Furthur at Red Rocks 9.30.11
Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (phatphlogblog.blogspot.com)
To officially close out the summer, we hit Red Rocks one more time for a two night Furthur run. It was a definitely a late season show coming on the cusp of October, but the weather was absolutely gorgeous with the temperature barely hitting the 60s deep into the evening. Amy picked me up from downtown and we hit the Lot by about 5:30. We chatted with some randoms before heading inside around 6:45 PM. It was a special night to say the least because as soon as we found our spot in Row 54, I got down on one knee and proposed to Amy. She said yes, and we couldn’t help smiling at one another for the rest of the night. Furthur came out around 7:35 PM with a musically perfect “Aiko Aiko”. Here is the rest of the setlist from Furthur’s Facebook feed:
SET I: Aiko Aiko , Greatest Story Ever Told, Cold Rain and Snow, Me and My Uncle, Ramble On Rose, Loser, Money For Gasoline, Box of Rain
SET II: You Ain’t Going Nowhere*, Hard To Handle*, Two Souls In Communion*, Cryptical Envelopment> The Other One> Cryptical Envelopment> The Wheel> Supplication Jam> Death Don’t Have No Mercy, China Cat Sunflower> I Know You Rider
ENCORE: Attics Of My Life
*with Chris Robinson
You can download the audience recording on Archive (a big thanks to G-Man for posting the show):
Furthur Live at Red Rocks Amphitheater on September 30, 2011.
Clocking in at just about an hour, the first set flew by. It was chocked full of Grateful Dead goodness but seemingly blew past us before we even got into our groove. I get it. Phil is 71 and Bobby is pushing 64 this month, but I have to say that I was expecting a bit more. It was the first set of a three night run, so I will let this point pass. After “Greatest Story” and “Cold Rain and Snow”, it was very apparent that we were witnessing a classic Dead set. When they reach this far back, it shows that even though they have been touring for nearly 50 years, they never forget where they came from. Musically they were just killing it with beautiful clean segues and sweet layering. Chimenti may have been the VIP of the weekend based on his chops alone. It’s easy to forget he’s there because he just plays so cleanly, but he is most definitely prominent in the mix. The “Me and My Uncle” was an easy call just based on the lyrics...
“I’m as honest as a Denver man can be.”
John Kadlecik, or “Fake Jerry” as he has been affectionately dubbed, got a chance to really shine during “Ramble on Rose”. His Jerry Licks are spot on which is why he was chosen to play with Furthur. The two nights I caught at Red Rocks were absolutely no exception. The audience filled in as the sold out crowd lapped it up. By the time “Loser” came on, the middle of the bus where we were seated began to get a little packed. Nonetheless, we were there to jam so I didn’t let it bother me. “Money for Gas” was the only song that I didn’t really recognize mainly because it was a Ratdog number. It’s not that I don’t like Ratdog; I’ve seen them several times but I’m much happier seeing Bobby play with Phil rather than focus on his solo stuff. Mr. Lesh took his turn at the mic with “Box of Rain” to close out the first set. Again it came much too quick but we were in for a treat to start the second set.
I headed down the third row and found some nice people from Crested Butte who let me camp out with them for a song and a half so that I could grab a couple of quick shots before venturing back to my seats and newly anointed fiancée. The set break just seemed to drag on, during which I discovered that the first three rows were given wristbands to mark off their spots. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this before, but apparently the people who showed up early and waited in line were given these wristbands to give them access to the front seats. I mean that’s cool and all, but honestly it ended up making some of the fans act like asses. I had to remind one older gentleman that he was in fact at a Dead show. He was displeased with my assertion. No matter I was in a great spot for some photos as I watched Chris Robinson head out onto the Red Rocks stage.
Now I heard from several people on day two that they were unhappy with his inclusion, but I thought it was an awesome treat. The Dylan cover was solid but the “Hard To Handle” was mind melting. Moments like these are the reason I go to the concerts. Seeing Chris Robinson playing “Hard To Handle” with Furthur… Come on. I also know that this song holds a special place in Amy’s heart because of its connection with her mother so it just made an already special night that much better. Some of the older fans have commented that it was a little irreverent or odd for Robison to sing the Pigpen classic, “Two Souls In Communion”. Personally I felt the same way when I heard that John would be playing with Furthur, but at the risk of upsetting some of the “Old Heads,” times change. I for one crave Dead music and will get it where I can, especially when it is played at the caliber at which Furthur is executing it. It’s time to move on. Jerry, God rest his soul, is no longer with us and he would want us to enjoy the amazing music he created even if he is not performing it. I’m sure Pigpen would feel the same way.
Bobby thanked Robinson before Phil again took the helm on “Cryptical”. Other than the sit in, the “Cryptical > Other One > Cryptical” was my musical highlight of the show. It was absolutely nuts. Phil’s voice can be jarring, but in small doses, it’s still very powerful. For years, the fans begged the Grateful Dead to let Phil sing. And now that he sings. people complain. So like I said, he’s great in small doses unlike with Phil and Friends where he tended to oversing songs a bit. When they went into “The Other One”, I was just mesmerized. The combo of the Phi and Russo rhythm section exploded with John and Chimenti getting really spacey. Even though Weir’s age is catching up with him, he can still belt it out which is exactly what he did during this tune.
“The Wheel” is another favorite of mine and it was truly smooth and creamy. The “Supplication Jam” worked as an extended segue into to the beautiful “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”. As soon as they went into “China Cat”, I knew the set would end with “Rider”. It was a powerful close to two solid sets of music by Furthur. “Attics” was a pretty way to encore with the backup vocals from Sunshine Becker and Jeff Pehrson taking the spotlight. It was simply a great night on the Rocks, and I went in with a girlfriend and left with a fiancée. I couldn’t have been happier as I walked down the ramp towards the car. Stay tuned for my Saturday Recap coming shortly.
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