Review: Furthur at Red Rocks, 10/01/11, Night Two

Categories: Last Night

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Chip Kalback
Bob Weir of Furthur Friday night at Red Rocks
FURTHUR at RED ROCKS | 10/1/11, NIGHT TWO
After nearly 50 years of wearing down muscles and tendons in the hands and arms playing the same songs again and again, things have evidently slowed down for the remaining members of the Grateful Dead playing in Furthur. And while you can't fault the band for making things a bit easier on everyone, a lot of energy is lost with the slow-down in tempo.

Take the opener, "One More Saturday Night": Even into the mid '90s, the song was a well-paced tune that got the feet moving. Last night's version was slinky and slow, and though the pacing makes it feel more like raunchy night downtown than a hopping house party, it bordered on sloppy-loose here and there with the not quite connecting in time with drummer Joe Russo.

"Sitting on top of the World," a bluegrass standard was given a funky clavinet, almost String Cheese Incident-like treatment by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. Weir flubbed his way through a solo, saved halfway through by guitarist John Kadlecik's fingerpicked flatpicking-style solo and Chimenti's saloon-boogie piano.

The cover of Ryan Adam's "Peaceful Valley" was the highlight of the first set and the one song that, slowed down, didn't lose any of its passion and energy. Kadlecik's growling, gravelly voice isn't as agonized and desperate as Adams, but it gives the already Dead-esque tune a more reflective and aged feel. The structure of the song gave way to some fluttery, beautiful soloing by Kadlecik held down by Phil Lesh's equally as intricate bass playing.

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Chip Kalback
Furthur at Red Rocks

Steve Winwood's "Gimmie Some Lovin'" lacked any umph or soul, even in Chimenti's take on the classic organ lines that Brent Mydland used to destroy in the 1980s. The band finally connected on all seven cylinders on the Chuck Berry classic, "Around and Around." Weir was finally connecting with the band both on the guitar and vocally by this point, and everyone seemed to relax and give each other room to solo and have fun.

Like the night before, the band played the last notes of first set and shuffled off the stage just a short hour after going on. Night two was more packed somehow than the sold-out night one, with the parking lots getting shut down well before 6 p.m. and people forced to park all the way down past the will-call booth.

Bathroom lines around the venue were all slightly longer during the break last night, too, as half of the visitors center in the rear of the venue was blocked off for a black tie wedding completely unrelated to the Furthur festivities. That might be fine during a half-empty show, but seemed like a complete oversight considering how packed the venue felt.

After a fifty-minute break, the band came back for a soupy, jammy second set that started off appropriately with Pink Floyd's "Eclipse," the closing anthem of The Wall. Lesh handled the vocals and rounded out the booming low end. "Mountains of the Moon" came next, a trippy and spacey tapestry that slowed down the night to a sing-along crawl. It was very well played, and Lesh's basslines were hypnotic, but going into such a mellow song right away didn't set the tone for the rest of the set.

In fact, the "St. Stephen" that followed was easily the highest energy of the night, putting the crowd finally into an arm-flailing frenzy that lasted until Lesh thumped out the opening bassline of yet another deep psychedelic number, "Dark Star," that stumbled along until the band went into "The Eleven." This is another version that suffers from the tempo shift problem. Not that the song isn't a feat of spiderlike guitar playing and uplifting melodies at any pace, but it loses some of its resounding joy when played at a speed that sounds more like a '77 tape stuck in a slow player.

The relatively newly-penned "Mountain Song" picked things up, and you can tell that Lesh and Kadlecik really enjoy the energy of this song and playing something new. In fact, if you think of bands from the '60s that are still around, few are putting out anything new. Let alone something that actually has some substance and quality to it with some resemblance to what the band's original sound was.

But then it was back to more of the same with a mellow "Playing in the Band" that went into a sleepy "Morning Dew." By the time "Playing" came back out of the jam, the side stairs were packed with people waiting for the last note to leave. With the closing notes of the "Uncle John's Band" encore echoing through the amphitheater, the bridge to the upper south lot was swarmed with baby boomers carrying their coolers and blankets back to their cars.

