Traffic was beyond incomprehensibly bad going into the city. We stopped dead on Soldiers Field in Allston and I could see the Turnpike was not a good option. Got off at the BU Bridge and tried the Cambridge side, but that was the first in a sequence of bad decisions ... there was no good way to get anywhere in Boston on that suddenly hot, bright day. I had to do some serious coaching of myself ("You've seen worse," "You might be a little late, but you'll see DSO tonight," "It's graduation season, this is good for Boston") to stay calmed down and finally was able to bust through and crawl over the Longfellow Bridge into Boston and then quickly up to Beacon Hill. Met Sarah and Dave and we walked over to Jacob Wirths, where we had a rookie waiter with no clue, but we refused to be hassled. This was quite a challenging day in some ways, but we were going to see DSO at the Wilbur (which was surrounded by construction, we had to cross Tremont multiple times).
Oh well, we got there and ended up entering just in time to get spots belly-up to the stage in the "Skip Zone." Geez did we breathe sighs of relief. And the evening was just as much fun as ever! One great thing was that as we were leaving Wirth's, Tom from HTR Construction was at the next table and stood up to talk with us. Tom's a great guy and in a different world we'd be working with him now. Great to talk with him and to meet his friend Louise.
And another fun thing was that when we got up to the rail, naturally we fanatics up there introduced ourselves, and the guy next to me (a famous R&B artist and spectacular dancer in his own right from Southern Vermont) and I recognized each other. We both stroked our chins trying to remember where we'd met before, and compared all kinds of notes about what concerts we'd been to, what our impressions had been, and where we normally stood. As it turned out, we couldn't have met at this concert, and were standing in different places at that one, etc. We were stymied.
Then I mentioned how we liked to go to P&F concerts in Port Chester, we touched on the madness of traffic in the NYC area (traffic!), and I mentioned how you could sneak up to Port Chester by dropping down through CT and staying in Armonk, "Armonk?" he said, "We stay at the Quality Inn in Armonk." Lightning hit me, "We stay at the Quality Inn in Armonk too, that's where I recognize you from!" The lighting spread to him and he concurred, and we cracked up. We both thought we'd been sly and discovered an unknown spot! Now hordes of Deadheads will be descending on Armonk.
Anyway, there we were at the front of the stage and we were all (well, those of us who obsess about these things) anticipating an early seventies show from the stage setup. Someone pointed out that the GD had only played twice on 5/18, and that one of those concerts had been in 1972, on the Europe Tour. And that's what we got, a stellar re-creation of the Dead's stop at the Kongreßsaal Deutsches Museum in Munich on 5/18/1972, Here's the setlist:
China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
It Hurts Me Too
You Win Again
Playing In The Band
Sittin' On Top Of The World
Me And My Uncle
Ramble On Rose
Beat It On Down The Line
Dark Star > Morning Dew > Drums > Sugar Magnolia
Sing Me Back Home
One More Saturday Night
So there we were, in front of Skip with RobB and keyboard on our right, RobE 15 feet or so away in the center of the stage, and Jeff off over on the left. The under-stage speakers were rippling our pants and we were back with the guys in Europe in 1972 with an amazing first set of adventurous rock and roll that just went on and on and on.
Jeff seemed a bit tired, as he has at times lately, and was perhaps the weakest player that night, though he sure ramped it up for Dew. But RobK was as spot-on as ever, RobE was brilliant as always, and RobB played beautiful keyboards all night, over and over. We did not want him to stop. Always true to the canon however, he did not sing and RobE was as literal as ever, apparently forgetting lyrics in the same spots Bobby had.
And as with the other 10 times we'd seen DSO, this was such fun! We were rocking like it was 1972 and the music was excellent. We were dancing at the edge of the stage, and we'd turn around and see a PACKED Wilbur Theater, all full of people writhing and reeling. Everyone knew all the words, all the phrases, all the emotion, and we were all sharing it together.
As mentioned, Lisa finally made an appearance towards the end of the first set and she looked at me like a stone when I held up 10 fingers to her, quizzically. She played some rockin' harp on It Hurts Me Too. Then she moseyed up to her mike next to RobE and this time when I held up 10 fingers to her she grinned at me and nodded. Time for Playing, and then time for the 1972 Good Lovin' and a perfunctory Casey Jones to close the set. Yay!!!
Milled around, saved seats (well, places) for each other, grabbed bathroom breaks and another beer, and then it was time for the second set. Dave wasn't looking at his phone and we were left thinking it was 1972 sometime (I favored pre-Europe), but then they started up again and it was time for more excellence.
A long second set with Dark Star into Dew and an encore of Sing Me Back Home? Yes please. Don't blame me for abbreviating the second set, I'd just be repetitive describing how great RobB was, how authentic RobE was, and how much this stuff means to us. I wasn't yet listening the the Dead in 1972, but they were out there shaping my world.
Finally time to trickle out of the Wilbur, and we got going. Lots of stuff going on out in the theater district that night, but we got up to the Common, over to Beacon Hill, and back home in short order. Well perhaps short, but I didn't get to bed until 1:30 or so. As RobK had said when he talked about the show they were re-creating, it was a long night!