• October 13, 2011
    http://www.dead.net/features/blair-jackson/blairs-golden-road-blog-down-monterey
    Blair’s Golden Road Blog - Down in Monterey

    The people came and listened/ Some of them came and played/ Others gave flowers away, yes they did/ Down in Monterey

    —Eric Burdon & The Animals, 1967

    Road trip! Could it really have been 17 years since Regan and I hit the highway for a weekend of concerts somewhere? It was such a part of our lives for so many years—Eugene, Santa Fe, Reno, Vegas, L.A., Irvine, Red Rocks, Telluride, Ventura, Sacramento. Yep, Sacramento ’94 was our last hurrah, and that year we brought our babysitter on the road with us to stay at the El Rancho motel (we called it the “El Rauncho” because the ol’ place had fallen into disrepair) to take care of our kids, then just seven months and 3, during the shows.

    After Jerry died, we still hit nearly all the Bay Area shows by the various post-GD bands, but we never felt compelled to travel to go see RatDog or Phil & Friends and deal with sitters and hotels and all that. But the kids are older now—17 and 21—and Regan and I have been digging Furthur so much we thought it would be a gas to catch their two shows down at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, stay in a nice motel, get into that touring head space for a few days.

    I vividly remember going to see the film Monterey Pop in New York City with my older brother and a friend right after it opened in January 1969. Living in the suburbs, there was no guarantee this “art film” was going to make it to our neck of the woods, and there was no way I was going to miss it. I was already a huge fan of the San Francisco bands that appeared in the film—the Airplane, Country Joe & the Fish and Big Brother with Janis—and the whole San Francisco/Summer of Love mythology still loomed large in my imagination, even though I had read that things had changed since that film had been shot. But seeing all those great bands (plus Jimi and Otis, etc.) and the beautiful hippie girls and the overall groovy vibe of the event as portrayed (and romanticized) in the film, had a powerful effect on me. And when I visited San Francisco with my family that summer of ’69, it was all over—I knew where my destiny lay.

    Here’s Mike DuBois’ stunning official
    poster for the fall tour.

    So I was both thrilled and intrigued to finally make it to the Monterey Fairgrounds to see Phil and Bob’s first appearance there since June 18, 1967. Once the gates opened on Friday afternoon, we excitedly raced down a long walkway lined with dozens of craft booths and food concessions—a nice touch that added to the pleasing retro aspect of the weekend. However, as I turned a corner to enter the back of the cozy oval amphitheater, I was immediately struck by how shabby the place was. It looked as if it hadn’t seen a new coat of paint since 1967, and the entire floor of the arena was soft dirt/mud (it had rained midweek) covered with tons of wood shavings and sawdust—it was sort of like being in a giant hamster cage! Good for equestrian events, I guess. Disappointing aesthetics aside, the place did have an intimate feel, with its narrow covered grandstands and the high stage clearly visible from most spots in the venue (except behind the large sound booth about a third of the way back on the floor). We put our blanket down about 10 or 12 feet in front of the soundboard, dead center. The place filled slowly (a lot of folks came late from work or got stuck in traffic), and the pre-show mood was very upbeat.

    I wish I could report that the Friday Furthur concert was the killer show of the year, but it was actually the weakest concert I’ve seen by this band. The first set was a motley affair. From the outset, it appeared that Bob was off his game. He was unsure of himself lyrically and both his pitch and timing were unsteady. “Two Djinn” was mostly a tuneless mess in the verses and “Mission in the Rain” not much better. The sound where we were should have been perfect, but it wasn’t—we could hear John K. cutting through only intermittently, and the overall balance seemed poor. Even so, “Pride of Cucamonga” and “Candyman” were both fairly well done, and I dug the set-ending “Quinn,” mostly for novelty’s sake. Considering the amazing song list folks at the Greek Theatre in L.A. had been treated to the previous night (for what turned out to be the Steve Jobs Memorial Show), it was a pretty disappointing set.

    Unfortunately, Set Two had many of the same problems. It started out promisingly with a spry JK version of “Any Road” (a nice choice to end the week when HBO premiered its two-part Martin Scorsese documentary about the song’s author, George Harrison). But “Estimated” was a tad sluggish and the jam afterward positively leaden before it lurched clumsily into “Deal.” “Playing in the Band” was a vocal disaster and played at a glacial, uninspired pace. The “Dark Star” that followed was an improvement, but felt misplaced and somewhat forced.

    Which brings up the Tyranny of the Set List. Now, I give major props to Furthur for continually coming up with imaginative and varied set lists. They’re supremely conscious about doling out big tunes and “special” songs at every stop, and most nights they deliver on the promising set list. But on a night like this one, when the band was struggling and the transitions mostly clumsy or nonexistent, going through the prescribed set list seemed like a chore. Can you imagine Garcia, on a night when things were not going very well, suddenly launching into “Dark Star” because it’s the next tune on the list? No, and that was part of the beauty of no list — whim and vibe and a sensitivity to the moment played a large role in dictating the course of the set, as did their attempts to create graceful passages from one key to the next as another determining factor in song choices.

