Sometimes I lead the music; Sometimes I follow the music.

Furthur at Oakdale Theatre, 2011-03-08

Furthur at Oakdale Theatre, 2011-03-08

Set 1: Mississippi Half-Step > Easy Wind, Operator, Oh! Darling (1), Reuben and Cherise, Dark Hollow, Money for Gasoline, Foolish Heart

Set 2: Jam > Hard to Handle > Smokestack Lightning > Spoonful > He’s Gone (2) > Lovelight > Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain, Days Between > Eyes of the World > Sugar Magnolia

Encore: Johnny B. Goode



Well, well, well…you have arrived at the review of my favorite Furthur show!  Going into this show, many fans were starting to realize that Furthur was playing one song each night from the Beatles’ Abbey Road album.  So far, the songs had been played in the same order that they were listed at on the album and the smart fans knew that Oh! Darling would most likely come next.  The date of this show was significant in two ways –  (1) it marked the anniversary of Pigpen McKernan’s death [03.08.1973] and (2) it was “Fat Tuesday” of Mardi Gras.  The band aknowledged both in the best ways possible and it translated into a great setlist that was also well-played.

The song selection was perfect, featuring many tributes to Pigpen including Easy Wind, Operator, Hard To Handle, Smokestack Lightning, and Lovelight.  Naturally, these songs had their best versions in the early 1970’s when Pigpen and Jerry were around, but it was still special to hear these songs played by Furthur as a direct tribute to their original band leader, Pigpen.  Mississippi Half Step was a perfect show opener and nobody looked back after they started playing it.  When they played Oh! Darling four songs into the show, everyone looked at each other and said “Yes!  They ARE playing Abbey Road in-order!” as Bob Weir’s voice led-the-charge.  Ruben and Cherise sounded great, especially with John Kadlecik’s vocals at the helm.  Money For Gasoline was my favorite song from this show.  Although it was a regular in the RatDog rotation, this was my first time hearing it.  Let’s just say Furthur knocked it out of the park and it fit perfectly into the Mardi Gras celebration theme.  And you can’t beat hearing Foolish Heart to take you into the setbreak, this was a well-done version for sure. 

Set Two had a strong bluesy feel to it until Scarlet Begonias took us into Fire On The Mountain.  This version of Fire On The Mountain was up there with some of the Grateful Dead versions, so it was a treat to hear this song played so, so well.  From the bouncy Fire On The Mountain, Furthur took us into a slow but amazingly good version of Days Between where everyone lost themselves in the emotion of this deep song.  Jeff Chimenti’s piano trailed from the end of Days Between to the beginning of Eyes of the World and it created a truely perfect segue for these two songs.  The last song of the set was Sugar Magnolia and this version stands out among the Furthur versions because it was played so much like the Grateful Dead version on this given night.  Bob Weir was feeling funky the whole night and you can hear him adding extra words to some of the songs because he was feeling it so much (like when he says “Sock it to me” or does the famous yell at the end of Sugar Magnolia).  It really felt like Bob Weir pulled out some extra energy for this one night because he was very reminiscent of the young and playful Bob Weir.  Last but not least, Johnny B. Goode was played for the encore and it blew the roof off this venue to end the night on a powerful note.  This show was purely special and anyone who was there will completely agree.  I recommend listening to this one from start to finish!


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