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Chip Kalback
Bob Weir of Furthur at Red Rocks

Again, it's not that these are bad versions of the songs by any stretch of the imagination. Lesh is as good if not better than he has ever been, Weir's voice hasn't changed, and the backing band of Chimenti, Russo and Kadlecik is a powerhouse of musicianship. There's still a lot of that nebulous Magic there that the Dead taps into. But in terms of seeing the songs live, dancing your ass off and getting that charge of energy the entire night - it just isn't what it used to be.

Page down for Critic's Notebook and Setlist.

Location Info

Map

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO

Category: General


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31 comments
Rhlang11
Rhlang11

Not particulary insightful review. Most music reviewers seem not to have a good time at all.  It's mostly a job to them.  Sat and Sunday nights were wonderfully played. Jazzy, funky, good time music, well played ballads but mostly the fans danced the night away and that is still what counts.

David
David

I can't comment on this year's shows, because after a lifetime of Deadheadism, the magic...at least for me...is in the rear-view mirror.  I saw every show Jerry played at the Rocks, and I can tell you they were often hit or miss even then.  The shows were either bloody awful or religious experiences, with a few falling in the middle.  That's why you went all three nights!

 After suffering through the early Furthurs when they hardly played anything Dead, the magic temporarily returned, especially at Red Rocks shows.  It was as though Jerry was watching from above.  However, the last (reunion) Dead show I saw, as well as the last Phil and Friends and Ratdog, have sickened me, due to their lack of passion, and I won't likely pay to see them again.  And this from a guy who has waited in line for many hours in order to get in the first few rows for literally decades.  I too miss Jimmy Herring and Warren greatly, but the single greatest post-Jerry Dead tour was when Joan Osborne sang lead.  She out-Jerryed Jerry on "Sugaree", and the crescendo from the band was spine-tingling.  I wish they could have more of those moments again. 

Papa Time
Papa Time

The word that comes to mind for me is not "slow".  It is "graceful".  May I have as much energy past 70 years old as Phil, may I have as much optimism in my sixties as Bobby.

50 years of anything wears on anyone.  For me every show is a blessing in a day and age that completely lacks meaning, effort, grace, mercy, inspiration, vision, unity, and all the other values that I still (magically) feel when I go to a Furthur show.

Every day, every show could be the last for each and every one of us.  That makes every not a "grace note" in my book.

And why does it work so well for me?  I leave my expectations at the door.

Thank you everyone for allowing Furthur to happen.

Amydimarco666
Amydimarco666

After the awful reviews I was a bit hesitant for Sunday but I must say a fan since 1973 I was pleasantly surprised ! Parking lot was scary why do people bring dogs... stupid humans! Heads were pretty fried but happy as usual and what a gorgeous venue! Phil is 71 give him a break

Scott Robinson
Scott Robinson

This review is inaccurate and Mr. Fletcher doesnot even take the time to reference the songs properly.  Were we at thesame show?  

As far as your references, "Eclipse" isDark Side of the moon, not the Wall. Also, The Spencer Davis group authored"Gimme Some Lovin", and not Steve Windwood.Why didn't you write about how cool the crowd wasand the brotherly love felt amongst the Denver crowd who has welcomed them toRed Rocks more than any other band in history? (I read somewhere Willie mayhave the Dead beat.)I thought I was at times critical of shows attimes, but I need to give credit where credit is due here. At times, the bandwith Brent and Jerry was up-tempo and amphetamine infused but there were alsomany shows that were slow in tempo and heartfelt because Jerry  (andmyself) was a sucker for sad songs that were often times autobiographical andintrospective and seemed to speak directly to everybody in the audience. If you have ever listen to musicians such as Dylan or The Stones, their interpretations of songs over time change, especially if newmusicians or events are brought in, the tempos change and also bring new lifeor meaning to the songs, that's what keeps things fresh especially for a bandthat has spent their lives playing live.You write about a "soupy, jammy second set thatstarted off appropriately with Pink Floyd's "Eclipse," the closinganthem of The Wall. - " I am not familiar with the term "soupy"but I think you mean you did not know where they were going at times. The knotsthese psychedelic boy scouts tied with jams was taken to anew universal level, the sound was oozing with nostalgia for the entire magicalnight.  This is part of the fun of listening to the"Grandfather" of all jam band's who plays off the energy of thecrowd, gives it right back tenfold  and kept me guessing and craving formore. You failed to mention "Next time YouSee" me which was a nod to the late Ron "Pigpen" McKernan and itwas bluesy and Weir was hitting his stride with the confidence of a MaxwellStreet musician who just got his first break.I won't even touch upon "bathroomlines" because that's something we all know too well about Dead shows.They are a necessary evil that need to be timed appropriately.  I thought the build up to "Morning Dew"was "spot on" and it has always been a slow song until the finalverse. Although I am not a huge Dark Star fan, I do appreciate the song andthought that it was cool that each member took a verse and John Kadlecik'guitar work was solid the whole way through. (It should have, he named his band after the song!)