    The hodgepodge of songs that followed “Dark Star” was uneven, as well, with a few strong numbers—particularly “King Solomon’s Marbles” and “Dear Prudence” (Weir’s best song of the evening)—but also more turgid jamming that went nowhere. Our little group walked back to the motel after the show wondering what the hell we’d just witnessed—could it really have been that bad?—but hopeful that Saturday night would bring a stronger show.

    (I should note that I listened to a recording of the show on archive.org a couple of days later and it did sound considerably better to me. The guitar was loud enough and the mix in general more normal. But Weir was still “off,” there was little continuity between songs and the jamming was often aimless.)

    We spent a glorious sunny Saturday morning and early afternoon eating like kings and soaking in golden rays of California sunshine on a beach in nearby Carmel. Now, that’s livin’! Because of the sound issues we had at the Friday show (not to mention the distracting hordes of beer-swilling folks constantly passing through our area), we decided to dance in the side grandstand for Night Two. We snagged seats in the front row, pretty close to the stage on the JK side, and prayed that the sound would be good there.

    This was our view from the side grandstand in Monterey
    about an hour before show time. If you look closely,
    you can see the wood shavings covering the dirt floor.
    Photo: Regan McMahon.

    And it was! From the first moments of the opening “Feel Like a Stranger,” it was like seeing a different band. The sound was just about perfect where we were, JK was assertive from the get-go and Bob was confident and in control. I have seen many a Dead show marred by the crazy energy of distracted Saturday night crowds, but when JK went into a loping “Althea” second song of the first set, everyone was right there with him, hanging on every word. John has developed a special vocal rapport with Sunshine Becker that really elevated “No More Do I” (one of my favorite post-Dead originals) and, especially, the rare first-set “Comes a Time,” which was filled with passion and soared in a way that no song had the previous night. “Viola Lee Blues” felt like a fond nod to the Dead’s appearance in Monterey 44 years earlier, and the potent set-ending “Throwing Stones” seemed as pointedly topical in today’s political climate as it did when it was introduced nearly two decades ago.

    The second set was filled with one highlight after another. I know there are those who think “The Golden Road” is lightweight fluff, but I’ve loved every version I’ve seen, and it always gets the crowd movin’. “Shakedown Street” kept the party going with its big, funktacular groove, and then it was on to a solid “Truckin’” (with nary a lyric flub!) and a healthy closing jam that eventually ended up (though not very smoothly) at “Let It Grow.” “Watchtower” was another nice surprise (to me, anyway), and that led to what I felt was the strongest song of the two nights—a spectacular “Morning Dew” that John sang with tremendous power and absolute commitment. His playing on the song was spot-on, too, and his high-speed “fanning” at the end of the final buildup was so stirring, it filled my heart with joy. The crowd was as quiet and respectful as can be, its connection to the music palpable.

    Everything after that was gravy. The thundering ovation for the magnificent “Dew” was still swelling when the band leaped right into “Help on the Way”—also solid and sure-footed. But instead of the expected segue into “Franklin’s,” “Slipknot!” instead veered into a great version of “The Eleven” before finding its way back to a joyful “Franklin’s.” Everyone may have expected the “Saturday Night” encore, but looking around the old arena, all I saw was smiling faces and flailing bodies, dancing like there was no tomorrow. What a night!

    Fun road trip. It will be interesting to see if the scattered reports of gate-crashing and unruly behavior by ticketless fans outside the arena and in the surrounding neighborhood before, during and after the concerts affect the band’s ability to return to Monterey. Why, it’s just like the bad old days of the late ’80s and early ’90s Dead scene all over again: “Wherever we go, the people all complain.”

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The people came and listened/ Some of them came and played/ Others gave flowers away, yes they did/ Down in Monterey

—Eric Burdon & The Animals, 1967

Road trip! Could it really have been 17 years since Regan and I hit the highway for a weekend of concerts somewhere? It was such a part of our lives for so many years—Eugene, Santa Fe, Reno, Vegas, L.A., Irvine, Red Rocks, Telluride, Ventura, Sacramento. Yep, Sacramento ’94 was our last hurrah, and that year we brought our babysitter on the road with us to stay at the El Rancho motel (we called it the “El Rauncho” because the ol’ place had fallen into disrepair) to take care of our kids, then just seven months and 3, during the shows.

After Jerry died, we still hit nearly all the Bay Area shows by the various post-GD bands, but we never felt compelled to travel to go see RatDog or Phil & Friends and deal with sitters and hotels and all that. But the kids are older now—17 and 21—and Regan and I have been digging Furthur so much we thought it would be a gas to catch their two shows down at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, stay in a nice motel, get into that touring head space for a few days.

