|It was only when I got to the station that I realised that I’d forgotten to put my tie-dye t-shirt on! It was a nice one too! It was one of tie-dye Bruce’s – poor bloke has been thrown off almost every Dead related newsgroup for trying to sell his wares but for some reason eurotraders had taken him in! Probably because he’s a nutter and fits in so well! So anyway he’d done a buy one get one free offer and lots of us had taken him up on it! And besides I’d promised him I’d wear them to the Ratdog shows.
A quick dash home and back to the train station meant that I was on the train properly attired in no time at all. There was a pre-gig meet arranged at Molly Moggs on Charing Cross road and that’s where I headed. There were already quite a few Deadheads in there when I arrived but no one I recognised. I got myself a drink and before I knew where I was I was in conversation with a number of people. Slowly familiar faces arrived and some familiar names had faces put to them.
It was a lovely sunny day and we spilled outside onto the street and drank and chatted. Before long it was time to head off to the Astoria, Chris, who took a lot of the photo’s on these page, discovered that he had left his ticket back at the hotel and had to buy one outside!! Once inside I headed off towards the front pausing only to say hi to Alasdair who was setting up his taping equipment in front of the mixer. I sorted out my own rig (not quite so impressive) and then wandered towards the stage, joining fellow Eurotraders Jeremy and Claire amongst others.
|One of our number had been contacted by the band and asked to supply some, ahem cough cough, merchandise! and had just been backstage to hand it over!! When he met Bob he told him he had a bone to pick with him and how he had waited 30 years to say this. Then he told him the Grateful dead had f*cked up his Oxford degree in 1972!!
Anyway looking at the stage there had been some changes since last year. The keyboards had changed sides and obviously the double bass wasn't there - Rob Wasserman left during the year and had been replaced by Robin Sylvester who played electric bass. I was wondering how it would make a difference to the sound; I'd loved Wasserman's bass stuff last year - would he be missed?
|Set I: Jam > The Music Never Stopped > Maggie's Farm > Minglewood Blues >
Mission in the Rain > Take Me to the River > Loser > Lucky Enough >
Playin' in the Band
|The band comes on, Bobby is wearing a red t-shirt and the obligatory shorts and sandals and playing what looks like a telecaster. He was also sporting a fine beard, this was even bigger than last years version!! The moustache part of it wasn’t far off being a Wing Commander style handlebar! They kick off into a jam and by the middle of it I’ve guessed the opening song! Sure enough they move into the familiar riff that is the Music never stopped.
|Maggie's Farm followed and then Minglewood Blues before the band went into Mission in the rain. Mission contained a wonderful solo break with first Jeff taking a piano break and then Kenny on his sax. A funky Take me to the River followed and then Loser with Jeff excelling once again on the keyboard.
Lucky enough followed Loser and then the band swung into the opening riff of Playin'. It was a great version with someone in the audience adding a Donna wail at one point!! By this point Robin was starting to show what he could do on the bass and he was grinning like a stoner who'd just landed the job of playing with the Grateful Dead! The song moved off into a jam before slowing down and coming to a halt as Weir announced "We'll be back in a little bit"
I feel like I should apologise at this point. I headed off to the toilet during the set break and to be honest I think I was in there longer than I should have been as I sorted out my Minidisc and stuff for the second set and had a little listen to the first set. If you were standing outside with your legs crossed I apologise!!
|Set II: K.C. Moan > Me and My Uncle > When I Paint My Masterpiece >
Odessa > Hell in a Bucket > The Wheel > Jam > Standing on the Moon >
Playin’ in the Band (reprise) > Sugar Magnolia
E: Touch of Grey
|Second set started with the usual acoustic numbers KC Moan was first up followed by Me and my Uncle, nice version quite slow. The third song When I paint my Masterpiece started off acoustic but was rocking by then end. There was some excellent keyboards stuff from Jeff in the second half as well as a great jam in the middle.
|After The Wheel there was a jam which included "Tide is High" and "Other One" teases before Bobby and Mark went off leaving the remaining four members to jam. Ah this was what would replace the drums/bass section. There was a very John Coltrane style break from Kenny in the middle of a very jazzy jam. I crossed my fingers and decided not to change MD at this point.
The answer to where Playin’ would be reprised came and I thought this would be the end of the set but no as it wound down Sugar Magnolias took over which brought the set to an end. I quickly changed MD before the band came back on and encored with Touch of Grey. At least we got an encore here this year!! but like last year we were soon thrown out of the venue.
After the gig a load of us ended up at the 12 Bar club around the corner to chill out. No Cosmic Charlies this time but it was great just to sit and chat. I bought a Jazz is Dead CD from a guy who wandered in off the street before heading off to catch the last train home.
|It was one of those trains that stop just about everywhere and it was nearly 2 am by the time I finally got into bed which was a bit of a bugger as I had to be up early-ish the following morning to get my things sorted out for Canterbury. If you want to read my review of Saturday click here other wise jump to the Ratdog review by clicking here!
|Astroia exterior photo and photo under second set list © Kevin Shewan
Outside Molly Moggs picture © Mick Etherington
All other pictures © Chris Jones