I brought an old friend to Furthur for his birthdayand he was blown away by this bands ingenuity, agility and the symbioticrelationship between the band and their faithful. He was awestruck and looked up to these seasoned veterans who wrote the blueprint for the genre of "jam."I'm very sorry you could not "dance your assof" maybe you should have checked out a Chris Brown or a Justin Biebershow.  Or you could have just stayed home and watched Footloose. Therewere plenty of people looking for tickets who would have enjoyed your seat.

Scott Robinson
Scott Robinson

This review is inaccurate and Mr. Fletcher doesnot even take the time to reference the songs properly.  Were we at thesame show?  

As far as your references, "Eclipse" isDark Side of the moon, not the Wall. Also, The Spencer Davis group authored"Gimme Some Lovin", and not Steve Windwood.

 

Why didn't you write about how cool the crowd wasand the brotherly love felt amongst the Denver crowd who has welcomed them toRed Rocks more than any other band in history? (I read somewhere Willie mayhave the Dead beat.)

I thought I was at times critical of shows attimes, but I need to give credit where credit is due here. At times, the bandwith Brent and Jerry was up-tempo and amphetamine infused but there were alsomany shows that were slow in tempo and heartfelt because Jerry  (andmyself) was a sucker for sad songs that were often times autobiographical andintrospective and seemed to speak directly to everybody in the audience. If you have ever listen to musicians such as Dylan or The Stones, their interpretations of songs over time change, especially if newmusicians or events are brought in, the tempos change and also bring new lifeor meaning to the songs, that's what keeps things fresh especially for a bandthat has spent their lives playing live.

You write a "soupy, jammy second set thatstarted off appropriately with Pink Floyd's "Eclipse," the closinganthem of The Wall. - " I am not familiar with the term "soupy"but I think you mean you did not know where they were going at times. The knotsthese psychedelic boy scouts tied with jams was taken to anew universal level, the sound was oozing with nostalgia for the entire magicalnight.  This  is part of the fun of listening to the"Grandfather" of all jam band's who plays off the energy of thecrowd, gives it right back tenfold  and kept me guessing and craving formore. 

You failed to mention "Next time YouSee" me which was a nod to the late Ron "Pigpen" McKernan and itwas bluesy and Weir was hitting his stride with the confidence of a MaxwellStreet musician who just got his first break.

I won't even touch upon "bathroomlines" because that's something we all know too well about Dead shows. They are a necessary evil that need to be timed appropriately.  

I thought the build up to "Morning Dew"was "spot on" and it has always been a slow song until the finalverse. Although I am not a huge Dark Star fan, I do appreciate the song andthought that it was cool that each member took a verse and John Kadlecik'guitar work was solid the whole way through. (It should have, he named his band after the song!)

I brought a friend to Furthur for his birthdayand he was blown away by this bands ingenuity, agility and the symbioticrelationship between the band and their faithful.

I'm sorry you could not "dance your assof" maybe you should have checked out a Chris Brown or a Justin Biebershow.  Or you could have just stayed home and watched Footloose. Therewere plenty of people looking for tickets who would have enjoyed your seat.

Pributtus
Pributtus

Furthur is the best fusion psych jazzlounge style music heard live and on tour today. Love it or not, these lounge lizards are in my opinion, really playing a new style of music. Maybe a new 'sound' or 'twist' of loungejazz is a better use of words. So I must agree with you in terms of creating something new.... (I enjoy it).

Ed Watts
Ed Watts

Hate to be such a nerd about this, but, technically Gimmie Some Lovin was originally done by the Spencer Davis Group (of which Steve Winwood was a member)

-Ed Wattsrockandrollnerd.wordpress.com

Mississippi Half Step
Mississippi Half Step

Comparing the Dead to String Cheese is like comparing Sinatra to Bieber.

