RatDog & Keller Williams | 07.24 | CO

Words by: Haig Assadourian :: Images by: Tony Stack

RatDog/Keller Williams :: 07.24.07 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: Morrison, CO

Keller Williams :: 07.24 :: Red Rocks
The summer heat has been consistent in Colorado. It had been weeks without moisture. So, Keller Williams' opener of "Sunny Rain" may have been wishful thinking for an afternoon storm to refresh the crowd. Alas, the storm never came but the evening cooled down mercifully as the sun eventually set behind the amphitheatre.

Williams' stew of funky folk jams was well received by the full, early crowd, who found enough energy to dance in the heat. It was also a more organic sounding set than past efforts. K Dub typically employs a heavy dose of phrase sampling that lets him build his songs with a half dozen guitar lines and rhythms, but this set was primarily played with an acoustic guitar that, coupled with Red Rocks Amphitheatre's impeccable sound system, bathed the audience with clean sounding melodies. He broke out his 8-string electric on "Slowmo Balloon," which grooved with samba-like reverb, and in typical Keller fashion, he imitated a trumpet solo with his lips. It's clear Williams has a musical vision for complex song structures but at times that vision is constrained by his economical one-man band approach. I sometimes wish he'd assemble a permanent small band that would free him from "setting up" all his loops.

Williams & Weir on "Dark Star" :: 07.24 :: Red Rocks
Keller Williams' strong suit is his observational lyrics that have emerged from a life as a Deadhead and a traveling musician. "Gate Crashers Suck," with its vengeful vitriol against gatecrashers at the Dead's '95 Deer Creek, Indiana show which caused the second gig to be canceled, is brutally hilarious. "Ensuing Freakiness" relays the joys of being a musician on the jam scene. He's an honest cat who wears his heart on his sleeve and pours his energy into every song.

Thanks to a local radio station contest, yours truly had a chance to meet and greet with some of the band members before and after the show. Williams told us backstage that there would be some unrehearsed songs tonight. So, when he announced, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," as the sun eased below the ridgeline, we anticipated a surprise. Sure enough, Bob Weir joined to close out the set with an acoustic Dark Star duet that lasted almost 15 minutes, causing the rowdy crowd to hush in an effort to take it all in. A couple bats swirled high above the stage, apparently soaking up the vibrations. This was my highlight of the night.

Bob Weir of RatDog :: 07.24 :: Red Rocks
It turns out Weir was battling a stomach illness during the day so I kept a close eye on him during RatDog's first set. Coincidentally, Rob Eaton from Dark Star Orchestra was sighted nearby in the audience, so I half-jokingly figured if Bobby falls ill, Eaton could step in. The band wandered through a dark, mysterious intro that segued into a "Shakedown Street" that was played more like the slower album version than the more up-tempo version the Dead played live. The pistons were still trying to fire during a pedestrian "Minglewood Blues," but with Dylan's "She Belongs the Me" the band hit their stride with Jeff Chimenti's keyboard crescendos underscoring Weir belting out lines like "She wears an Egyptian ring that sparkles before she speaks. She's a hypnotist collector, you are a walking antique."

Amidst the heavily Dead-oriented setlist was a relatively new RatDog composition, "Money for Gasoline" (previously known as "Frankie and Johnnie") that sounds great. It has a trademark Weir song structure with plenty of choruses but a jazz heart filled with back-to-back solos from Chimenti, sax player Kenny Brooks and guitarist Steve Kimock, who's filling in for the ailing Mark Karan on this tour. Kimock has a fair amount of history with Weir and the Dead repertoire, having played in The Other Ones and early Phil Lesh & Friends lineups. On "Loser," the pace slowly picked up and Kimock was given some room to take the lead. I was eagerly anticipating his "voice" in this lineup. When he was given the opportunities, he delivered in spades.

Bob Weir & RatDog :: 07.24 :: Red Rocks
After a somewhat lackluster "Brown Eyed Women," the set concluded with a stellar "Weather Report Suite" > "Let It Grow." Williams had stayed on for these last songs and offered a nice complement to Weir's playing and vocals. The guys were spot-on as Kimock's guitar moaned, perfectly playing off Brooks' searing horn solos and Chimenti's driving chords.