I vividly remember going to see the film Monterey Pop in New York City with my older brother and a friend right after it opened in January 1969. Living in the suburbs, there was no guarantee this “art film” was going to make it to our neck of the woods, and there was no way I was going to miss it. I was already a huge fan of the San Francisco bands that appeared in the film—the Airplane, Country Joe & the Fish and Big Brother with Janis—and the whole San Francisco/Summer of Love mythology still loomed large in my imagination, even though I had read that things had changed since that film had been shot. But seeing all those great bands (plus Jimi and Otis, etc.) and the beautiful hippie girls and the overall groovy vibe of the event as portrayed (and romanticized) in the film, had a powerful effect on me. And when I visited San Francisco with my family that summer of ’69, it was all over—I knew where my destiny lay.

Here’s Mike DuBois’ stunning official
poster for the fall tour.

So I was both thrilled and intrigued to finally make it to the Monterey Fairgrounds to see Phil and Bob’s first appearance there since June 18, 1967. Once the gates opened on Friday afternoon, we excitedly raced down a long walkway lined with dozens of craft booths and food concessions—a nice touch that added to the pleasing retro aspect of the weekend. However, as I turned a corner to enter the back of the cozy oval amphitheater, I was immediately struck by how shabby the place was. It looked as if it hadn’t seen a new coat of paint since 1967, and the entire floor of the arena was soft dirt/mud (it had rained midweek) covered with tons of wood shavings and sawdust—it was sort of like being in a giant hamster cage! Good for equestrian events, I guess. Disappointing aesthetics aside, the place did have an intimate feel, with its narrow covered grandstands and the high stage clearly visible from most spots in the venue (except behind the large sound booth about a third of the way back on the floor). We put our blanket down about 10 or 12 feet in front of the soundboard, dead center. The place filled slowly (a lot of folks came late from work or got stuck in traffic), and the pre-show mood was very upbeat.

I wish I could report that the Friday Furthur concert was the killer show of the year, but it was actually the weakest concert I’ve seen by this band. The first set was a motley affair. From the outset, it appeared that Bob was off his game. He was unsure of himself lyrically and both his pitch and timing were unsteady. “Two Djinn” was mostly a tuneless mess in the verses and “Mission in the Rain” not much better. The sound where we were should have been perfect, but it wasn’t—we could hear John K. cutting through only intermittently, and the overall balance seemed poor. Even so, “Pride of Cucamonga” and “Candyman” were both fairly well done, and I dug the set-ending “Quinn,” mostly for novelty’s sake. Considering the amazing song list folks at the Greek Theatre in L.A. had been treated to the previous night (for what turned out to be the Steve Jobs Memorial Show), it was a pretty disappointing set.

Unfortunately, Set Two had many of the same problems. It started out promisingly with a spry JK version of “Any Road” (a nice choice to end the week when HBO premiered its two-part Martin Scorsese documentary about the song’s author, George Harrison). But “Estimated” was a tad sluggish and the jam afterward positively leaden before it lurched clumsily into “Deal.” “Playing in the Band” was a vocal disaster and played at a glacial, uninspired pace. The “Dark Star” that followed was an improvement, but felt misplaced and somewhat forced.

Which brings up the Tyranny of the Set List. Now, I give major props to Furthur for continually coming up with imaginative and varied set lists. They’re supremely conscious about doling out big tunes and “special” songs at every stop, and most nights they deliver on the promising set list. But on a night like this one, when the band was struggling and the transitions mostly clumsy or nonexistent, going through the prescribed set list seemed like a chore. Can you imagine Garcia, on a night when things were not going very well, suddenly launching into “Dark Star” because it’s the next tune on the list? No, and that was part of the beauty of no list — whim and vibe and a sensitivity to the moment played a large role in dictating the course of the set, as did their attempts to create graceful passages from one key to the next as another determining factor in song choices.

The hodgepodge of songs that followed “Dark Star” was uneven, as well, with a few strong numbers—particularly “King Solomon’s Marbles” and “Dear Prudence” (Weir’s best song of the evening)—but also more turgid jamming that went nowhere. Our little group walked back to the motel after the show wondering what the hell we’d just witnessed—could it really have been that bad?—but hopeful that Saturday night would bring a stronger show.

(I should note that I listened to a recording of the show on archive.org a couple of days later and it did sound considerably better to me. The guitar was loud enough and the mix in general more normal. But Weir was still “off,” there was little continuity between songs and the jamming was often aimless.)

We spent a glorious sunny Saturday morning and early afternoon eating like kings and soaking in golden rays of California sunshine on a beach in nearby Carmel. Now, that’s livin’! Because of the sound issues we had at the Friday show (not to mention the distracting hordes of beer-swilling folks constantly passing through our area), we decided to dance in the side grandstand for Night Two. We snagged seats in the front row, pretty close to the stage on the JK side, and prayed that the sound would be good there.

