Ratdog Revival: 2-5-14
A night like this only comes along once in a lifetime, and in that spirit we orbited our rock star who opened up with Jack Straw riding the dusty plains in ripped pants, a black T-shirt, and Birkenstocks. Our minstrel saunters into the Sweetwater Saloon saluting familiar souls before dropping a coin into the Jukebox slot for Row Jimmy, the poignant lyrics delivered with gusto as we all paddled along. The first set offered a handful of Ratdog tunes including a lurky Just like Mama Said evoking midnight romps in the cypress grove under shivering Himalayan stars, Jay’s cymbals clanging like a revolving prayer wheel melding with Rob’s sonorous bass, intermittently Ace deals out ominous verses to the bedazzled audience. This tune is not a crowd pleaser as Morgan would say but for the true blue it’s as good as it gets and it featured the transcendental fingers of Kimock who supersedes my friend MK on lead guitar. Steve was on point for Cassidy with an epic solo gun-slinging with the chief who was giving cues by tossing his gilded hair. Skimock was euphoric flirting with JC’s keys all evening his lightning lassoing the refrain of scattered words. This incarnation of Ratdog is essentially a jazz band with rock n’ roll blood and they proved themselves adept with a shimmering Milestones, a proper selection on a historic night but all that mattered was dissolving on stage.
After intermission the music intensified with the estimated prophet channeling the divine force and reflecting it back to the universe. The soothsaying lyrics flowing through the air as magical incantations lighting up our imaginations as we rolled into The Other One. Another nod to Neil and the Circus that trundles on into endlessness, after a powerful exploration the band emerged into a heartfelt Dear Prudence all expressions shining like children. My pals onstage, Julie on the rail, Tyler, mom, and familiar faces from bygone shows. At that moment there wasn’t a better celebration anywhere on earth everyone playing in the sandbox together, from the primordial puddle bubbled an entrancing China Cat Sunflower unfolding in pearly rhythms arousing prowling tigers and awaiting virgins, eventually we all stumbled out of the copper palace and into a bluesy Rider with Steve spidangling, Jay grimacing, and Wasserman shrugging sawing his bow on a lumbering upright. I swung mom in my arms for the crescendo to my heroes approving nod, the room overflowing with love during the chorus, Bobby posing with electric guitar crooning us home.
Tim Grossman, Tsenkharla, East Bhutan
Bob Weir and Ratdog, Sweetwater Saloon Mill Valley California, February 5 2014
Jam> Jack Straw, Row Jimmy, Brown Eyed Women, Ashes and Glass, Jus Like Mama Said> Milestones> Jus Like Mama Said, Money for Gasoline