The second set took a decidedly more mellow path. "Me and My Uncle," a predictable pick, whose lyrics ("I'm as honest as a Denver man can be") and country western melody was appreciated by the crowd. It was but the first of several songs where Weir's vocals seemed more sedate. Perhaps I was looking for reasons but I thought about whether his illness was tempering his performance. The next sequence of "Victim Or The Crime," "The Weight" and "Mississippi Half-Step" affirmed my fear that the band was cruising a bit. Kimock's playing felt frustratingly restrained in this stretch. Adding insult was a strobe light assault during "Half-Step" that didn't let fans watch the band.

Bob Weir of RatDog :: 07.24 :: Red Rocks
Weir briefly left the stage while Kimock crafted an expansive introduction to "The Other One," which rejuvenated the set with sublime weirdness from each player and an enjoyable set of bass bombs from Robin Sylvester. A "Stuff" jam continued the exploration into alien space funk wrapped around the "Magnificent Seven" western movie theme song. "Standing on the Moon," typically a Garcia song, has taken on a more emotional form under Weir's stewardship. During his delivery of "a lovely view of heaven but I'd rather be with you," the jumbotron screen caught him weeping a tear.

Karan's absence has obviously impacted this tour. His recently discovered throat tumor threw everyone for a loop and his treatments will keep him off the tour through the summer. Not coincidentally, RatDog's performance was subdued, emotional and mysterious. The song selection of the second set offered several opportunities to express some of these emotions, although I had hoped for a little more fire along the way. Although some wished for more, the band delivered on a visceral level that clearly connected with the audience throughout the evening.

Setlist :: 07.24.07 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: Morrison, CO

Keller Williams
One Set: Molly Malloy > Sunny Rain > Beautiful Oblivion (Eve 6), Back Of The Bus (G Love), Breathe > Teen Angst (Cracker), Slowmo Balloon, Loop > Boob Job (David Wilcox), Mullet Cut, Ensuing Freakiness, You Are What You Eat, Gate Crashers Suck, Till The Morning Comes (Grateful Dead), Best Feeling, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band), Dark Star (Grateful Dead)#
# - w/ Weir

RatDog
Set I: Jam > Shakedown Street > Minglewood Blues > She Belongs to Me, Money for Gasoline > Loser*, Brown-Eyed Women*, Weather Report Suite Prelude/Part 1 > Let It Grow
Set II: Me and My Uncle@4, Victim or the Crime@, The Weight@, Mississippi Half-Step > The Other One > Stuff > Standing on the Moon > Sugar Magnolia
E: At a Siding > Terrapin Flyer
Show with Steve Kimock (Guitar); *-with Keller Williams (Guitar/Vocals); Mark was absent; "WRS" tease before "Brown-Eyed"; Stuff included "Magnificent Seven" theme; Bob sat in with Keller on "Dark Star" (Keller Williams opened)

JamBase | Colorado
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[Published on: 8/9/07]

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Comments

phishr82 starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/9/2007 01:40PM
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phishr82

nice review. but i do have to disagree with the statement that keller would be better off with a small band. he's dope the way he is! if you haven't seen him in a small venue, then do so now!

Weezer starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/9/2007 02:44PM
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What is it with these JamBase reviewers man?! Keller Williams should have his own band?!! The show was dark and mysterious?!! Man, were we even at the same show??? Jussssss kiddin' . . . Nice review Haig. Really fun show. I thought the Minglewood and the Brown Eyed were pretty good. Have a listen on Archive.org. Shakedown was too slow though and Kimock needs to learn to stand up when he plays. But man did he tear off a good one on Let it Grow. Overall, really good show. And again nice review and nice pics. If Bobby was sick that was a textbook example of how to rally!!

sleewell starstarstar Thu 8/9/2007 04:24PM
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sleewell

i agree with some of what he was saying, i saw them a couple weeks back at the greek in LA. really subdued and mellow overall, a few points of excitement but i was expecting more. i wanted to rock out but it just wasnt there. thank goodness phil is back this fall, cant wait to see him drop bombs.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 04:11AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

looks good =)

