Review of the Furthur Rehearsal Performance
of Tuesday, January 5, 2010
at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, CA
I Need a Miracle > Get Back > The Greatest Story Ever Told> Mason's >Magnolia Mountain, Comes a Time, Unbroken Chain, When I Paint My Masterpiece,
Reuben & Cherise, Ship of Fools, E: Lovelight
Tonight's Throckmorton (Tuesday, January 5) "rehearsal," was doing its best to act like a bona fide concert despite a shaky, "I Need a Miracle," opener, featuring a giant sized Bob Weir Vocal flub right in the first verse. "I Need a Miracle," was however, an appropriate selection for these difficult to access small club shows.
John Kadlecik picked burning leads and the song morphed toward the different, but still propulsive groove of the Beatle's "Get Back." From my perspective, this tune never really got on the tracks. The disjointedness of this was amplified by the reality that it was delivered in a difficult to sing key. Also, John’s delivery was hampered by his reading of the lyrics from a music stand which didn't help to "sell" the song. It was still fun, but it’s the rare cover of this song that can surpass the original recorded track.
Up next, Weir led the band through a pounding, "Greatest Story Ever Told," with barn burning ferocity. Lesh and JK played off each other with Jeff Chimenti ably following. JK then took on a Ryan Adam's song called, "Magnolia Mountain," which was familiar to just a few in the crowd. John played some gorgeous syrupy, flowing, steel guitar licks to conclude this Hunter-esque composition and really wound the song down beautifully to its conclusion.
"Comes A Time," was easily one of the night's high points, delivered beautifully by JK. John seems to have mastered the art of injecting more than the requisite and appropriate emotional content to this song as both a singer and instrumentalist. Both the singing and the jams were inspirational here.
Then Phil steered the crew through an exploratory and jam-filled "Unbroken Chain," that came close to, but didn't quite surpass the depths of spaciness that occurred during the 12/30/09 Civic show, but this rendition was made more intense by the intimacy of the space in which it was delivered.
Weir followed with "When I Paint My Masterpiece," but this one got off the line with a false start. Phil took the mic to explain that due to this being a rehearsal, the band would take time to allow Weir to change the battery in his guitar (the pink strat). Masterpiece kicked into gear again and managed to reach requisite excitement levels and featured Weir and Kadlecik duetting on vocals with JK handling the Garcia harmony parts with a notable lack of vocal participation by Zoe and Sunshine.
The JGB nugget "Reuben & Cherise," was a great departure from more typical GD material and was terrifically rendered to the great pleasure of the audience.
The final song was oddly reconstructionist in nature. "Ship of Fools," was pitched as a shuffle rather than the classic, slow, almost Sinatra like ballad of old and this took a bit of getting used to, but ultimately had the room swaying happily to this altered gem.
With the final notes of "Ship of Fools," Weir fled the stage; Lesh pontificated on organ donation and for a few brief moments things were left in limbo. Much to the crowd's delight, the band returned and kicked into "Turn On Your Lovelight," with its familiar and infectious groove.
This song was also somewhat rearranged as it remained a mellow lilt for longer than normal length of timeuntil the band's intensity grew to the point where JK and Phil just unleashed energy as in the old days. This was a powerful encore that left the house in a state of pleasant, but bewildered awe.
From my perspective, this was one fine Tuesday night in the Bay Area experience and showcased one of the best set lists in this extended rehearsal run of stealth performances thus far.
It smoked both on paper and in person....