Scaring the Children featuring Bob Weir, Jay Lane, and Rob Wasserman
Revolution, Fort Lauderdale
Monday, January 3, 2011
The chance to see Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir in a rare, stripped-down ensemble was enough to bring out the locals. Plenty were there to start the Jam Cruise right here on the land, and it was enough to bring out more people than Revolution could hold. Inside the place was packed tight with tie-dyed heads, old and young, with smoke filling most of the space between them.
Bob Weir was flanked by Rob Wasserman and Jay Lane, both former RatDog members, the latter a current member of Primus. Wasserman was on an electric upright bass, and Lane was on a minimal drum kit. Weir switched back and forth between a hollow-body electric guitar and an acoustic. Their vibe was mellow yet engaged as they played through pretty tunes, sing-a -longs and got into deep jams as well. The arrangement really allowed for a deep appreciation of Bob Weir as a player and performer. It's rare to see Weir's guitar right out in front by itself, without a lead along side it. He was grooving the whole night.
A relaxed and funky "Music Never Stopped" opened the set which would feature several more Dead songs as well as a other Weir originals and a couple of covers. The first cover came early in the set in "Desolation Row." Now, Weir always gives Dylan tunes a treatment that no one else on Earth ever could -- if you've ever heard him scream, at the highest pitch, "Oh mama, could this really be the end?" you know what I'm talking about -- and this occurrence kept with that tradition. Instead of it being a crazy scream, it was forgetting the words in a couple spots and going forth and recovering without ever showing a bit of concern or hesitation. I'm pretty sure that he hit every one of the 657 words in that epic song. Bob Weir cannot be derailed.
Later in the set, "Looks Like Rain" was very pretty, an emotional rendition of the classic Jerry Garcia song "Friend of the Devil" had the whole place singing together, and things kicked into high gear when the trio went into "The Other One." After some solid jamming out of the song, Weir left the stage, leaving Wasserman and Lane who jammed as a duo for several minutes, getting very funky before going back into "The Other One" as Weir came back onto the stage. From "The Other One" the band went into a joyous string of music beginning with "Scarlet Begonias", then into "Sugar Magnolia", then after some jamming, into a set closing "Sunshine Daydream", complete with perfect Weir replicating screams from the audience.
For the finale, the band came back out and lead the crowd through a clapping, chanting, screaming "Not Fade Away." When the band put down their instruments, the crowd continued the "No our love will not fade away" refrain until Bobby and his humble little band took a bow. As the crowd slowly oozed out the doors, the buzz was very positive. Jam Cruise bound or office bound, everyone caught a really good one Monday night.
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Better than: Scaring the elderly
Random Detail: I was informed by local legend Jah Mark that a few different people had come up to him at the previous night's New Mastersounds show and asked him where their cabin was. No doubt, some had already set sail.
Most of the Crowd: Will be dizzy on the high seas for the next six days. Bon Voyage!