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Rick's Rap   - August 2004


      Last night Barb and I went to see the Dead at Nisson Pavillion.

Barb's Comments:

      First the Saga. Second the Review.

We leave at 3:30 with plenty of time for a 6pm show. Four Corners & The Beltway - bumper to bumper all four lanes; turn on AM 1500; accident outer loop at 355 & beltway; get off at Georgia Ave; weasel our way through Forest Glen, Beach Drive, to 355 & Beltway; back on track. 66 West - take first exit marked for Nissan; looking for quick eats and then show; no nothing on the road; pass sign to turn right for Nissan; keep looking for food; turn around take road to Nissan; pass Nissan; hit another road; find a Wendy's; FOOD; while eating chick in line with dude...she's starts screaming & crying & wailing & freaking out; everyone stares; Rick & I just look at our food; dude consoles her and they leave; all is good. Get to Nissan; parking excellent; get to security check; Rick empties his pockets; pocket knife and two metal nail clippers; NO NO; Rick goes back to van to leave contraband (he loves to walk ya know); Rick finally gets back; we walk up long long long hill of stairs; Rick stops three times; get to seats; very good seats in shade; all is good. End of 1st set; I can't hear Herring; I go to sound man; walk right up to the guy; he's nice and asks me to stop and back up; I take two steps back; I see him motion to someone/thing behind me that it's ok no risk; YIKES, I've crossed past the two security guards "protecting" the sound board crew; ha ha some protection; anyway the guy and I talk about Herring being quiet and could they punch him up...the crewman ways "we feel your pain"; we laugh and I say thanks. Second set Herring is heard!; sweet. I thank the crew after the show BUT it's a different group of guys and I get the distinct impression they thought I was from la-la land...just another dead head! During set breaks I start chatting (imagine that) with a chick in the bathroom; turns out she's getting married next month and wants a dead cover band....HEY HEY she has RCB's website; back at our seats we start chatting with people; more gig possibilities and we meet a studio guy/dead drummer who would like to gig with RCB. Goes to show you don't ever know......End of show, drive home easy and uneventful.

Ok....the show was great! However......they are not the Dead. The band was tight, driving and great harmonies....but they just didn't have the Dead sound. They played a lot of covers the first set and threw in some Dead tunes. The dynamics on the Dead tunes were missing. The second set Weir sang some of his cowboy songs (i.e, mexicalli blues, casey jones) and that livened up the audience. Of course there was the traditional space drum solos. Lesh was just popping the base, Kreutzman & Hart were wailing on the drums (for old geezers....i bet a stress test on these guys would go for hours), and Weir just seemed to hang on....he looked real tired. We have no idea who was on keyboard. The keyboard player was good though, very tasteful! Herring and Haynes were awesome. Herring really got the Jerry sound with excellent fingerboard work. Haynes plays formidable slide. He very much is in the vein of the Allmans and southern rock. He also was the main singer and he has a truly good voice. At times you might think the show was Warren Haynes and the Dead.....i suspect he has an ego!? All in all, they gave a great show. I think if I ruled the world....I'd drop Haynes and keep Herring for the guitar work....then go find a good male lead singer. But hey, they haven't asked me.....yet! ps - you can read my complete review in Variety.

      Ok, have I rambled enough from hippie heaven? ....barbara :)

Rick's Comments:

      The scene in the parking lot doesn't seem to have changed much in the last 30 or so years. Concert security seems to be a bit tighter, however.

      Phil was animated and energetic throughout the show, and in fine form, both vocally and instrumentally.

      Bob seemed to be phoning his performance in. He looked haggard, he seemed to be having trouble remembering lyrics, and his guitar playing, while certainly competent, seemed to be devoid of those Bobby chords and riffs that I remember enjoying so much. He seemed to be content to hang back and just let Warren dominate the show. Who knows, maybe sharing the stage with a vocalist like Warren, and a couple of guitar players like Warren Haynes and Jimmy Herring is a tad daunting? Or maybe he just wasn't feeling well.

      The Rhythm Devils were certainly full of piss and vinegar, and the drum extravaganza was awesome (I think this was the first time I didn't use it as an opportunity to make a head call).

      This was also the first time I'd ever heard Mickey sing. I don't know what the song was, but I liked it.

      Warren Haynes is the best slide guitar player I've heard since Duane Allman.

      Jimmy Herring is a BEAST! During the space jam the video cameras zoomed in on him, and even though I had a great view of his hands, I have no clue how he was getting those sounds. If I thought there was a chance that buying a PRS with 3 P90's would let me sound like that I'd cough up the money in a heartbeat. I got several great views of his guitar, and I didn't notice a talent knob, so I guess he just had to supply that himself. Oh well.

      It looked like most of the performers had teleprompters. A number of times, the camera caught people obviously reading their words and/or arraignments while they were performing. These are all world class musicians, and the performance was pretty much flawless. It was also pretty obviously scripted, not at all like those halcyon days of yore, when the hallmark of a Dead show was that at any given moment, damn near anything could happen.

      I liked the show, but probably not enough to go back to Nissan any time soon to see another one.


      Stay tuned,


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