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My buddy Matt called me on Tuesday and told me he had tickets to Ratdog.

Ratdog is Bob Weir's band, and Bob Weir played in the Grateful Dead. Its sound and style is a typical Kentucky Blues Grass Jam Band, much like the Dead, but a shadow of the real Dead sound. I wasn't under any illusion that this would be a real Dead show, but it was a free ticket and I don't get a lot of chances to see Matt, and its something unique to do.

But, I figured it would be fun and why not - it was in Radio City Music Hall and Matt had seats 20 rows from the stage. Its not that often that I get a free ticket to a show, my last free ticket was when I got backstage passes to see Dave Matthews Band play Central Park from the Red Bull rep in Hoboken. I still see him to this day, and thank him for those tickets, they were insane. 071407.JPG

I went with Matt, Keith, Larry and myself to the show.

I didn't know Keith, he was a friend of Matt's from his financial world, but I knew Larry. I haven't seen Larry in a long time, but he and I have been friends for years, I met him when I was about 12 in Richboro. Larry was psyched to be at this show, and it was fun to be with him.

Now for the uninitiated, a show like this can be different. First off, the people who come here are a bit...eclectic. Aging hippies, young burnouts, and old hermits show up at this show, but the thing I love about it is that everyone has a great vibe. A show like this is all about positivity. You may hate the music, but I love the scene. Everyone here is to have a good time and there is just positive energy flowing amongst the crowd. Its the same reason why I love pubs over lounges or clubs - a pub usually is a good atmosphere to meet other people who don't let pretentiousness or shallowness dominate the room.

One thing I happened to notice, with Larry, was that the crowd was broken down into distinct groups dancers. Everyone who comes to this show will dance in their own way, and Larry and I were pointing people out and commenting on how they dance to Matt. This is the list I was able to remember...

Deep Groove: This is the Anthony Kiedis of the deadhead dancers. They got rythym and aren't afraid to show it. They will dip, weave and bend to the music. They are loving every minute of Weir and they are jamming like Jerry never died. In any other concert, they would look like a jackass (well, except Red Hot Chili Peppers...), but here they are the Tony Manero for a night.

Chicken Heads: This is the un-coordinated "Deep Groove" dancer. They know basically one move, like bending at the waist and bobbing up and down like a psychotic chicken. They are either very stoned or have no rythym. Lots of these types are younger guidos, who really are at the concert to get fucked up more than listening to the music itself.

Swayers: This is the types of people who simply sway side to side, not moving their feet much, but are swinging side to side with the music. Its the ones who can't keep a beat that look pathetic doing this, like Mr. Rogers on acid.

Afraid To Dance: These are the older deadheads. They were a big deadhead like 20 years ago, but now they have kids, a corporate job and wear collared polo shirts to the show. They bob a bit, and shuffle their feet, but they don't really know how to get into the show. These are normally middle aged white guys who are trying to reclaim their youth for the next 5 hours. They are the ones who have really good pot, however.

Dance To Their Own Beat: You can easily spot these chicks. They are wearing long skirts, might have a a floral headpiece, and something else that's fruity - like a cloak or bells on their ankles. They spin around like a whirling dervish, to their own beat, it doesn't matter who or what gets in their way they have their own music they hear. Generally most of these chicks are also overweight, too.

Bass Master (no, not the fish!): These guys are jamming with the bass. Sometimes they "air-bass" and/or "air-drum", too. They are closely related to swayers, but also move their torso to the sound of the bass, so can kind of look awkward with their quick stops and dips and air drumming at the same time.

Freaks & Geeks: There are some serious freaks at this show. Old hippies who don't know what year it is, and they really get into the music. Arms outstretched, spinning and whirling around they are in their wonderland of 1969. Some can be old, and some can be young, but they are all social outcasts. You couldn't imagine they actually have jobs - and if they did - you couldn't imagine what the fuck they do for a living.

Over The Hill Bikers: These are the guys with the Grizzly Adams beard, paunch stomach and 1,000 yard stare they got in 'Nam. They are very well medicated during the show and are mostly harmless, but some have a look to them like they will knife you in the gut if you look at them (or their "old lady") the wrong way. They dance by bobbing their head a few times to the beat, but that's about it.

Radio City Music Hall was outstanding. It was my first time there and I don't claim to be an audiophile, but I know that the music sounded great in this hall. The String Cheese Incident opened for Ratdog, and I think in many ways were much better. Yes, I know, you are saying "The String Cheese Incident" and saying how much that name sucks for a band (Ratdog isn't much better). I thought the same thing until I heard them. Good energy and a tight jam. I thought they did a wonderful job and played for a solid 2 hours before Ratdog.

After about 4 hours of this music I had enough. Fortunately Ratdog's last hour was filled with old Grateful Dead songs that were fan favorites. All in all, it was a good time had by all. It has been a long time since I have been to a dead-esque show, so I realized that I missed this kind of concert. I normally don't go to concerts, I just don't like being crowded & listen to music. I very much prefer an open air-seat under the stars and listening to the band play good music.

I don't knoiw if i'd go again to Ratdog. It was sort of Grateful Dead Lite. They had a lot of the elements of a Grateful Dead show, but its just not the same. Bob Weir sounds great, and does a wonderful job, but he isn't surrounded by the Dead, but a bunch of good musicians who want to sound as good as him. They try. They need another 30 years before they get to that level.

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If you want a copy of the show, Ratdog's set is already up. String Cheese Incident isn't, but you can keep an eye out for it.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on July 14, 2006 12:48 AM.

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