Furthur :: 06.03.11:: Shoreline Amphitheatre :: Mountain View, CA
The weather, too, is a huge dancer on the Dead scene, especially at outdoor shows. With both nights facing weather forecasts of an 80-90-percent chance of rain, fan buzz centered on talk of tarps amid concerns about downpours and muddy lawn “seats.” On the days before both nights there was a mad rush of attempts to unload tickets, online and amongst friends, for Shoreline, a venue where only the most expensive seats and stage are covered by the permanent canvas canopy. For the faithful, Friday night’s show opened with The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” At first I found this clever or hopeful that it wouldn’t rain, maybe even a prayer for clear skies at a time of year which is historically balmy and summer-like in Mountain View. Then, I was amazed that the rain held off completely until the last closing notes rung out in the encore!
Musically, band and crew were spot-on. The modern sound system functioned perfectly to spread the intricate jams and vibes evenly around the space, such that I don’t think there was a bad seat in the mid-sized amphitheatre. Absent were the dropouts, distortion or static that have typically plagued shows in earlier decades, and even without being at the lip of the stage, the rumble of Phil’s bass and each of the other players could be heard loud and clear. I used to complain about Furthur’s lack of a set of any kind on stage, just a dynamic light show paired with the traditional oriental rugs and the always-killer state of the art sound system. The magically potent mélange of music they brought to bear more than makes up for the lack of backdrop, puppets and balloons, all of which had been hallmarks of large scale Dead shows in the past.
The rest of the first set clicked along with inspired precision and clarity with JK singing “Bertha” and Phil on “Pride of Cucamonga.” The band switched into electric jug band mode for a relaxed and spacey “Cumberland Blues,” highlighted by John and Jeff Chimenti trading sinister jams back and forth. The set was rounded out by “Deal > The Other One > Hell in a Bucket.” There was one minor band slip with Bobby jumping back into a verse on “Hell in a Bucket” ahead of the rest of the band, but they recovered nicely.
For the second set, the band came out at the energy level usually one would expect of an encore. When John stepped out during his solo in “Help on the Way,” there wasn’t a Jerry lick in sight, but this it seemed was the real John Kadlecik, with violin-like guitar leads reminiscent of Jimmy Page with just a pinch Trey Anastasio. These jams were so fascinating, so mesmerizing and so hypnotic that I was mentally flying down over the crowd to the stage just to crawl up inside one of the amps.
“The Mountain Song:” Here was an example of something fresh and new coming from the group. The song debuted last September and this version is written by Phil Lesh with his son Brian, though the pieces are attributed to seven different musicians including David Crosby and Paul Kantner. In the midst of a song with lyrics about eagles, the band indeed took flight for another brilliant Chimenti piano run.
On “Morning Dew,” right smack in the middle of “Uncle John’s Band,” which was enshrouded by “Playing In The Band,” John K got to again shine as the veteran he is, taking the hallowed Jerry vocals and guitar parts. In the jam toward the end of “Morning Dew,” they brought the volume all the way down, with John wielding clean, precise power much like Steve Kimock, then to slowly bringing the band from a whisper to a scream over the course of several lingering minutes.
Following the second set, Phil, doing his traditional organ donor rap – a nightly appeal to encourage people to be organ donors in case of a fatal mishap – gave a generous and well deserved nod to the audience “without whom,” he said, “the music couldn’t get this weird!” True that, Phil.
Though this reviewer was decidedly impressed by Friday night’s performance, Saturday’s show was also high energy, with its share of magical moments, syncopated interplay between John Kadlecik and Jeff Chimenti and one hell of a party as Heads came out in even higher numbers than Friday night. And with zero precipitation!
Friday June 3rd, 2011 Setlist
1st Set: Here Comes the Sun, Jack Straw, Bertha, Pride of Cucamonga, Cumberland Blues, Deal > The Other One > Hell in a Bucket
2nd Set: Help on the Way > Slipknot > Franklin’s Tower, St. Stephen > The Eleven, The Mountain Song, Playin’ in the Band > Uncle John’s Band > Morning Dew > Uncle John’s Band > Playin’ in the Band Reprise
Encore: Touch of Grey
Saturday June 4th, 2011 Setlist
1st Set: Truckin’ > New Speedway Boogie, It’s All Over Now, Rueben and Cherise > Tennessee Jed, Loose Lucy, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
2nd Set: Weather Report Suite Prelude > WRS Part I > Let it Grow, She Came in Through the Bathroom Window > The Wheel > Shakedown Street, Standing on the Moon, Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain > Not Fade Away
Encore: One More Saturday Night
JamBase | Yay Area
Go See Live Music!
Check out the unbelievable setlist and watch clips from last night’s guest-filled Brendan & Jake’s 15th Annual Holiday Show in Chicago.
Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam is an event unlike any other and this year’s concert was one those in attendance will never forget.
A collection Frank Zappa fans have been hoping would be released for the past 44 years is finally coming.
JamBase is pleased to unveil the initial lineup for May’s 11th annual DelFest.
World-jammers Toubab Krewe will soon release ‘Stylo’ and has shared a taste of the LP as well as a full batch of 2018 tour dates.
The 21st and final installment of Remembering Phish Fall Tour 1997 focuses on the show in Albany, New York that took place 20 years ago today.