This was our view from the side grandstand in Monterey
about an hour before show time. If you look closely,
you can see the wood shavings covering the dirt floor.
Photo: Regan McMahon.

And it was! From the first moments of the opening “Feel Like a Stranger,” it was like seeing a different band. The sound was just about perfect where we were, JK was assertive from the get-go and Bob was confident and in control. I have seen many a Dead show marred by the crazy energy of distracted Saturday night crowds, but when JK went into a loping “Althea” second song of the first set, everyone was right there with him, hanging on every word. John has developed a special vocal rapport with Sunshine Becker that really elevated “No More Do I” (one of my favorite post-Dead originals) and, especially, the rare first-set “Comes a Time,” which was filled with passion and soared in a way that no song had the previous night. “Viola Lee Blues” felt like a fond nod to the Dead’s appearance in Monterey 44 years earlier, and the potent set-ending “Throwing Stones” seemed as pointedly topical in today’s political climate as it did when it was introduced nearly two decades ago.

The second set was filled with one highlight after another. I know there are those who think “The Golden Road” is lightweight fluff, but I’ve loved every version I’ve seen, and it always gets the crowd movin’. “Shakedown Street” kept the party going with its big, funktacular groove, and then it was on to a solid “Truckin’” (with nary a lyric flub!) and a healthy closing jam that eventually ended up (though not very smoothly) at “Let It Grow.” “Watchtower” was another nice surprise (to me, anyway), and that led to what I felt was the strongest song of the two nights—a spectacular “Morning Dew” that John sang with tremendous power and absolute commitment. His playing on the song was spot-on, too, and his high-speed “fanning” at the end of the final buildup was so stirring, it filled my heart with joy. The crowd was as quiet and respectful as can be, its connection to the music palpable.

Everything after that was gravy. The thundering ovation for the magnificent “Dew” was still swelling when the band leaped right into “Help on the Way”—also solid and sure-footed. But instead of the expected segue into “Franklin’s,” “Slipknot!” instead veered into a great version of “The Eleven” before finding its way back to a joyful “Franklin’s.” Everyone may have expected the “Saturday Night” encore, but looking around the old arena, all I saw was smiling faces and flailing bodies, dancing like there was no tomorrow. What a night!

Fun road trip. It will be interesting to see if the scattered reports of gate-crashing and unruly behavior by ticketless fans outside the arena and in the surrounding neighborhood before, during and after the concerts affect the band’s ability to return to Monterey. Why, it’s just like the bad old days of the late ’80s and early ’90s Dead scene all over again: “Wherever we go, the people all complain.”

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The people came and listened/ Some of them came and played/ Others gave flowers away, yes they did/ Down in Monterey

—Eric Burdon & The Animals, 1967

Road trip! Could it really have been 17 years since Regan and I hit the highway for a weekend of concerts somewhere?

