Saturday, April 18, 2009
The Dead - Washington, DC
The show and the venue had a very different feel in Washington compared to Greensboro. While in North Carolina it was a holiday weekend and there were lots of young folks and school aged kids, in DC it was a gray weekday evening and the Verizon Center filled up with lawyers and other downtown office workers.
The band started right on time with "Cassidy" and "Passenger". Phil sang "Pride of Cucamonga" which was a bit of a surprise to me. I didn't recognize "Easy Wind" but I could tell that Warren was trying to bring back the PigPen style with his blues rap. Then a kickass "Alabama Getaway" with Jeff Chimenti wailing on the Hammond B-3 followed by "Big Railroad Blues" to finish the set. This set was unique in that there was virtually no extended jams, just straight ahead songs, many of them older songs.
After the break I was thrilled to see them come out with acoustic instruments and they played "Peggy-O", "Glory Road" (a Warren Haynes song), and "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall". That was truly sweet and just after I had wondered aloud about seeing some acoustic songs this year. Then they went into a very long extended space and drums jam that ultimately led into "Dark Star". The acoustics in the Verizon were very good which made this space jam exceptionally interesting to listen to. Then some tunes from Blues for Allah and a very nice rendition of Sugar Magnolia to finish off the set. Big surprise was Tipper Gore sitting in on percussion during Sugar Magnolia!!! It appears Al was on the side of the stage watching and having a good time.
The encore was "Uncle John's Band" and "Ripple", a great way to close a great show. I would have to say all in all this was one of the better Dead shows that I have seen, including with Jerry. It was a great mix of older songs and really nice space jams, the acoustic tunes will probably remain one of my favorite parts of the tour, and the sound was just right.
Fado's across the street provided us with a nice place to grab a couple of beers before the show and to wait out the Metro crowd after.