I’d been debating whether or not to go see Furthur for a few months. It was a little on the pricey side ($30 just for lawn seats), so I held off. After getting some great advice on buying tickets at the gate (no Ticketmaster fee), I went for it at the last minute.
Because we’re low on cash, my brother and I went for lawn tickets. We found a spot at the very front of the grass, right behind an almost entirely empty section of seats. It was almost worth the ticket price just to people watch. We watched as every tie-dyed cliche walked by, each unique and weird in his or her own way. I even heard a man ask the security guard, “Where am I?”
The band opened with “The Golden Road.” Because we were so far back, we had to watch the giant screens. The camera work was laughable, especially during the first set. The people in the control room decided to focus largely on Bob Weir. While others were soloing, the screens just showed a tired-looking Weir playing rhythm guitar. It got better, and eventually we could see Jeff Chimenti’s impressive keyboard work and John Kadlecik’s amazing guitar solos. The first set was only 45 minutes long and seemed to have a train theme, featuring songs like “Tons of Steel,” “Big Railroad Blues” and The Clash’s “Train in Vain” (which isn’t really about trains).
After the first set, we snuck down to the empty seats. The second set was thankfully much longer, with most of the songs connected through jams. They started with “Truckin’” and segued into fantastic versions of “Smokestack Lightning” and the Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” They played an 18-minute “Dark Star” into “Uncle John’s Band” and “Black Peter.” They played covers of “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad,” before closing with “And We Bid You Goodnight.” The encore, “Lazy River Road,” was great but felt out of place as the final song of the evening.
I completely understand how people can follow The Dead and Furthur around. Even after that impressive set list, there are still so many songs I’d like to hear. And because every night features wildly different songs, with few repeats, every show is unique. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to wait until next summer.