover which was a standard Dead song but I had never seen it played as an opener. The band sounded really good, and we particularly liked the horn and string ensemble that was supporting them.

About halfway through the first set, Bobby announced that a guest would be joining them for a song, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. For those of you who are not familiar, Ramblin’ Jack is an American country/folk icon. At 89, it is amazing that he was able to join the band on stage. They performed a cool version of “Mule Skinner Blues,” which I really enjoyed.

While the rest of the first set was solid, I have the say that the second set was amazing. It was like Bobby was playing to the fans, connected on a spiritual level, and each song seemed to have some poignant meaning. The lights were amazing, and we were on our feet dancing almost the entire show.

If I had to pick a high point, I would have to go with “Standing on the Moon.” I love that song, and they did it so beautifully, I felt truly moved.

The show concluded with “Ripple” as an encore, segueing into a reprise of “Not Fade Away,” bringing the musical experience full circle.

Again, I cannot emphasize enough how much I have missed going to live music performances. I’m glad they are back.

Here is the full setlist from the show. Stay safe, and rock on!

Set 1:

  • Not Fade Away >
  • Cassidy
  • She Says
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Black-Throated Wind
  • Tennessee Jed
  • Mule Skinner Blues (with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott)
  • Weather Report Suite >
  • Let It Grow

Set 2 :

  • You Win Again >
  • Scarlet Begonias >
  • Playing in the Band (with ‘So What’ by Miles Davis snippet) >
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Playing in the Band (reprise) >
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • The Other One (with ‘So What’ by Miles Davis snippet)
  • Standing on the Moon
  • One More Saturday Night

Encore:

  • Ripple >
  • Not Fade Away (reprise)

Crosby and Nash: 9/30/2007

I recently watched the David Crosby documentary, which was sad because it showed how messed up he was and how he burned bridges and lost all his musical friends. I did get to see Crosby, Stills and Nash before this show, but I don’t have a stub (it was an outside festival gig and I just payed my admission at the gate).

I went with my wife to this concert and we saw friends of ours there, which was nice, even if we were not sitting together.

The show was very good, and David and Graham harmonized beautifully together. The selection of songs was also great, spanning their long career together. As I reflect back on this show, I again feel sad knowing that these two will never perform together again, that the animosity is too great to overcome. But at least we have the wealth of music they created together.

Here is the setlist, and thanks David and Graham for the great music that you brought to us through the years.

Set 1:

  • Military Madness
  • Marrakesh Express
  • Long Time Gone
  • Lay Me Down
  • Immigration Man
  • In My Dreams
  • I Used to Be a King
  • Carry Me
  • Cathedral
  • Déjà Vu

Set 2:

  • Guinnevere
  • Milky Way Tonight
  • Just a Song Before I Go
  • Naked in the Rain
  • Wasted on the Way
  • Jesus of Rio
  • To the Last Whale…A. Critical Mass B. Wind on the Water
  • Almost Cut My Hair
  • Wooden Ships

Encore:

  • Our House
  • Teach Your Children

Neil Young and the International Harvesters: 9/15/1985

I remember this performance clearly; the only thing I don’t remember about this concert was who I went with. Obviously, I was focused on Neil.

The International Harvesters were a country band backing up Neil on this tour, which was cool because they played a lot of acoustic tunes that went over really well, such as “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man” and “Helpless.” And even the more intense Crazy Horse tunes, like “Down by the River” and “Powderfinger” actually sounded really good with the country flavor.

I am a huge Neil Young fan and would see him multiple times after this with Crazy Horse, but I have to confess that it was very cool seeing him with this configuration. There is something about Neil’s country-style music that just soothes my soul.

Here is the setlist. Long may Mr. Young keep playing music for us.