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I agree with your review, Blair, and thanks for being bold enough to critique!First night was definitely the least strong Furthur show I've seen. This was only my second trip out of the Bay Area to see live shows since Jerry died...I absolutely HAD to go to see Furthur in Coney Island, playground of my youth...and so glad I did. Keep them blog entries rolling! Peace to you.
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damn it, if your memories of that saturday night haven't piqued my interest into giving Furthur another try! i will lope on over to archive.org in search. great atmosphere in that pic too; amps alive with the low-buzz in anticipation. sawdust looks inviting; what time were the circus elephants on?
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Great to read an actual Blair Jackson review again. Feels like old times.
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the first night of monetery was my birthday and when i saw that setlist rolling in i was sooo happy, on paper it looks like a KILLER show. im really sad to hear bobby was having an off day. Several of my friends and i have been talkin bout how bobby has been having more and more off days lately. seems he's in a funk or whatever. i made the eugene shows and those were fantastic! just great great shows!
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I'm checking out Furthur again at Amherst show next month. I thought they put on a very good show at Foxboro last summer. I've seen them about 5 times now and have enjoyed all of the shows. Especially liked their "Mountains of the Moon" at Worcester show.
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Always love that one, too. Consistently inventive musically between the verses and the more recent arrangement with Sunshine and Jeff P. helping out takes some of the vocal load off Phil... One thing I didn't get into that was kinda cool in Monterey was that about three or four times during each show, airplanes--including jets--would soar low right over the edge of the arena as they were coming in for landings at the local airport nearby. It ALWAYS got a big cheer to see this huge thing zooming by, lights flashing, roar of engines audible above the musical din... Looked like a props in a movie...
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I seem to remember reading somewhere that Phil's wife and Bobby's manager are responsible for making up the set lists, which is an interesting way to shake things up, I suppose, but it's also sort of strange for this type of music, since neither of these individuals have to bring the list to life on stage. The main problem that I have with the set list approach is that it constrains where the music can go. As Blair notes, gone are the days when "whim and vibe and a sensitivity to the moment played a large role in dictating the course of the set". This music has always been structured, but built in a way that allows for freedom within the form. I'd say that Furthur's current approach strongly favors structure over formlessness, which produces a relatively consistent product, but which also severely limits the opportunities for something previously unconsidered to emerge into being.
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We also noticed Weir was almost broken in Monterey. After a barn burner in Vegas and two solid shows at the Greek it did make up for it. Definitely some high points as Blair pointed out. What we noticed mostly between the nights were the scene after the shows. Friday they had a nice place for vendors to hawk there goods and place for heads to chill after the show. It seemed to work perfectly. On Saturday they decided not to let happened. Making for quite a scene in the streets. There were plenty of unroolley characters causing one bad seen after the next. (Fucking Wookies) k I said it! It's so sad to see these people coming in to Monterey not to see the music and to bring the scene down. It was not controlled chaos it was chaos chaos. It would be hard to imagine that Monterey would extend an invite to Furthur again... so sad. I believe Monterey needs to shoulder some of the blame. I don't think they had any idea what they were in for. Some dumpsters (garbage control) would have been smart. After the event the sidewalks had 2 feet of garbage. Some of the worst I have seen in over 20 furthur shows I have seen in the past 2 years. I think if they would have opened up the lot for vending again and kept everyone contained like friday night they would have saved many headaches. I don't want to sound like a negative nelly but it was really disappointing to see Monterey get trashed by a few bad decision from the town and the wookies that fight amongst each other. And really, what the f is up with all the pit bulls. Bringing your pit-bull two shows sounds like a drag.
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...was the sight of so many really young children with their fingers in the air looking for extras for their parents. Barefoot and dirty... I worry about the life these kids are leading...
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because we're so famous for being such a self-policing scene and all, but what are we supposed to do about stuff like this?
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Reminds of the line from Jelly's Last Jam when Buddy Bolden says to a young Jelly Roll Morton about playing music written down: "that's like waking up in the morning, and knowing you'll be alive at the end of the day." From Phil, who once quoted Karl Wallenda, "the wire is life," it's a bit of a disappointment, but it is certainly better than not playing at all. It's bit like seeing a experienced magician: the trick still produces a wow, but there's not much actual magic in it.
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What a difference between the magnificent natural splendor of Red Rocks and the description here of Monterey. Why play a venue like this rodeo arena?I've turned over the setlist issue in my mind and come to the conclusion that this is not GD circa 1973-74, nor should it be. "Death Don't" on Friday at Red Rocks was a perfect choice for the day and setting, referencing the first set's "Me and My Uncle" and resonating in many people's minds after the drone attack that day in Yemen. Saturday night, we all thought the short first set was great, but subdued. Turned out it was the perfect foil to an epic second set. Serendipity could have produced the same result, but I don't dismiss planning ahead any more. I saw the tour opener a year ago in Minneapolis and came away less than impressed. Red Rocks told the story, though, for me -- this is a great band.