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 06:02AM
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RothburyWithCheese

Wish I could have been there. Somewhere Jerry is smiling!

pheelalrights starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 08:02AM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
AdCo Fri 8/10/2007 08:37AM
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AdCo

pheel youre a bitter person.

calling keller a no-talent hack is just absurd. regardless of your opinion of the direction of his career, hes certainly got plenty of talent. i could keep going but i wont waste my time.

you say "this is a joke to keep the dough comin’ Bobby now looks like Jerry, but can’t even compare."

did you maybe consider that bobby, who has been a professional musician for his entire life, might simply enjoy playing music? that he formed a band so that he could keep performing, and that the money is secondary? i highly doubt you even know what youre talking about.

its sad that jerry's not around anymore and that we cant see gd anymore, but ive had a great time at many a ratdog show. the music never stopped...

crescentvale star Fri 8/10/2007 09:12AM
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crescentvale

I disagree with the "I sometimes wish he'd assemble a permanent small band that would free him from "setting up" all his loops". When he would play with String Cheese it wasn't bad, this tour is not worth watching. The setlists show that. The back-up band has little, to no talent. Keller by himself is worth driving 5-10 hours and paying 20 bucks for a ticket up front. Real fans don't pay rent on time.

O1Roggae Fri 8/10/2007 09:22AM
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O1Roggae

Bob Weir and the keller tag-team is epic in my opinion. I would like to see phil and bobby play together again

Lord-K. starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 09:23AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Lord-K.

Actually Pheel has a legitimate argument about doing it for the money. You must have not read this article that was on jambse a few months ago...http://www.jambase.com/headsup.asp?storyID=9614&pageNum=2#comments

Hill420 Fri 8/10/2007 09:25AM
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Pheelalrights...you sure you're feeling alright? Where's the love man?

pheelalrights starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 09:27AM
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pheelalrights

Thank you for your concern about my affect AdCo, actually I'm pretty at peace right now considering my personal situation, but I digress.

IMHO, Keller is a hack. You have an HO, don't you?

Bobby's current band is a joke. The last time I saw them I had to sit through the second set w/o Bob, and it was awful. Now, I loved Bobby when he played with Wasserman. Furthermore, I remember well the days of the The Grateful Dead (you know the one with Jerry Garcia) whom I saw almost a 100 times, so I do believe I have the perspective one needs to intelligently discuss this.

Bobby goes to camp with Donald Rumsfeld (sp) in the summer up in Marin. Why don't you check it out sometime. It's not about the money. Let's reflect on that. We live in a capilistic, individulistic culture like it or not. The Grateful Dead toured like they did because they had an enormous organization to support. Why do think Jerry played shoreline after Brent's death? He did it because of contracts. My brother, you obviously don't know what you are talking about as far as RatDog is concerned. Bobby loves making music, and he also loves making money. Why don't you look at where his roots are in the bay area before coming to TGD. He was the token prety and rich kid.

It's all true, like it or not.

pheelalrights starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 09:27AM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

pheelalrights

Thank you for your concern about my affect AdCo, actually I'm pretty at peace right now considering my personal situation, but I digress.

IMHO, Keller is a hack. You have an HO, don't you?

Bobby's current band is a joke. The last time I saw them I had to sit through the second set w/o Bob, and it was awful. Now, I loved Bobby when he played with Wasserman. Furthermore, I remember well the days of the The Grateful Dead (you know the one with Jerry Garcia) whom I saw almost a 100 times, so I do believe I have the perspective one needs to intelligently discuss this.

Bobby goes to camp with Donald Rumsfeld (sp) in the summer up in Marin. Why don't you check it out sometime. It's not about the money. Let's reflect on that. We live in a capilistic, individulistic culture like it or not. The Grateful Dead toured like they did because they had an enormous organization to support. Why do think Jerry played shoreline after Brent's death? He did it because of contracts. My brother, you obviously don't know what you are talking about as far as RatDog is concerned. Bobby loves making music, and he also loves making money. Why don't you look at where his roots are in the bay area before coming to TGD. He was the token prety and rich kid.