Setlist:

  • Country Home
  • Comes a Time
  • Lookin’ for a Love
  • Heart of Gold
  • This Old House
  • Southern Pacific
  • Interstate
  • Sugar Mountain
  • Helpless
  • California Sunset
  • Nothing Is Perfect
  • Field of Opportunity
  • Down by the River
  • Old Man
  • Powderfinger

Encore:

  • Get Back to the Country
  • Grey Riders

Wilco: 4/21/2009

The first time I heard Wilco was when someone turned me on to their collaboration with Billy Bragg, which is an amazing album (check it out if you are not familiar). After that, I began to explore more of Wilco’s music and gained a deep appreciation for them. Since I had not seen them before, my wife and I jumped at the opportunity to see them at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, an intimate venue.

There really isn’t a whole lot to talk about with this show. Wilco was amazing, and I had a wonderful evening with my wife. Sometimes just enjoying live music with someone you love is all you need.

Here’s the setlist.

Setlist:

  • Sunken Treasure
  • Remember the Mountain Bed
  • You Are My Face
  • I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  • Pot Kettle Black
  • Handshake Drugs
  • She’s a Jar
  • Impossible Germany
  • At My Window Sad and Lonely
  • Forget the Flowers
  • Jesus, Etc.
  • I’m Always in Love
  • A Shot in the Arm
  • Box Full of Letters
  • Heavy Metal Drummer
  • Hummingbird (with Lilac Rain – vocals)

Encore:

  • The Late Greats
  • Candyfloss
  • Hate It Here
  • Walken
  • I’m the Man Who Loves You

Encore 2:

  • Misunderstood
  • Hoodoo Voodoo
  • I’m a Wheel

Neil Young: 2/6/1983

This was my first time seeing Neil Young, and I was really psyched. Neil was such a huge influence on me as a young guitarist (pun intended). He was performing two shows at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, and I don’t recall why, but I only got a ticket to see him on the second night.

The Knight Center was a great venue in downtown Miami, relatively small and with great acoustics. There was not a bad seat anywhere in the house.

This was a solo tour in support of the Trans album, which had come out the previous year. It was just Neil by himself with various guitars, harmonicas, keyboards, and a banjo. He took his time, selecting what instrument to play, and seemed 100% comfortable on stage. And he played for a long time, not shying away from songs that usually have a full band (“Powderfinger” and “Down by the River” come to mind).

I would go on to see Neil multiple times in the future, including four times with Crazy Horse, but this first time seeing him holds a magical place in my heart.

Here’s the setlist, and may Neil keep on rockin’ for many more years.

Setlist

  • Comes a Time
  • Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Down by the River
  • Only Love Can Break Your Heart
  • Soul of a Woman
  • Are There Any More Real Cowboys?
  • Cowgirl in the Sand
  • My Boy
  • Helpless
  • Dance, Dance, Dance
  • Southern Man
  • Don’t Be Denied
  • The Losing End
  • Cortez the Killer
  • Powderfinger
  • Ohio
  • Sail Away
  • After the Gold Rush
  • Transformer Man
  • My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
  • Mr. Soul
  • Sugar Mountain
  • I Am a Child
  • Computer Age

Hot Tuna: 1/24/1988

I’ve seen Hot Tuna a lot of times, so the shows tend to blend together in my memory, but this one stands out. I went with my friend Jon to this one, and Jon was also a huge Tuna fan, so we were pretty psyched.

The Carefree Theatre was an old movie theater in West Palm Beach that opened in 1947 and was converted to become a venue for smaller acts. It was a really cool place for a concert, because every seat was a great seat. That said, we had sixth row, so we were close to the stage.

This was the classic acoustic Hot Tuna duo, with just Jack and Jorma. They played a long time and the crowd was really into it. Great selection of songs, including “Good Shepherd,” which hearkened back to Jack and Jorma’s days with the Jefferson Airplane.

