Further @ The Stabler Arena 02.15.2010

What can I say, I absolutely LOVE Grateful Dead music.

I cannot get enough of it.  I am constantly searching for more music to hear.  I think I will always need a fix of live Dead music every two weeks of my life.  I read about the new reincarnation of the Dead when I was in Thailand and I was pissed I was in Thailand.  This band included Bob Weir and Phil Lesh who are the original members of the Grateful Dead.  What really tickled my fancy was the boys asking John Kadlecik to join them.  John was the lead guitar player in the famed Dark Star Orchestra.  He is the closest guitar player that I have seen that mimics Jerry Garcia.  Now, he does not copy every note that Jerry used to play, but is really influenced by him.  What I love about John is his voice.  He has the perfect voice to sing the Jerry tunes that the band plays.  I mean I love Bobby, but Bobby needs to sing Bobby songs and lets John sing the Jerry tunes.  The other members of the band are Jeff Chimenti on Keys and Jay Lane and Joe Russo on drums and percussion.

The Stabler Arena is located in Bethlehem, Pa on campus at Lehigh University.  This is where my Uncle Teddy lives, so I asked him if he wanted to join with Anna and myself to go to the show.  He said, “yes.”  I was excited because Teddy has seen The Grateful Dead many times, so to get him to see the band without Jerry is hard to do, so I was pumped that he agreed to come.  We headed out to the show around 6:15 PM and the snow started to fall.  The closer parking lots were packed, so we were lined up to go to the farther lot.  Except the whole back lot was not plowed at all.  There was snow on the ground from last Wednesday’s snow storm.  Cars were sliding around and people were parking all over the place.  It was just insane that the college would not have plowed that lot in a week for a Dead show.  We got out of the car and started to walk to the venue.  As we were getting closer to the venue the line to get into the place was about 400 people long.  Instead of waiting on line, we just walked up front to see what was going on.  The first thing we noticed was that women and men were being searched separately.  Anna walked to the other side and Teddy and I just hopped in line.  After 20 minutes, we finally got through and Anna was waiting for us, so we walked up to our seats.

The band came on at 7:30 PM and really came storming out of the gate.  They opened with “The Golden Road” and then “Gloria.”  I thought Weir did a great job with Gloria.  He had great vocals during this song because it is HIS song.  This was the first time I heard this song, so I was glad they played it.  I think the crowd really enjoyed themselves during the song because they were getting down to this tune.  The next song was, “Good Morning Little Schoogirl,” and I would not have realized it if Teddy didn’t say something.  He turned to me and said, “I never heard a rockabilly version of “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”  I thought to myself is that really this song?  And it was.  I did not even recognize the song at first.  It was good that the boys changed it up and played a totally different version of this song.  The next song that stood out to me was “Magnolia Mountain.”  It stood out because John sang this song.  I do not know much about this song, but I loved John singing on it.  His voice is very soft and is very Jerry like.  ”Black Peter,” was next which I love, but I would have enjoyed more if John sang it instead of Bobby.  I think Bobby changed his guitar for every song during the first set.  He had four guitars he was choosing from.  The band ended the set with “Passenger” and “Next Time You See Me.”  I love a good “Passenger,” when its just bumping with rage and emotion.  I think this version was lacking a little bit energy, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was a long set break and it was even longer because of the technical difficulties that John had at the start of the set.  Ten minutes must have went by and Bobby got on the mic to tell us a joke.  The joke had to do with a duck going to a bar:

Duck walks into a bar and looks around for the bartender. When he finds the manager he waddles up to the bar and says, “Hey! You got any gwapes?”

The manager says, “No. I don’t got any gwapes.”

The duck leaves and then comes back in 15 minutes the duck walks into the bar and looks around for the bartender. When he finds the manager, he waddles up and says, “Hey! You got any gwapes?”

The manager answers, “NO! I don’t got any gwapes!”

The duck leaves and then comes back in 15 minutes and set up at the bar and sees the bartender. When he finds the bartender, he waddles up to him and says, “HEY! You got any gwapes?”

The bartender stops what he is doing and yells at the duck. “NO! I don’t got any gwapes. You come in here again and ask me for gwapes, I’m gonna staple your bill to the floor!”

The duck leaves and then comes back in 15 minutes. He looks around for the bartender. When he finds the bartender, he waddles up to him and says, “HEY! You got any staples?”

The manager says, “No. I don’t got any staples.”

Duck says, “Good! You got any gwapes?”

After the joke, the boys went into “Bertha.”  What a great choice for the second set opener.  I liked this version because John sang it and he killed it.  John ripped it during, “Test me, Test me, Why don’t you arrest me.”  Next song was, “Row Jimmy.”  Even though Bobby sang it, Further delivered the goods.  It was a great version.  Then the highlight of the second set and the whole show for me was the next song which was, “Reuben & Cherise.”  John sang this song and it was beautiful.  The band played it beautifully and this is the exact reason they brought John on board.  He is there to sing the Jerry tunes because he does so, so well.  Next, Phil finally sang on, “Eyes of the World.”  ”Eyes,” was good, but not the best version I have heard live.  ”Terrapin,” was a real treat to hear.  Bob and John switched on vocals, but I wish just John sang the whole thing.  Bob did the inspiration part, which I think John should have sang.  Other than that, “Terrapin,” was played really well and the whole crowd just loved it.  ”The whistle is screaming, Terrapin,” got the whole place rocking.  They jammed on “Terrapin” really well.  They ended the set with “The Wheel,” and “Touch of Grey.”   Just a great way to end any second set.  ”Touch of Grey,” really rung true to me because of the situation I am in right now.  ”I will survive,” the chorus says and boy was I singing that on this night.  Phil did his spiel about organ donors and then the boys came out for the most perfect encore song.  ”Brokedown Palace.”  I absolutely love this song.  It is so beautiful especially when Jerry sings it.  I think John and Bob switched off on this song.  It was still a perfect way to end this beautiful night.  My uncle turned to me and said, “I have not heard a “Brokedown Palace” encore in a long, long time.  Maybe 25 years.”

February 15, 2010

Stabler Arena @ Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA

Set 1: Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), Gloria, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Ramble on Rose, Magnolia Mountain, Black Peter, Passenger, Next Time You See Me

Set 2: “Technical Difficulties, Weir “Duck Story”, Bertha, Row Jimmy, Reuben and Cherise > Mo More Do I > Lady With a Fan > Terrapin Station > The Wheel, Touch of Grey

Encore: Brokedown Palace