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The Dead '09 Spring Tour - Enjoyed The Ride

This Deadhead's Spring Tour with The Dead is over now. Life goes on. But it was a fun ride that I enjoyed and my only regret is not mailordering for a few more shows. Oh well, The Dead '09 Spring Tour is but a sweet memory (and some more downloads) now. Looking back on the spring tour, which is still in progress, it exceeded my expectations both musically and socially. The scene on this tour had the feel of the old Grateful Dead scene of yesteryear, complete with drum circles and veggie egg rolls galore; and the music definitely has come together for the band, culminating for me in two great nights at New Jersey's IZOD Center April 28th and 29th, a venue I saw so many Grateful Dead shows at when it was called Brendan Byrne Arena. These two shows were augmented by the addition of long time friend Branford Marsalis on sax to the lineup, a true treat for The Dead as well as all Deadheads in attendance. Branford always has a way of lifting these guys up to higher peaks, and these shows were no exception. I enjoyed all four shows I saw (April 24th Nassau Coliseum, April 25th MSG, and the two IZOD shows) but the band got better with each show, as they seemed to on this spring tour as a whole.

Photo: MSG By Dave

Nassau Coliseum was a sweet show for me because I had my wife and eight year old daughter with me, something I rarely have a chance to experience together with them, but musically Nassau was just good, not spectacular. It was a nice start to The Dead Spring Tour for me. The next night at Madison Square Garden, on the other hand, was a great night of music, and as I said earlier each show for me got better and better, so you can imagine how good I thought the IZOD Center shows were.... In retrospect listening to the Soundboard recording of Nassau it actually was a strong show, but in light of the following three shows for me (I missed Hartford, Sunday 4/26/09 in between) it pales in comparison. I think I was also a little preoccupied with my family and friends I ran into. My seats were also not so good for Nassau. We were in the 300's on the side of the stage. Nassau featured a nice first set opener Jack Straw and Brown-Eyed Women, followed by Dylan's It's All Over Now Baby Blue (Bobby vocals). Then came the first set high point for me; both the Easy Wind, featuring Warren Haynes on Pigpen's vocal spot and Jerry's guitar spot, and the Death Don't Have No Mercy, with alternating vocals by Weir and Haynes and Warren's tasteful guitar lead. Don't Ease Me In with Weir singing, and Lost Sailor > Saint Of Circumstance, the Grateful Dead '80's combo was nice to hear (I don't think Ratdog does these as a combo, ironically Phil and Friends has recently done it though) but wasn't great. I don't think Warren Haynes has nailed this one down yet, but it was ok.

Photo: Nassau Coliseum By Dave

The second set started with a special acoustic treat of three songs; Dylan's Masterpiece, Peggy-O, and Looks Like Rain. This was only the second time on this tour The Dead played one of these little acoustic sets (the other time was the second show 04/14/09 at Verizon Center - Washington, DC) and was sweet, especially the Peggy-O which I love Phil Lesh's vocals on. The only problem with this added little set is that it breaks up the continuity of the second set due to added set up time after it. The remainder of the second set was electric, and nicely played; Alabama Getaway > Jam > Dark Star > Drums > Space > Knockin On Heavens Door, Goin Down The Road Feelin' Bad (Encore) Touch Of Grey All nice stuff. The Drums > Space segment was pretty intense with some really cool stuff in there resembling the Rhythm Devils Apocalypse Now sessions of long ago. This was about where my daughter fell asleep, it was a long day for her. Goin' Down The Road was really hot and the encore Touch was sweet, ending with the chorus of "We will survive, We will get by" - the old (and not so new) mantra of the Grateful Dead past and the post Jerry Garcia Dead present. To me and many Deadheads this line, like so many others, has taken on a new meaning since Garcia's death in 1995. A sweet ending to a nice concert, the first of my four spring tour shows for me; all in all a good start.

Photo: IZOD Center By Dave

I'll be back to continue my The Dead Spring Tour show reviews as well as other shows on the spring tour soon. Up next - MSG. Did you see any shows on this tour? Let us know about your experiences in the comments.

Download The Dead shows Here


Anonymous said...

Going to see them in Denver tonight, won 14 row tix on the radio. This will be show 4 without jerry. Looking forward to it, thanks for the info.

dave@davesjoint said...

Hope you have a great show Anonymous...Keep Truckin'