Ratdog in the City

Ratdog
Beacon Theatre
New York, New York
April 4, 2008

Ratdog started their April 4 show in New York City like any other – by warming up their fingers with a slow, smooth jam.  As the jam took shape, the band went into the Dead classic, “Playin’ In The Band.”  They were off and running, and followed it up with a nice unexpected version of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” off of Revolver.

Up next was another crowd pleaser, “Tennessee Jed.”  Everyone in the audience knew all the words and the crowd became even more excited during the chorus, when the lights were turned up nice and bright.  Without flowing into the next song, they brought “Jed” to a close and received a huge round of applause. After the crowd ran out of a bit of steam, Bobby and the boys helped cool them off with a soft version of “Sitting In Limbo,” played by the Dead as well as The Jerry Garcia Band on the regular.

The Dog slowed it down even more for a late-era Dead classic, “West LA Fadeaway,” played as the crowd sang all the lyrics before Bob could.  Again the band decided to stop in between songs and once again they got a huge ovation from the crowd.  They closed the first set was a cover from Noah Lewis, “Big Railroad Blues.”

They started the second set with a classic version of "KC Moan."  Simple and to the point, Bobby nailed it.  When the band kicked off “Eyes of The World.” all it took was about three seconds before the whole crowd went nuts.  All the aisles were filled, balloons hung over everyone’s head, and tons of smoke filled the air.

What happened next took the crowd completely by surprise as Bob welcomed Chris Burger and Zacariah Mose of the hip-hop group Band Of Brotherz. While Ratdog jammed, these two guys came out to rap over it, and the crowd really responded well to it. At one point, Burger went up to Mark Karan (who has just returned to the band after a hiatus due to throat cancer) and started fluffing his hair with an afro pick.  It brought out a huge smile from both performers.

To wrap up the second set, Ratdog played another Beatles song, “Dear Prudence.” While Bobby switches guitars the band kept playing, eventually making their way to the all too familiar opening notes to “China Cat Sunflower.”  99% of the time when the Dead played this song, it flowed right into the traditional “I Know You Rider,” and this turned out no different. The highlight of the song was at the end when for two versus it was sung a cappella.  Once again the lights were turned up bright making the crowd part of the show as they all sang along. The song came to an end and the band got a huge ovation before walking off the stage. 

A few minutes passed as the audience stood cheering, begging for Ratdog to come and play another tune.  They went straight into the opening of “Casey Jones,” and even the ushers got into it.  It was a great version with an extended jam at the end with a repeating chorus that everyone sang along to.

Once the show was finally over, Bobby ended it the way he always does, by bringing out everyone that played in the show as well as crew for one final bow. Hugs were exchanged and hands were shook and new friends were made as we all shuffled out of that beautiful Beacon Theater.

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