I was able to find a partial setlist on tunabase.com. Sorry I can’t fill in the blanks, but it was over 30 years ago. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • I Know You Rider
  • Hesitation Blues
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • I See The Light
  • Candy Man
  • 99 Year Blues
  • Killing Time In The Crystal City

Set 2:

  • Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
  • Ice Age
  • Too Many Years
  • Sea Child
  • Trial By Fire
  • San Francisco Bay Blues
  • How Long Blues
  • Good Shepherd
  • I Am The Light Of This World

(missing rest of set)

RatDog: 10/13/1996

After Jerry Garcia’s death on August 9, 1995, Bob Weir’s solo project RatDog, which featured Rob Wasserman on bass, became one of the regular bands for lost Deadheads to flock to. I think this might have been my first RatDog show, since I don’t recall seeing them while Jerry was still alive, but if I discover an older stub, I will certainly amend this post.

The show was originally booked at The Edge, a club in Fort Lauderdale, FL. But the venue was changed to the Sunrise Musical Theatre, presumably because tickets were in such high demand that they needed a larger location.

According to the RadDog website, a band called Low and Sweet Orchestra opened, but I have no recollection of them. In fact, I don’t remember much about this show, although I have an impression of seeing Bobby performing “Bomb’s Away” and “Blackbird” at the Sunrise. This is a common problem when you have seen as many Dead-type shows as I have. They all tend to blend together after a while, and subtle distinctions are lost.

Anyway, here’s the setlist, courtesy of the RadDog site. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Bombs Away >
  • Salt Lake City
  • City Girls >
  • Eternity
  • Blackbird
  • Desolation Row
  • Tanqueray
  • I Know You Rider
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Minglewood Blues
  • The Winners
  • Cassidy >
  • Bass/Drums >
  • Throwing Stones

Encore:

  • Johnny B. Goode

Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band: 3/27/1999

This was my second time seeing Ringo.  The first time was cool, but this show was light years better.

The lineup for this incarnation of the All-Starr Band was nothing short of mind-blowing.

  • Ringo Starr – drums, vocals
  • Todd Rundgren (from Nazz and Utopia) – guitar, percussion, vocals
  • Gary Brooker (from Procol Harum) – organ, keyboards, vocals
  • Jack Bruce (from Cream) – bass, keyboards, vocals
  • Simon Kirke (from Free and Bad Company) – drums, vocals
  • Timmy Cappello – saxophone, keyboards, harmonica, guitar, vocals

The band opened the show with “It Don’t Come Easy,” which is maybe my favorite Ringo solo song and one that he did not play the first time I saw him. This show also had a nice amount of Beatles tunes woven in. And the songs from the other members—WOW! Todd actually played some Utopia, Simon sang some Bad Co. and a Free song, Gary Brooker sang some classic Procol Harum stuff, including Conquistador, and Jack Bruce belted out several Cream hits. There was absolutely no weak spots anywhere in this show.

Here’s the full setlist. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • It Don’t Come Easy
  • Act Naturally
  • Whisky Train
  • I Saw the Light
  • Sunshine of Your Love
  • Shooting Star
  • Boys
  • Love Me Do
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Conquistador
  • Hammer in My Heart
  • I’m the Greatest
  • No No Song
  • I Feel Free
  • All Right Now
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Bang the Drum All Day
  • White Room
  • A Whiter Shade of Pale
  • Photograph

Encore:

  • You’re Sixteen
  • With a Little Help From My Friends

The Black Crowes and Gov’t Mule: 11/29/1996

I went to this show with my friend Greg, who was also the other guitarist in a band we were in at the time called The DV8s. Greg was a little reluctant to go to this show with me, because Dike Dale was playing the same night at a dumpy little club in Miami. But after some convincing, he agreed to go with me, so we made the drive up to Broward County to see the show at the Sunrise Musical Theatre.

We had no idea that Gov’t Mule was also on the bill. In fact, although I was familiar with Warren Haynes as a guitarist, I had not even heard of this band. But we ran into a friend of mine in the lobby, and he was all stoked about the Mule, and told me it was Warren’s new band. I got excited too. Over the years, I would see Gov’t Mule many times, but this was the first time seeing them.

Anyway, we grabbed our seats and Mule opened the show. They were really really good! Powerful, a lot heavier than what I expected, having only seen Warren with the Allman’s and solo. And you can’t go wrong opening with a Zappa tune.

