Set One: Iko Iko ; Hell In A Bucket ; Loser ; Cassidy ; Dupree's Diamond Blues ; C C Rider ; Deal
Set Two: I Need A Miracle > Bertha ; Playing In The Band > China Doll > Jam > Drums > Space > Playing In The Band > Black Peter > Sugar Magnolia ; One More Saturday Night Encore: Keep Your Day Job
Filler: Let Me Sing Your Blues Away Show from 86-6-9 Cal Expo TJ was pretty sure she was there.
We had a good time. Me, still kinda thinking it was the real band expected a long line of people waiting to get in, wanted to get there the moment the doors open. TJ being a cooler head(heads ARE cool, like our sticker, "if You're Not A Head You're Behind") got us there about 45 minutes before the advertised time and we walked right up to will call and had our pick of seats, in the 5th row. Hall never got much more than half full.
Band hit the stage on Dead time, about 20 minutes late, immediately hit a strong groove with Aiko. First thing I noticed:Jeff Mattson is a bad ass, much stronger presence than Stu Allen.
Well I got to say, that the slight cheesiness of it all is forgotten when the band starts cooking. These guys have learned their lessons well, they breath together like the Dead, actually tighter musically and way better vocally. And the Dead have never had a keyboard player like Rob Barraco, and keys play a much bigger role. Rob is a great singer, did all of Brent's tenor parts strong and crisp. I think it's the quality of that gives it legitamcy.
The other thing is : IT WORKS!!!!! IN spite of a crowd that was a bit small to generate high energy, we did get it off the ground. I think with a couple hundred more than the 500 or so it would have been a better party, but it kept it comfortable for the old folks. And I think that is what the DSO is about. letting middle aged hippies be Dead Heads for a few days. I heard many people talking about the 2 nights before at the Regency in SF, (sample: "It sucks being 50, I am so sore from dancing)
But the main thing is, this is one hell of a band, really listen to each other and really hear, maybe like the Dead without hard drugs The schedule they keep(1876 shows in 12 years) is James Brown worthy, they got to be in great shape. They really look like they are having fun, and when the music turns weird they are right there ready for it. Rob Eaton the guy that does Weir, leads the band on stage just like Bobby did(people always say Gar was the leader, but from what i've seen it was Pig Pen in the old days, and Weir later, at least on stage).
They played a really long 2nd set, and I think they kinda lost the crowd with drums/space and the monster jam after it, before the playing in the band reprise. it started to feel like a yuppie Sunday night, quite a few bailed. The ones that did missed out on one real high pont, Rob Barraco doing Sing Your Blues Away. Not only is he a way better singer than Keith was, he is a way better singer than anyone ever in the Dead and offshoot, even better than Warren Haynes who is one singing white boy in my opinion. I think Rob, having been with Phil gives them a bit of street cred, at any rate he may be the most underrated musician around.
In closing let me say there is nothing like a DSO concert except a Dead show.
I am a lifelong professional musician and unrepentant hippie.I live in downtown Sacramento with my wife, visual artist TJ Lev, my stepdaughter,2 dogs, 3 cats, and 1 bird.
You can see me playing bass for The Jokers,The Bayou Boys, The Jahari Sai Quartet,Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, The Wingnut Adams Funky Soul Brigade, The Bits Band, the Funky Blue Minions, Frankie Lee and the Stardust Cowboys.