Furthur | 02.05 & 02.06 | Florida

Words by: Andrew Wetzler | Images by: Susan J. Weiand (not from this show)

Furthur :: 02.05.10 :: Bayfront Park Amphitheatre :: Miami, FL

Phil Lesh & Bob Weir - Furthur
Bobby, Phil and team let Miami know that on Super Bowl weekend, they meant business, too. On the first night of their tour, fresh off RatDog's residency in Negril, Jamaica, Furthur brought an energy into the show that matched the pulse of an already hyped town.

Just down the street from where Phish wreaked havoc five weeks ago, Furthur ran through a varied setlist that introduced both the band and a packed audience to Miami's newest outdoor venue, Bayfront Park Amphitheatre.

Seeing both Bobby and Phil onstage was a refreshing sight. They seemed to be enjoying the spotlight together. What made the occasion even more unique was the vigor that their bandmates brought to bear. Joe Russo, a drummer with a highly improvisational style evidenced through his work with The Duo, set the pace, and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti was solid as always. Sunshine Garcia Becker and Zoe Ellis, the two women singing backup, seemed quite gifted, though never really had a chance to roll up their sleeves.

The decision to invite John Kadlecik to perform as "Jerry" worked surprisingly well. The philosophical significance of this move should not be underestimated. Warren, Bruce, Joan, Chris, etc. have all brought a respectable persona to the music, and to their credit none have tried to sing "like Jerry." Kadlecik, by contrast, has made his living and reputation by "being Jerry" with the Dark Star Orchestra, a band he co-founded in 1997.

That Bobby and Phil would bring Kadlecik into the fold says a lot about their willingness to place the music and the audience above their personalities and anyone's vision of what the Grateful Dead was. Kadlecik noted on his website in mid-November, "Most of you know by now that Phil Lesh and Bob Weir have asked me to play with their new band, Furthur. Needless to say, this was a great honor." He played and sang like a wide receiver that just got called up from the Arena Football League and was determined to make the most of his opportunity.

The evening flew by even though we were there for a good while. The band seemed to be relishing the moment and never seemed to be in a rush to hurry songs or head off into the night. That is not always the case with South Florida shows. In many instances, South Florida is either the first or last night of a tour for bands, due to geographical considerations. Opening nights are notoriously rough and tour-ending shows quite often reveal an exhausted bunch ready for some R&R. Friday night was neither. Instead, this Miami audience was treated to a finely polished evening of music.

Furthur :: 02.05.10 :: Bayfront Park Amphitheatre :: Miami, FL Florida
Set I: Jam > Born Cross-Eyed > The Music Never Stopped, Ramble On Rose > Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion, Dear Mr. Fantasy > On the Road Again > Franklin's Tower
Set II: Jam > Throwing Stones > Viola Lee Blues > Mason's Children > Viola Lee Blues > Good Lovin, Lady With a Fan > Terrapin > Shakedown Street, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
E: Ripple

Continue reading for coverage of the next night in Orlando...

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