Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rocking the Mothership

It was a last-minute sort of thing, but I traveled down to Hampton, Virginia, yesterday to see the band Furthur in concert. They were playing in the distinctive-looking Hampton Coliseum, known variously as the Mothership or the Cosmic Cupcake.

I bought a ticket earlier in the week on a whim; partly to celebrate the new job and partly because I've been following the band's setlists and photos this tour and getting more and more interested.

The band Furthur, named for the Merry Pranksters' psychedelic school bus of that name, is made up of two of the original members of the Grateful Dead -- Bob Weir and Phil Lesh -- along with a talented crew of younger musicians. As a group, they are tight and inventive and having great fun.

There was some fear that this would just be a very good Dead cover band, but they are more than that. In fact, they are a cover band in the same way that the Grateful Dead were; taking classic songs and making them feel new. The setlist for the Hampton Coliseum show includes covers of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and Led Zeppelin. Their version of Zeppelin's Fool in the Rain was particularly good.

I went alone to this show. It's fun to do that sometimes. It makes you completely free to be anonymous. And it lets me talk to all those around me. At this show, there were fans in a wide range of ages from substantially older than I am to much, much younger. 

A large group of college students (from Old Dominion University, I think) were in the row behind me. Though they would have been toddlers when the Grateful Dead last played, in 1995, some of them were  were Deadheads in the true sense. One young man had been in New York City for the run of shows at Madison Square Garden during which Furthur covered The Clash (a first, and exciting) and there were guest appearances by Elvis Costello and his wife the jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall (among others).

I was jealous.


Anonymous said...

I was there, and it was awsome.

Smoke said...

I vended in the lot and saw the show. What a grate night! Further rock out!

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