It's all true, like it or not.

Hill420 Fri 8/10/2007 09:31AM
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I should have added that Keller and Bob playing Darkstar together made my 3 hour drive worth it....and I saw Jerry too!

Bylimb Fri 8/10/2007 09:35AM
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Bylimb

Pheelalrights, Ummm...about the whole "anybody who KNEW the fat man would know what I'm talking about" high horse b.s., Did you know him? Or are you speaking in terms of his music? I had an art teacher back in grade school that said the Dead sucked after Pig died...I have friends say the Dead sucked after Brent died...they would walk out of shows because they couldn't stand watching "the fat man" deteriorate right in front of their eyes! Not to mention the scene! It all depends on who you ask, so as for me, I'll be glad to not see you at Bobby shows! One man gathers what another man spills...

SCI123 Fri 8/10/2007 10:09AM
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put some clothes on bobby this aint the 70's!!

AdCo Fri 8/10/2007 10:10AM
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AdCo

pheel sorry about the "personal attack" i know im in violation of the guidelines, but regardless...

to clarify i didnt say its not about the money. i proposed that bobby formed and tours with ratdog primarily because hes a professional musician and the money is secondry. obviously he wants to make money, who doesnt? ive read many books and have a clear understanding of the GD organization that their tours meant to support.

i can't really comment on the rumsfeld issue because i don't know much about this camp, but i dont really think you should hold it against him that he came from an affluent background. he was a misfit and a hooligan as much as anyone was in that scene.

i will agree that ratdog shows can be hit or miss. personally ive seen more hits than misses, and theyve rocked my socks off. and i just have fun when keller plays.

at least we do agree on one thing...dark star is the shit and a hell of a good time.

for the record im fuckin fired up to see ratdog/keller/allmans in camden next friday!

Marcsmall Fri 8/10/2007 10:14AM
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Marcsmall

This review was not indicative of the show, which I attended. The only lackluster song the whole evening was Shakedown...The rest was phenomenol, and Kimock was all over it. I often wonder about the people who write these reviews. Sounds to me like the author of this article was suffering from altitude sickness and just cannot handle the thin air up here.

CSchneids929 starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 10:17AM
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its all about phil. echo is gonna be nasty

SCI123 Fri 8/10/2007 10:18AM
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pheelalrights i am a fan of both keller and bobby but i see where ur coming from....ive seen keller b4 where he could blow my mind then other shows i almost wanna leave casue it sounds the same as the 20 other times ive heard him play a song..and bobby...not to sure what hes always doin. his band isnt that sick but i do like the addition of kimock even though hes a cock

EVILFUNK Fri 8/10/2007 10:51AM
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EVILFUNK

I want my sbds back!

AdCo Fri 8/10/2007 11:12AM
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AdCo

you sit in some cottage cheese, evilfunk? oh, thats just your ass

Relevant starstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 12:01PM
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Like trying to explain to someone who never went to a Grateful Dead show what the experience was like, especially if they aren't/weren't fans of the Dead, if you have never been to The Camp or The Club, you have no idea what its about. Unfortunately, Bobby gets bashed way too much for trying to do something different with the music he has been playing since he was a teenager. The same cannot be said about other members of the Boys. To throw stones at Bobby because he didn't put together a new Grateful Dead is just plain disrespectful.

kaland starstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 12:42PM
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If you've seen my snack pail, please return it to me ASAP.

threef starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 02:22PM
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Kimock does not need to stand up when he was ripping it as hard as he was, barefoot and all. I really liked when he got down like he was playing a sitar. Kimock plays the deads songs better that anyone else. I can't wait to see him with PBS at nedfest.

pheelalrights starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/10/2007 07:55PM
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pheelalrights

Alright, Bobby's new band isn't that bad. You guys must love it. That's great.
Peace, brother.

acomma Sat 8/11/2007 07:38AM
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acomma

Keller does somewhat bore me. Haven't heard him with the WMD'S, but I'm sure a band would benefit him.