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...but also cool in its own way. I mean, the Dead played the rodeo stadium in Ventura six years in row and it was always a blast. Not in the same league with Red Rocks, to say the least, but a really good show can make any place seem like the Best Place On Earth while it's going on... I wasn't there, but I like that Friday Red Rocks show a lot! The stuff with Chris Robinson was great and the playing throughout is really solid!
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> we're so famous for being such a self-policing scene and all, but what are we supposed to do about stuff like this? The answer is in the question marye; we're supposed to police ourselves, not others. Lead by example. Don't show up without tickets. Don't litter. Don't buy dope or alcohol from parking lot vendors. Keep your head. Pick up someone else's trash. Etcetera.
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...but I'm having another flashback to the '80s, when we all earnestly discussed this stuff and tried to come up with solutions... There were organized efforts to talk to people before shows and out in the lots, and then trash pick-up squads after...
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I was IN those squads. Alas, they failed to save the Henry J as a venue back in the day, they failed to save the Greek back in the day... This was of course arguably an unrealistic goal but hey, we were naive and stupid... What wound up happening back in the day was that when various people's personal version of leading by example got old in the face of bad actors engulfing the scene they just got tired and walked away. Now whereas mileage varies as to who's leading by example and who's a bad actor, I am really sorry to hear the scene being described above happening because I can't see any good coming out of it for much of anybody.
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I took my boy to his first shows when he was four years old in 1995 (Deer Creek, St. Louis, Soldier Field to end the Tour From Hell) when we rented a big ol' 37-foot RV and hit the road. The fan clutch went out in Wisconsin and we had to talk our way to the front of the parking lot line in each city, lest the RV's engine explode. The boy and I have seen every post-Jerry iteration since--Alpine Valley, The Dead at Red Rocks in '03 and Chicago in '09, Furthur at the tour opener in Minneapolis. He's 20 now, and we're looking forward to Chicago and Madison-- rare late-tour, weekend shows for us in the midwest. Don't care about the set list, so long as the boys bring it. Especially if they bring a Lost Sailor/St.of Circumstance, which it is my dream to see (hint, hint).
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From what I saw at the LA Greek last week and have read in reports from the field, it seems that the scene has grown again to the point where more experienced heads need to step up and share their wisdom with newcomers, if we want to keep this thing. That process seems to be getting underway in this space; maybe the topic needs a thread of its own.
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In my opinion. I agree with Blair on that one for sure. Everyone raved about Saturday but I thought it was flat, liked they were trying to hard, something wasn't right about it especially the 1st set. Sunday was really good, set list wise probably the best but I still enjoyed Friday the most.
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...that there was gate-crashing and unruly behavior in Monterrey. So many of Furthur's shows didn't sell out on this tour. If they had sccheduled a show in Santa Rosa (or ttwo) maybe there wouldn't have been the pressure for tix. Even in Eugene where the Cuthbert only holds 4000 there were about 1000 heads standing peaceably outside listening. I just didn't see that many young people who were displaying any kind of rowdiness. I guess it only takes a few to spoil it for the whole crowd....
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and of course one of the things we ran into back in the day was that people who never went into the venue in the first place cared not so much about saving the venue for Dead shows. They would just take the party somewhere else. It was a different mindset for sure. CC Joe had a great post a few years back about the old school Deadhead self-policing scene in the parking lot. As I recall it had specifically to do with dealing with thieves, but it was classic.
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Wasn't the stages the original stages from '67 Monterey Pop?
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Does anyone remember the tour where Healy broadcast the shows with an FM signal so people in the parking lot could tune in to 98.6 (body temp.). Analogue tuners only.The signal was only strong enough for the immediate area around the venue.
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you had your Ticketmaster ticket torn upon entry rather than "read"? When was the last time you were able to bring in an opened bottle of water? It has been a long time for me. I was at Red Rocks and Monterery and they were truly different experiences for a variety of reasons in addition to those two. But, I loved the small-venue intimacy of the Fairgrounds. I sat where Blair sat on both nights (lined up at 10:30 on Friday and 8:30 on Saturday for the apparently unnecessary privilege - but hanging out with the other heads was as much a part of the experience at Monterey as it was at Red Rocks). The sound was great and I had a great time both nights, despite agreeing with the shortcomings accurately described by Blair. I got into the venue early, so I did not see much of the alleged bad behavior. I, too, wondered about the wandering waifs waiving their fingers (and leading a puppy). I sold an extra ticket for each night to a fellow head who said he lived "on Haight Street" (not "in the Haight). The nature of the crowd was indeed different at the Fairgrounds than at Monterey. Monterey was a throw back to older times. By the way, Jeff C is an incredible soloist (which may be an understatement!), on whom I intentionally focussed at all five shows.
