Archive for May 3, 2009

The Dead @ The Spectrum – The Last Stand



Set 1:
On More Saturday Night
Brown Eyed Women
Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl
He’s Gone>
Uncle John’s Band>
Mason’s Children

Set 2:
Good Lovin’
Cumberland Blues
Cryptical Envelopment>
The Other One>
Morning Dew
St. Stephen
Help On The Way
Franklin’s Tower

Samson And Delilah

Stream the show here

Download the show here

Some play-by-play and highlights from this magical evening:

The energy level in the Spectrum on Saturday night was poppin’ – not an empty seat in the house and not a seat in use when the lights went down. The band came out firing with One More Saturday Night giving their first nod to the symbolic closing of the Dead at the Spectrum tradition of 53+ sold out shows over the years. After a raucous, if not perfunctory sounding Saturday Night rendition, the Band kept things moving quickly with tightly executed versions of Brown Eyed Women and Good Morning Little School Gril. Weir started out Good Mornin’ solo and, after getting his sea legs, delivered a soulful and, at times, creepy take mixing in some original improvised lyrics for good measure.

Warren took over and changed things up on Althea – his vocals and guitar rang true and he definitely delivered an improved rendition from the 3/30/09 Roseland show. The first set closing sequence of He’s Gone>UJB>Mason’s Children really took off aside from a botched UJB ending sing along. The band did a great job channeling their frustration out of UJB into a smoking version of Mason’s straight out of 1968. Seemingly minutes after the set began – the band left the stage at 8:45 for setbreak – the crowd stunned with the whirlwind that had just engulfed the arena.

The band really played with the dynamics in Cumerbland swinging from Chimenti’s organ swells to Warren’s lighting speed blues riffing gymnastics to tasteful drum fills – the band doing what they do best – the music playing the band. Dipping into the ether for a  more typical set 2 offering – Phil and Boby led the band through a full on ‘That’s if for the Other One’ rendition alla Anthem of the Sun. This was a lot of fun if not for Bobby’s restrained and, at times, unpredictable vocal delievery on The Other One.

The band boarded the Drum/Space ship and, as they landed, the opening Dew progression emerged. What followed was a beautiful rendition – evoking the intense power of the deep and haunting post-apocalyptic anit-war song. Turning on a dime, the band jumped into St.Stephen:

Stephen was very well played if not, again, perfunctory in nature. The following Revolution was a nice treat and was really played true to spec:

All in all, Revolution was a lot of fun. Seemingly unwilling to stop, the band busted into the famous Blues for Allah medley of Help/Slip/Franklins to close out the set. This definitely had its ups and downs including a botched Franklin’s transition, but the Franklin’s sing along was worth it and a great way to close things out:

Phil emerged for his donor rap and acknowledged the un-matched energy that only the Spectrum can conjure up. The band closed things out with a ritualistic Samson and Delilah – chanting the ‘If I had my way, I would tear this old building down’ refrain – bidding farewell to years of history and a historic building always to be remembered in Deal lore’.

The band really broke out of the mold for this weekend’s spectrum run – leaving behind the restrained and safe playing of the last few weeks and taking things up and notch in terms of creativity and adventurousness (and tempo for that matter). The few bumps along the road were well worth it – let’s hope this train keeps building steam and Truckin’ down the road – one more time.

And if I had my way
I would tear this old building down…