Pre-show: Yet another line. The email from Radio City Music Hall said: “Doors to the hall will open at 6:30pm. Furthur will take the stage at approximately 7:30pm.* As always, we suggest that you arrive early and travel light. Enjoy the show!” I have been watching set lists tweet out and knew the band had a habit of starting this tour before 8pm. I had no idea though it would be this nuts. It was Cold. It was Cold Rain. And people were talking about snow. I thought that song was a shoe in for tonight. Nope, bad call for me.
7:50 pm, finally in the doors, we found our seat exactly as lights went down and the first noodling began. I heard distinctive The Other Ones notes. Nice, we are in for a ride.
First Set Highlights: After Midnight, Paint My Masterpiece, Dear Mr. Fantasy – um, ok, I can’t pick out my favorites. See Set List below. After Midnight came out – a really nice rendition. JK shreds, and Phil was sounding way ON. That Dear Mr. Fantasy was killer though, always one of my favorites. The mood was jovial in Radio City – and the party was ON. Radio City is so beautiful and majestic – the acoustics are amazing. I was up on 2nd Mezzanine with a friend who gave me the tickets (thanks Eric!). I had a great view. One of my buddies was down in 5th row, I kept looking for him, but to no avail. Had another set of friends down on first Mezzanine. It was nice to know there was friends abound, in a house full of family heads.
It is hard for me to describe the feeling of being in a theater filled with deadheads. The love: love of the music, of the band, of the people around you who love the music just as much as you, of the stories that surround this band, and the great satisfying feeling down deep in your gut, in your soul. It is indescribable, and my words serve no justice.
Set Break: It was like being home. :-)
Comparison: Radio City vs. Hammerstein: Back in December at Hammerstein I have to admit, they weren’t like this show, in music, tone or atmosphere. The Hammerstein shows were the first two of the tour, and they didn’t sound as crisp, and the light show was – well, let’s just say it left you feeling a little dulled. John Kadlecik was tentative, they were all figuring out their groove, but I did notice that when JK did finally bust loose, Bob and Phil really REALLY enjoyed it.
JK is not tentative anymore. He frikkin belts it, and the whole band goes into that beautiful blue yonder place. The backups (Zoe and Sunshine – heh! what hippie names!!) are phenomenal. There are no undertones of Donna anywhere, it’s a different sound from Donna, and these chicks ROCK.
And the light show?!? Um, it was like a Dead show but with 2010 technology. I wonder if they were leveraging some of Radio City’s theatrical technology. This was no rinky-dink set up at Hammerstein, this was heady, trippy, amazing light show with lasers, lights and some crazy LED setup behind the band. There were these bubbles, it looked 3D as it floated above the band. These pictures do not do it justice. I will send a link to much better professional photographs when I find them.
Second Set: Started with Viola. I hadn’t put my earplugs in and was determining whether I should or not (I have 2 other shows this week, need to protect them), but forgot all about earplugs when Shakedown came in.
Bobby sang a lovely, lovely Days Between. The people around me sat, but I couldn’t. My legs were sturdy underneath me and I couldn’t help but sway into the tune… “there were days…there were da-a-a-ays, and there were days between.”
Ok, Let it Grow ROCKED, and kept going and going and fell right into the song I’ve chased for 19 years. I last saw Help>Slip>Franklin’s in 1991 at RFK, and have been wanting to hear another one for so long. When I heard the second strum on the guitar my eyes popped out of my head, looked at my buddy and he smiled, and said, “yup, there it is.” Ohhhh, if I could’ve twirled right then and there, I would’ve. (not sure why I didn’t) but the whole place was back up on their feet and they rocked it. I personally would’ve liked to hear Slipknot played out for another – oh – 20 minutes, but they sealed the deal with an amazing Franklin’s Tower.
The Wall of Sound made an appearance, and the sheer SIZE of the picture really made me have a hard time reconciling the space on the stage. It was huge, the sound was phat and the theater… gosh the theater, the atmosphere… the history, the people, a great scene, a great show, wish I had more words, but alas, I don’t. My head exploded during Help>Slip – and I’ve been floating for hours since.
Set I: The Other Ones Jam>Playing In The Band> After Midnight, They Love Each Other, When I Paint My Masterpiece, The Race Is On, Dear Mr Fantasy > Two Djinn, Samson And Delilah
Set II: Viola Lee Blues > Shakedown Street > Hard To Handle > Deal, Mason’s Children, Days Between > Let It Grow, Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower
E: Johnny B. Goode