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I would have to agree with the way both shows went off. I felt that Fridays show was odd, like the band was trying to figure something out, and not quite together. As I went into the venue, the crowd had an odd vibe, and what is with people setting up chairs 10 feet from the stage? "HELLO!!! ITS A CONCERT, NOT A PARADE!" But Saturday night crowd had a much better vibe (no chairs, woot!), and the show was OFF THE HOOK! The band, the audience, the wood chips on the ground were all one giant happy grooving celebration of music. From the start of Feels Like a Stranger all the way to Morning Dew and beyond, the band was ON and sounding great. I nearly lost my mind when I heard the first notes of Althea, a song I am currently really into at the moment. Morning Dew was epic, I think I was crying from the joy pouring out of me. That feeling kept going all through Help>Slipknot>11>Franklin's and the rest of the night. The band is really hot right now. Phil's voice is better than I have ever heard him. John is really coming into his own, and Jeff C... OMG, he's blowing my mind!After Friday's show it was nice to wander the parking lot and grab some killer tostadas and chat with fellow Heads about the show. It was kind of a bad idea of some one to close off the parking lot on Saturday night, and forced the "Shakedown Sidewalk" to happen. When I heard that they shut down the lot, I knew Saturday night after the show was going to be a bad scene with everyone on the street. And what was up with all the dogs? All in all, it was a great weekend I will never forget.
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10 years 11 months
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Thank you for the heads up on the great concluding show from Furthur's 'early' fall tour. The recording posted on archive is crystal clear - how do these tapers do what they do?!One historical note, generated by listening to the gorgeous Comes A Time in the first set. The Viola Lee > Comes A Time > Ashes reminds me of the sublime and surrealistic Birdsong > Comes A Time > Deal that concluded the first set of the Dead's show in Hershey Park PA, summer of 1985. It was the one and only time since '76 that Comes A Time was played in the first set by the Grateful Dead. I still don't know if it was the driving rain, or something going in in Jerry's head that night, but the moment when the deep space of the Birdsong jam mystically transformed into Comes A Time is one I will long remember. Furthur's rendition with JK at the helm brought it all back. Looking forward to the east coast in November!
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How did this even get on here?Would someone PLEASE block this kind of crap!
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11 years 5 months
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Thanks Ken - my sentiments exactly...
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11 years 5 months
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Unfortunately, spamming comes with the territory and there's nothing we can do if someone wants to register and start making "comments" which just happen to be ads. I've killed a bunch this morning in a couple of different places. Mary is always on the case, and I at least try to stop 'em in my blog and on the Road Trips discussions... Pinheads!
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7 years 8 months
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Best hopes for a good Midwest tour.Bring your best music and manners. We raised you right. Seems my heart wants the Must have been the Roses thing. bear
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48 years 10 months
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Monterrey didn't even score in the top 3 on this tour. The best show was Missoula, hands down.
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... is, of course, a matter of opinion. That is a REALLY good show, however. But "score in the Top 3" in whose opinion? There is no objective board deciding these things. It's all personal taste...
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Absolutely all personal taste. I tend to go based on the experience between the band and the crowd and how danceable a show is. I can't speak to the superiority of the music cause I'm not a musician. I'm not one for changing my mind on a rating by hearing a replay(s) of the show. About the set lists: The rumor on tour is that Phil's wife is writing them. And you're absolutely right, this makes for a lot of awkward transitions. The Playin'>Dark Star> Morning Dew>Playin' second set closer Sat. at the Rocks is a perfect example of when the pre-fixed set list works really well. An on night is on, an off night, off -- whatever the reason. All in all, the Eugene to Vegas part of the tour was superb.
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I've heard the second two Eugene shows (haven't gotten around to the first) and agree they were generally superb!
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but was it superb?"superb", is of course, a matter of opinion. That is a REALLY good part of the tour, however. But "superb" in whose opinion? There is no objective board deciding these things. It's all personal taste... Guess this box is for one's own comments.
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...is a clear statement that it is my opinion, oh contrary one.
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BlairYou did a great job of capturing the nature of the venue and the music at the Friday show I had attended the Dylan show there last year and like you was surprised at how poorly maintained the Arena was Could not believe that the Monterey Jazz Festival is held there every year and that crowd demographic puts up with it The sound inside the arena was surprisingly poor and Bob was clearly not having one of his better nights (Promised Land was embarrassing ) I was told that the sound actually was much more clear out on Fremont Blvd by the motels The Dark Star was "ordinary" and I had never heard an "ordinary" Dark Star before Thank you for making the trip down there and providing us with a very descriptive report on how it went down Despite the problems with the venue and the music I am hoping that they come back next year
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People we sat with Friday night had been to several shows and said prior to the start that they felt, "Someone, had set the metronome to slow." Part way into the first set it crossed my mind that if they went into Black Peter we could be there for a really long time. Still loved it and where we were everyone was real cool. Saturday night rocked. I was thinking that I can remember coming away disappointed a few nights from Dead concerts. New Years Eves? Hadn't seen the boys in several months and I came away from Monterey feeling that even when they are not at the top of their game, they are so damn good, they are are the best show in town on any given night Hoping I get my tickets for NYE.
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48 years 10 months
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must have just brushed the top of the head...
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I just listened to it at the Sugarmegs website & it sounds MUCH better than what Blair is speaking about. Not sure why but I wouldn't buy the CDs of the show from his comments but I'm gonna pick it up now.