This clown has no idea what he's talking about. Best show I've seen since I was on tour in '91.

yourmom
yourmom

i like your review & share similar sentiments about last night.  this afternoon/tonight was a whole different ballgame.  heatfire & super fun.  haters gonna hate...let's not forget the love we all get from this shit.

Alankbraden
Alankbraden

The pace of the entire show was like they were all on downers...qualudes...or something.. I was thoroughly disappointed in the pace of most of the songs, the lack of energy and the song selection was weak (at best.)  I have seen over 150 Dead Shows and the only way I can get excited with Furthur is if they Blow out the set list which they did not.. by a long shot.  I used to go get a beverage whenever Phil would sing...but to let him do his awful vocals on so many songs was hard on the ears, slow paced and dull as I mentioned.  This was far from a great night...the "magic" is missing as well as the energy of seeing the Dead.  In a way I feel sorry for Phil and Bobby...trying to cling on to the past ..but at this point...it is just that...the past.  I drove from Fort Collins returning at @ 2:30 AM (due to the mess in the lots) which made the night more miserable for me.  TOTAL Disappointment  Sorry guys ....but I'll spend my money to see PANIC or TOOL any day before I spend $70.00 on a GA ticket for Further again.  I'm miss the Magic!     Cancun Alan

whynot
whynot

Maybe I'm just an aging boomer, but you don't get to hear vintage psychedelia played live by those who developed the sound. Quite a treat in my opinion getting time warped back to 1966. Furthur could cruise through sets of accesible Dead standards but chose to play a challenging set. Grate stuff!

Eivroc
Eivroc

I thought the second set was amazing. I haven't felt that good in a long time.  Phil was rockin and bobby was jazzin and John K was jammin and Jeff was dancing on the keys and the drums and the backup vocals... Sweet! Another great Red Rocks night.Time moves on... Enjoy the present.  Peace.

Thepeterbach
Thepeterbach

I much prefer the muscular, methodical pace you describe as "slow" to the Coked up speed deamon pace of the 80' dead. Much prefer today's take on this music by Phil n bob. Just like the pyramids, The broader the foundation, the higher you can build the peak...as evidenced by last nights morning dew alone. Hopefully this approach will weed out the folks like you who prefer they would choose speed over substance. The fewer the critics that find their way in front of me, blocking my view at the show only to complain that Jerry isn't here anymore the better.

Thanks for helping the readers make this important distinction.

guest
guest

Eclipse is from Dark Side not The Wall

Good review though.

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

Great review; you are being too nice. Maybe the altitude is starting to affect Bobby and Phil. I don't know. They don't seem to be into it like they used to be. 

I miss Herring, Molo, and Haynes. Best line-up ever. 

I have a feeling tonight is going to be a rocker.

Johnny
Johnny

Boyd is a dick who write to save his plucking life.

ColoradoMark
ColoradoMark

I couldn't agree more with you Scott.  The second set was full of mystery and grassroots jams!  I think you should be writing these reviews, not Boyd.  Your a true fan who knows the band's past, present and future.

mb
mb

That is simply an impossibility...

123
123

You are a complete douche bag.  Blocking you, waht are you talking about...you are an asshole.  You should stay home and listen to them by yourself.

mb
mb

I agree with the writer here...the jams sounded great at times, but definitely went nowhere. The pyramid comparison is a good one, but last night's show did not peak much, if at all. I was sadly very let down...the whole first set was disjointed and flat. Sorry to say, but true.

BF
BF

Thanks for catching that. I wrote that down correct initially then changed it to the Wall like an idiot.

Guest
Guest

the best version of this band was called the grateful dead. it had a guy named jerome garcia playing lead guitar. you should check them out

mb
mb

Sad 123 is so angry and inappropriate. I guess the truth hurts. It is actually humorous and quite telling reading your comments...douche bag, asshole? How about a reason for a difference of opinion...would love to hear it. Peace.

Gdjack
Gdjack

haha from a 'music critic' no less (at least the one westword can afford to hire)

fail

MB
MB

Very likely...he makes me giggle.

Mikebritt_99
Mikebritt_99

The Eclipse error kills any credibility for me with this review.  Earlier this year, Westword listed top 5 Bob Dylan recordings of all time and put Dylan and the Dead on it, while omitting Desire and Blood on the Tracks.  Unbelievable.

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