boxofrain Sun 8/12/2007 04:12PM
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I thought the Ratdog show @ All Good wasnt anything special at all!! anddddd Kimock is a rude dickhead

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/13/2007 05:58AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

boxofrain,, why is kimock a rude dick exactly??

cuttyfives Mon 8/13/2007 03:53PM
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i saw kimmock in Flagstaff and he stopped the show due to talking and said this isnt a fucking Moe show!

brewer247 Mon 8/13/2007 03:58PM
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brewer247

I love the pics (nice job Tony), but have to disagree with the review. I thought the show was rather good. Not every show needs to be hard core and off the hook. I thought the sound was great and have been listening to the soundboard for the last few weeks. Mellow at times but great performance none the less. Damn fine show!

boxofrain Mon 8/13/2007 06:37PM
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A couple of friends of mine see him after a show in Dc awhile ago and they say hey great show and whatnot! And Kimock told them yeah it was alright but you guys need to find a new hobbie besides following bands around?? Sounds like a real winner to me MILESGONE

ADORCHAK Tue 8/14/2007 08:14AM
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ADORCHAK

Oh I see, Kimock is rude because the audience was carrying on like it was some sort of frat party instead of listening to the music for which they paid to hear. OK then.

acomma Tue 8/14/2007 03:04PM
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acomma

That makes no sense. If he (Kimock) told fans they needed new hobbies, then I suppose he needs to stop consistently giving fans a reason to tour and stop playing.

torn&treyed Tue 8/14/2007 03:06PM
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hey jambase I thought of a great suggestion, how's about a feature that says you can't comment on show review articles unless that band(s) is in your favorites, that way people who hate a band cant upset the people who like it without saying "this band is in my favs" that way it would severly cut down on all the back and forth..... wanna hire me I'm full of good suggestions

angelaa77 starstarstar Wed 8/15/2007 03:28PM
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angelaa77

I was there & I had goose bumps on more than 1 occassion. The stars were out & the air was warm, emotions were high, it was perfect! I wished they would have done more than 1 night though!

huxster Thu 8/16/2007 10:29AM
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I love the Dead but Bobby was downright awful at All Good. He forgot the lyrics to the first 2 songs of his show. Casey Jones too!! I have never been a big fan of Keller and all of his stupid noise tricks but he rocked it at All Good. He had one of the best performances of the festival. Ratdawg should never headline a festival ever again, period.

Tim starstarstar Fri 8/17/2007 06:14AM
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Tim

I attended this show and thought it was very good unlike the reviewer of this report. Kimock really got into his parts despite the laid back tempo that Ratdog prefers. His solos pushed the performance to a "more than a cover band" level.

Here are some images I took... www.tmcdphoto.com/concerts/rd_at_rr

guitardave starstarstarstar Wed 8/22/2007 12:12PM
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guitardave

Nice pics Tim. Although, KW has to lose that Dutchboy hairdo and Weir looks like he's going to a Rotary Club barbecue. He looks like Jerry its almost like a page out of "Single White Female". Bringin sexy back 07! The worst thing you can say about Ratdog is that they lack all kinds of stage presence but they can sound pretty nice, too.

PCPrabbit Tue 8/28/2007 12:42PM
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PCPrabbit

ratdog is sweet. sometimes they play slower sets or just plain weaker setlists, but they have their moments. comparing them to the dead is fruitless cause you can't compare ANY band to the dead. i mean come on. some times you can't even compare the dead to themselves!!! listen to a couple 80's shows then listen to may of '77!! (there are a ton of good 80's shows, don't get me wrong).

freekfreely starstarstar Tue 8/28/2007 03:29PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I went to this show as well.

Keller was good ,an average show the Dark Star was slow and kinda spacy. Rat Dog started slow and really never got much going until Weather Report. Even the Shakedown was slow and hard to dance to, it was hard to tell when to yell "WOOO!". Second set picked up a bit more. The At a Siding>Terrapin Flyer was cool to see, but pretty lackluster. Kimock was subdued and held his solos to a minimum, they kind of wasted his talent. If this is waht Rat Dog is about these days , I dont think I need to see to much more.

I hope PHIL plays a more rocking and uplifting show next month.