Sunday, December 13, 2009

Furthur, On Up The Road

I went up to Asbury Park yesterday to see Furthur, the new band put together by Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, of the Grateful Dead. My golf-buddy Andy came along for the ride. He's not a deadhead, but is not unaware of the music and was open to a new adventure. We had good seats and were well-placed for photography. I had fun with my camera.

The key to this band is the addition of guitarist John Kadlecik, until recently the "Jerry" specialist in the highly-regarded Dark Star Orchestra. Kadlecik plays and sings enough like Jerry Garcia to bring Phil's bass and Bobby's wonderfully complex rhythm guitar into a focus that dead fans will instantly recognize. But he does not come off as a Garcia imitator. That's a good thing.

The setlist is evidence of Kadlecik's influence. I don't think I've ever heard The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion played live, but it was part of last night's show as was Viola Lee Blues. Both were outstanding.

The sound in the Asbury Park Convention Hall was pretty terrible. It's really just a concrete box and probably better-suited to the pro-wrestling and roller-derby that the beer-selling lady told me are common events there. The sound was muddy and the vocals, particularly Bob Weir's, were hard to pick up. In Bobby's case, I think there was a microphone problem.

The short video below (a bit of Althea) will give you some idea of the sound. Though, in fairness, this was taken with my digital camera.

I bought the insta-CD of the show (soundboard?) and listened to some of it today. The sound on that recording is very good (though the Bobby mic is low). There's a version (audience recording?) on the bt.etree archive of the show (thanks to @nemski for the tip). For deadheads wondering what is possible, post-Jerry, this is worth a listen.

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