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

Furthur at Radio City Music Hall, 2011-03-27

Furthur at Radio City Music Hall, 2011-03-27


Set 1: Samson and Delilah, Chest Fever, Tennessee Jed, Friend of the Devil, Ship of Fools > Must’ve Been the Roses > Ship of Fools, Cassidy, Ripple

Set 2: Throwing Stones, Sunrise, St. Stephen > What’s Become of the Baby > The Eleven > Uncle John’s Band > Unbroken Chain > The Wheel > Morning Dew > Sugar Magnolia,

Encore: Days Between, Jam > Fever, Attics Of My Life

Larry Campbell sits in on Chest Fever and Uncle John’s Band
Larry Campbell and Elvis Costello sit in on Tennessee Jed, Friend of the Devil, and Fools > Roses > Fools
Larry Campbell, Elvis Costello, and Diana Krall sit in on Ripple.
Teresa Williams sings Sunrise and What’s Become of the Baby.
Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, and Teresa Williams sit in on Fever.
Elvis Costello and Teresa Williams sit in on Attics


Coming into this show, everyone had a feeling that something big would be in the works for Furthur’s final night at Radio City Music Hall, but little did we know what exactly it would be.  This show got off to a booming start with a powerful Joe Russo drum intro to Samson And Delilah.  After Samson And Deliliah finished, a mysterious looking long-haired man came out on stage.  He sure looked like a musician, but would he sound like one?  According to a few good Bob’s – Weir and Dylan – this guy could rock it; and that he did.  His name was Larry Campbell and he played a fancy guitar intro to a very cool song Chest Fever.  The next mysterious man to walk on stage was Elvis Costello, who apparently saw Phil Lesh at the gym earlier in the day when he was asked to sit in with Furthur later that night.  Elvis Costello cranked out many more than just one song.  In fact, he remained on stage with Furthur through Tennessee Jed, Friend of the Devil, Ship of Fools > Must’ve Been the Roses > Ship of Fools.  In my honest (and sometimes harsh) opinion, I like these songs better without Elvis Costello’s participation and felt that his slightly flat vocals didn’t do the songs justice.  Sorry, Elvis.  I’ll move on.  The next song in the show was a song that has become one of Furthur’s strongest Cassidy.  Bob Weir’s vocals bring us into a familiar past while Joe Russo and Jeff Chimenti add a less-traditional influence to the cosmic environment.  Ripple was an excellent song to take us into Set Break, and everyone sang along as this song “filled the air” like the lyrics explain.

Set Two was a real powerhouse and it was one of my personal favorites in Furthur’s short history.  This night brought out an amazing version of Throwing Stones that I still find myself listening to as if the show was yesterday.  The next song was one that I did not expect to hear in a million years – Sunrise – which featured the amazing vocals of none other than Teresa Williams.  From there, the band went down an interestingly deep trail that started with a Grateful Dead classic – Saint Stephen  – which then progressed into one of the darkest, most trippiest, but cool jam/songs I’ve ever experienced – What’s Become of the Baby.  Throughout the 17 minute What’s Become of the Baby, I along with many others often wondered where they were going with it.  We ultimately received this as somewhat of a pyschadelic jam that was followed by the extreme contrast – a nice bouncy version of a song the Grateful Dead have been playing in New York City since the 1960’s – The Eleven.  Notice I haven’t mentioned John Kadlecik in this review yet.  It’s because he almost got pushed aside by all the special guests in this show.  John K has a lot of talent, it just doesn’t seem like he’s fully able to be himself with Furthur, for whatever reason that may be.  Nonetheless, The Eleven then took us into a hot streak of amazing Grateful Dead classics that we got to hear in this order: Uncle John’s Band > Unbroken Chain > The Wheel > Morning Dew > Sugar Magnolia.  I would argue that these songs got their best Furthur-versions on this special Sunday evening, especially when you factor in how well they jammed the songs together without stopping in between.  Anytime those first few licks of Morning Dew are played, the crowd is immediately in the palm of the band’s hand (as if they weren’t already!).  Of all the Grateful Dead songs that Furthur plays, John K probably adds the most to Morning Dew and many fans actually compare some Furthur Morning Dew’s to some Grateful Dead versions, which says a lot considering JERRY GARCIA was playing in the Grateful Dead versions!  A high-energy version of Sugar Magnolia ended the Second Set with fans dancing and cheering as the band walked off the stage before the encore.  Fittingly enough, the encore seemed almost like a Third Set within this show because they came back out and started playing the dramatic Days Between.  I love this song more and more each time I heard it, and Bob Weir’s vocals were flat-out made for this song (although it was originally a Jerry song).  It feels like Bob is channeling Jerry’s spirit every time he sings this song, he puts sooo much passion and feeling into it that no one can deny the value.  The smooth Days Between transitioned nicely into the super-jazzy Fever, which had AMAZING piano.   The night ended in the most appropriate way: with the “choir of rock stars” singing Attics of my Life.

I personally love the songs the picked for this night, especially giving us Uncle John’s Band and Friend of the Devil in the same night.  My two standout songs from this show were Throwing Stones and Unbroken Chain.


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