Furthur played CMAC in Canandaigua, N.Y. on July 6, 2012. Former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh have thankfully carried on the Dead’s long tradition of extensive touring and incredible musicianship. Though it was their second show in as many years, the band didn’t repeat a single song from last year’s performance.
They opened the first set with the blues rocker “Alabama Getaway.” The eight-song set featured fantastic Dead classics like “New Minglewood Blues,” which segued into “Brown Eyed Woman,” and a few later-period songs like “Feel Like a Stranger” and “Just a Little Light,” but the highlight might have been their cover of Bob Dylan’s rambling “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” They closed the set with “Crazy Fingers” > “Mason’s Children.”
After the short set break, the band’s tuning turned into a five-minute jam, and they never stopped playing. The entire second set was connected. The jam led to 15 minutes of “Estimated Prophet,” followed by Lesh’s “Colors of the Rain,” one of the new songs Furthur has been playing.
From “Colors” came an absolutely incredible pairing of the classic “Scarlet Begonias” and “Eyes of the World.” Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti (also of RatDog) flew through a furious solo during “Eyes” that rivaled some of jazz’s greatest players.
They followed that with “The Eleven” > “Let It Grow” and ended the set with “Comes a Time” > “Viola Lee Blues” and an encore of “Touch of Grey.”
After almost 50 years, the Grateful Dead songbook still holds up, especially in a live show. Even with a new set of musicians, Lesh and Weir retain that original quality that sparked such a rabid fanbase that’s still growing. If you can’t find a reason to like the Dead, look no Furthur.
Listen to Steven Weld‘s audience recording on Archive.org and see the setlist after the jump (via deadheadland)
Some time in the last few years, I got into the Grateful Dead. I could easily blame a few of my college friends, but I think Ryan Adams’ extended live jams bridged the gap for me.
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.
Check out an audience recording of the show on archive.org.
Posted in Concert Reviews, Music Reviews
Tagged Bob Weir, Canandaigua, CMAC, Concert Review, Furthur, Grateful Dead, Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik, Phil Lesh, The Grateful Dead