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4/26/05 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
Opening for Ratdog
Way Back When, Blue Sky, Seems to Want to Hurt This Time, I Don't Need a Riddle, Conscious Evolution, Rock of Ages>Family Picture, Mystic Water, Hey Trudy tease, Part-time Lover
By Dwight Holmes
This was weird. When I got inside about 7, there were already about three rows
of people camped out on the rail. Didn't know a soul. They were all Ratheads
(or whatever they're called!). A few had seen Donna, most had not. Everyone
was agreed that it would be better to have no warm-up band. The crowd
filtered in slowly. Even by the time Donna started, the place was sparsely
populated. Surprising, given that Ratdog always packs the place to the
gills. Turns out I guess they just weren't in a hurry to get there for the
warmup band. By the time Donna finished it was, yes, packed to the gills.
OK, the music. Jamie agreed with me, the band--all of 'em--looked really
tired when they came out. I'd say the first two songs were a little, uh,
tepid. The crowd was downright frigid. A tough crowd. It was feeling a
little weird (to me, of course. All subjective.). Seems to Wanna Hurt got
things moving a bit--Tara really got swaying during the break and the
crowd, at least some of them up front, responded. Riddle really got things
riled up. Accordion music can do that. I think it was after Riddle that Jeb
made a comment that he had sweat dripping into his eyes, and that this was
the job of the warm-up band, to get the crowd warmed up. Maybe folks aren't
quite tuned into Jeb's sense of humor. There were a few giggles here and
CE tore the place apart. Short, very sweet. People were rockin'. Bob Weir
came out during CE and was watching from the dressing room balcony, which is
above and behind the stage. He left when the next song started, but Mark
Karan remained for most of the rest of the set.
Rock of Ages rocked, and as they were winding it up, Jeb called an audible
and they went straight into Family Picture. I actually thought it was a
pretty tame Family Picture, and definitely not the peak of the set. Mystic
Water may have been the peak. This really had the crowd responding both with
dancing during, and cheering afterwards.
Jeb then announced they had time for one more, and he hoped to see everyone
again tomorrow night. Tara started out with the riff for Hey Trudy, then
suddenly did an about -ace and broke out Part-time Lover. Had they purposely
tricked Bill? Kinda looked that way--he looked just a bit surprised! But
he stepped right up, and they had a raucous time. Bill got so animated
toward the end that he slipped and started to fall backwards, accidentally
knocking one of Tom's tom-toms off the drum kit on to the floor. Ka-boom!
Ooops. Anyway the music continued. Literally the biggest cheer of the night
was right as Tara started playing the scrubboard midway through PTL.
Seriously, it was funny. I guess this was a novel thing for 95% of the
All in all I'd say it was an excellent set--they packed about as much into
an hour as they could. I dare say they won some new fans. Oh--before the
last song, Jeb came back to the mic and said something like, "Over the years
we've been together we've made a few CDs, and I think they're available
somewhere there in the back." NOTE TO JEB: TODAY IS APRIL 26th. YOUR NEW
ALBUM'S OFFICIAL RELEASE DAY! HEL-LOOO! ROTFLMAO!!! Tom did his bit; he
was sporting a T-shirt with the new album cover on the front.