Furthur | Santa Barbara | Pics | Review

Words & Images by: L. Paul Mann

Furthur :: 09.20.10 :: Santa Barbara Bowl :: Santa Barbara, CA

Bob Weir by L. Paul Mann
Alive and well, despite being quite Dead, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir brought Furthur to the Santa Barbara Bowl last week. Playing a marathon show lasting three and a half hours (with a 30 minute intermission), the fathers of jam band music and their new entourage proved they are still masters of their genre. The show began right at the official 6 pm start time and had aging fans dancing and prancing from the moment they arrived onstage. It seemed everywhere you looked someone was doing some sort of hippy dance. Although most of the crowd was middle- aged and up, there were a surprising number of new wave hippies in their teens and twenties. Throw in a few hundred young children and the crowd truly represented every demographic, resembling a sort of giant, undulating commune.

Furthur is really just an extension of the original Grateful Dead, featuring original members Lesh and Weir with longtime RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, Former Dark Star Orchestra guitarist John Kadlecik, Joe Russo on drums, and backup singers, Sunshine Garcia Becker and Jeff Pehrson. Like the original Dead, Furthur changes the setlist for every performance. It is one of the reasons that avid fans follow the band from city to city and will attend multiple concerts hoping to hear seldom-played rare gems in the Dead catalog.

The Santa Barbara show featured most of side one of their 1975 record Blues for Allah, including "Franklin's Tower," which had the crowd chanting the chorus ("roll away…the dew") in happy unison. In addition to many Dead classics, the band also played "Money for Gasoline" from Weir's RatDog project and a new song called "Seven Hills of Gold." Two classic covers – Traffic's "Feelin Alright" and The Beatles' "Come Together" - also had fans singing like a church choir. At the end of the second set, nearly four hours after the show began, Lesh made a brief plea for people to donate their organs and discussed the liver transplant that had saved his life. The band then played a final song, "Attics of My Life," and took a long bow. It has been a long strange trip indeed, and for these veteran musicians it hasn't ended yet.

Set I:Hell In a Bucket, Cream Puff War, Feelin’ Alright, Me and My Uncle, Althea, Money for Gasoline, Comes a Time, Turn On Your Lovelight
Set II: Viola Lee Blues (first and second verses), Seven Hills of Gold, Viola Lee Blues (third verse), The Eleven, King Solomon’s Marbles, Days Between, Help on the Way > Slipknot!> Franklin’s Tower
E:Donor Rap (liver transplant recipient Lesh’s plea for people to become organ donors), Come Together, Attics of My Life

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[Published on: 9/27/10]

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