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Don't believe me! It's just one guy's opinion. I don't let the opinions of others prevent me from hearing all the shows, and of course, I like some songs a lot of people commonly diss ("We Love You," "No More Do I" et al) and don't like others that people commonly love for my own twisted reasons. It should go without saying that a blog is just an opinion...
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Thanks for taking the time to etc...Quite true about blogs. I agree with you more than not (I like We Love You" too) and enjoyed the top shows lists for both the GD & Furthur. Can't wait for your new book about The Filmore either. Later, Ken
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That Fillmore book isn't coming out, Ken. There were some legal obstacles that are preventing it from being published. It will be pulled from Amazon, if it hasn't been already. Wasn't supposed to ever go up there, in fact... C'est la vie...
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Sorry you saw a bad show 1st night but glad to hear you report it! Most reviews are subjective but the fact is there are BAD gigs and few admit or recognize it! Having seeing the GD many times since the early 1970's I have seen all kinds of shows. But they have kept me coming back cause when its good there is nothing like it!
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I stood stage left(in front of Phil) maybe 30 feet back and felt like Friday was the soaring night and Saturday a bit sluggish. Aside from Bobs lyrical difficulties I thought Friday was generally a more well played set. I even took note that that JK was higher in the mix than he had been the few times previous. Saturday more obligatory and less dynamic. I almost wanted to cover my ears while they played Help-Slip-11-Frank. After the beautifully majestic version we got in Eugene this sounded lifeless. I critique but honestly I had far more fun than I should of both nights. Keep playing.
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I don't know how the band made it up from LA, but I drove for 6 hrs from LA to Monterey for the show on Friday. So if they were kind of lame on Friday night, it may have to do with the tyranny of the road. They played Tuesday night in LV, Wednesday and Thursday night in LA, and finally Friday and Saturday night in Monterey. And Phil Lesh is in his 70's! I really liked Monterey. The Fair Grounds are not too far from downtown and I liked the wide open field. Saturday night was much more crowded, so I hung out in the beer garden in the back where it sounded great, no sawdust, and I could get a beer whenever I needed. The crowd was very eclectic from youngsters to these old geezers with beards down to their bellies dancing like they were in their 20's, or lets say, 40's. There were so many eccentric characters running around, even a rabbit! And Monterey was beautiful during the day. There were also many motels surrounding the Fairgrounds, it must have been easy for people to roll away the dew on home. I hope Monterey realizes how much money they brought into town.
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BEING PERM. DISABLED W/2 TRAUM. BRAIN INJ., STROKE, SEIZURES, ETC. THE 1ST TIME I WAS ABLE TO SEE FURTHUR WAS @ MSG IN NYC ON 11/10/11. THEN I WENT TO SEE THEM AGAIN 2 DAYS LATER AT THE BOARDWALK HALL IN AC IN NJ. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THEM AS I DID WITH THE GRATEFUL DEAD IN THE 70's. PHIL IS GREAT AT 71! BOBBY STILL IS BOBBY. I'M THINKING ABOUT GOING TO SEE THEM 12/30 & NEW YEARS EVE! I THINK THEIR GREAT!
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    vernnlou
    6 years 11 months ago
    ON THE BUS AGAIN
    BEING PERM. DISABLED W/2 TRAUM. BRAIN INJ., STROKE, SEIZURES, ETC. THE 1ST TIME I WAS ABLE TO SEE FURTHUR WAS @ MSG IN NYC ON 11/10/11. THEN I WENT TO SEE THEM AGAIN 2 DAYS LATER AT THE BOARDWALK HALL IN AC IN NJ. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THEM AS I DID WITH THE GRATEFUL DEAD IN THE 70's. PHIL IS GREAT AT 71! BOBBY STILL IS BOBBY. I'M THINKING ABOUT GOING TO SEE THEM 12/30 & NEW YEARS EVE! I THINK THEIR GREAT!
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    mmmmrobb
    7 years ago
    Friday night Monterey- Tyranny of the road
    I don't know how the band made it up from LA, but I drove for 6 hrs from LA to Monterey for the show on Friday. So if they were kind of lame on Friday night, it may have to do with the tyranny of the road. They played Tuesday night in LV, Wednesday and Thursday night in LA, and finally Friday and Saturday night in Monterey. And Phil Lesh is in his 70's! I really liked Monterey. The Fair Grounds are not too far from downtown and I liked the wide open field. Saturday night was much more crowded, so I hung out in the beer garden in the back where it sounded great, no sawdust, and I could get a beer whenever I needed. The crowd was very eclectic from youngsters to these old geezers with beards down to their bellies dancing like they were in their 20's, or lets say, 40's. There were so many eccentric characters running around, even a rabbit! And Monterey was beautiful during the day. There were also many motels surrounding the Fairgrounds, it must have been easy for people to roll away the dew on home. I hope Monterey realizes how much money they brought into town.
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    Wizardpool
    7 years ago
    I had a diffirent experience completely
    I stood stage left(in front of Phil) maybe 30 feet back and felt like Friday was the soaring night and Saturday a bit sluggish. Aside from Bobs lyrical difficulties I thought Friday was generally a more well played set. I even took note that that JK was higher in the mix than he had been the few times previous. Saturday more obligatory and less dynamic. I almost wanted to cover my ears while they played Help-Slip-11-Frank. After the beautifully majestic version we got in Eugene this sounded lifeless. I critique but honestly I had far more fun than I should of both nights. Keep playing.
  • DinoYo
    7 years ago
    Monterey 1st Night
    Sorry you saw a bad show 1st night but glad to hear you report it! Most reviews are subjective but the fact is there are BAD gigs and few admit or recognize it! Having seeing the GD many times since the early 1970's I have seen all kinds of shows. But they have kept me coming back cause when its good there is nothing like it!
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    blairj
    7 years ago
    Er, uh...
    That Fillmore book isn't coming out, Ken. There were some legal obstacles that are preventing it from being published. It will be pulled from Amazon, if it hasn't been already. Wasn't supposed to ever go up there, in fact... C'est la vie...