After a short intermission, The Black Crowes took the stage. They were great, and the crowd was psyched. But there was a moment there when Chris Robinson got pissed and stopped the show. Some asshole in the crowd had a laser pointer and was shining it at the stage, and I guess zapping Chris in the eyes. He stopped mid song and yelled at the unknown light-saber wielding jerk, cursing and making threats. I can’t blame him. The incident did not surprise me, though. South Florida concert fans were notoriously rude.

After the show, Greg was still focused on trying to see Dick Dale. He calculated that if we drove straight to Churchill’s Hideaway in Miami, we could make it in time. I was never one to pass up on some live rock and roll, and I did want to see the King of the Surf Guitar, so we went for it and made a bee-line to Churchill’s. We paid the admission at the door (so no ticket stub) and squeezed in. Dick Dale was great, but SO FUCKING LOUD! I love some loud guitar as much as the next person, but this was actually painful. I considered leaving, but like an idiot, I stayed. I do not exaggerate when I say that my ears were ringing for three days afterwards. I genuinely thought I had permanently damaged my hearing. Maybe I did. But the ringing eventually subsided.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I found the setlists for both Gov’t Mule and the Black Crowes from that night. Here they are. Rock on!

Gov’t Mule Setlist:

  • Pygmy Twylyte
  • Blind Man in the Dark
  • Mother Earth
  • Game Face
  • Birth of the Mule
  • Grinnin’ in Your Face
  • Mule

Black Crowes Setlist:

  • One Mirror Too Many
  • Sting Me
  • Evil Eye
  • High Head Blues
  • Girl From a Pawnshop
  • Wiser Time
  • Ballad In Urgency
  • Hotel Illness
  • Mr. Spaceman
  • Nothing Love Everything
  • Black Moon Jam
  • Black Moon Creeping
  • Big Time
  • Hard To Handle

Encore

  • Sometimes Salvation
  • Twice as Hard

The Who: 8/16/1997

“Quadrophenia” is one of my favorite Who albums, so when I saw they were touring and performing the album in its entirety, I didn’t even hesitate. My friend Jim also wanted to go, so we got the general admission field tickets, which were pretty cheap. We figured we would get there early and snag a decent spot, which was what we did.

Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ was the opening act. I had not seen them before, but I had heard of them. They were good; better than your average opener. But I was definitely stoked to see The Who.

How to describe the energy when the band kicked in to “The Real Me”? Words fail me. John Entwistle was all over that bass with his spider fingers. “The Real Me” was my buddy Jim’s favorite Who song, so he was instantly blown away.

The rest of the show was nothing short of excellent. They played through all of “Quadrophenia” and then returned for an encore which was actually more like a second set. They even tossed in some Who silliness and played a little bit of “It’s a Small World,” conjuring the Disney energy of being in Florida.

But what stands out the most for me about this particular show was the very end… the last note of “Who Are You.” Pete took his guitar and slammed in into the stage. While this was not the wanton guitar destruction of yore, it was the only time I saw Townsend “smash” a guitar on stage. It is one of those iconic rock images that is burned into the collective rock and roll consciousness.

I would see The Who perform Quadrophenia again years later, after Entwistle’s death. That show was great for other reasons, but this one has a warm spot in my heart.

Here is the full setlist. “Long Live Rock!”

Quadrophenia

  • I Am the Sea
  • The Real Me
  • Quadrophenia
  • Cut My Hair
  • The Punk and the Godfather
  • I’m One
  • The Dirty Jobs
  • Helpless Dancer
  • Is It in My Head?
  • I’ve Had Enough
  • 5:15
  • Sea and Sand
  • Drowned
  • Bell Boy
  • Doctor Jimmy
  • The Rock
  • Love, Reign O’er Me

Encore

  • I’m the Face
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Substitute
  • I Can’t Explain
  • It’s a Small World ([Disney] cover) (Partial; sung by Roger)
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Who Are You