FURTHUR at RED ROCKS | NIGHT THREE | 9/21/13 Furthur's third show at Red Rocks had two special guests -- a monster Harvest Moon that was even bigger than the night before and an hour-long fireworks display in the background. The venue filled up much faster on this night than the previous two nights with everyone in the highest of spirits.
"Feel Like a Stranger" immediately set the show in motion, with Kadlecik playing delicate but deliberate guitar lines. As the audience and backing vocalists joined together repeating the lyric, "it's gonna be a long, long, crazy, crazy night," Joe Russo created sounds from his drums that sounded like fireworks. Up next was "Althea," a crowd favorite with some beautiful piano work by Jeff Chimenti. Bob Weir was using a shrill guitar tone that, at times, sounded like ghost children whispering from the TV (the same sounds were in the "Althea" from last year at 1STBANK). The jam was solid, and Chimenti continued to shine throughout.
As "Jack Straw" started up, the crowd began to roar -- and it was not only because the song is a crowd favorite, but because a massive orange blob was beginning to rise from the horizon. As the Harvest Moon began to show itself in all its glory, the audience cheered louder and louder, which in turn caused the band to start raging, with Kadlecik especially ripping it up on lead guitar. "Doin' That Rag" followed, and the band didn't repeat the "Is it all fall down" line, instead plunging straight into the jam. Lesh and Russo sounded great here, building a nice backbone for the song with their instruments. They seamlessly transitioned back into the song, and all instruments dropped with a cappella harmonies for the final refrain.
Lesh took over vocals for the traditional ballad "Peggy-O," in an arrangement by his son, at which point Chimenti really came to the forefront with another beautiful piano solo. "Mason's Children" followed, with Kadlecik throwing down dirty power chords in the jam, building energy until they were in a high tempo, rock and roll jam. Weir tossed in a rogue chord, and they switched on a dime and went into "Promised Land." Chimenti once again laid it down on the keys, and when the set ended, the audience let out an audible "awww."
A "Lovelight" tease from Lesh started off set two, but the band instead began to play "Dear Mr. Fantasy." Kadlecik's vocals sounded great as Chimenti threw some heavy Hammond B3 organ down. Russo dominated in the jam and turned it into a double-time affair. The act quickly slowed it drastically down and launched into "The Wheel" for yet another seamless transition.
The jam seemed a little unsure and careful, but the backing vocals brought it all together. As the group stepped the rhythm down, Kadlecik tossed a melody out, and they seamlessly transitioned into "Estimated Prophet." Weir turned into a hungry animal here, howling for redemption; this didn't sound like a man who needs a touring hiatus. A goose-bump inducing guitar solo from Kadlecik built the song up as off in the distance, fireworks went off.
Around this time, things started to get atonal and spacey, and the sign language lady just waved her hands around in the air. "Birdsong" teases were all over "Prophet," and Chimenti began to employ his phaser as they tiptoed into "Dark Star," as Twilight Zone-sounding do-do-do-do guitar licks mixed with cosmic sounds from outer space.
The outfit patiently segued into "Standing on the Moon," at which point, the man in front of me laid down on the step and went to sleep. Chimenti on organ and Weir both hit the jam going big with Weir's voice echoing through the amphitheater as he sang. Effortlessly, the band went into "Terrapin Flyer," the remaining portion of the song "Terrapin Station" that they had left unfinished Thursday.
The crowd had lost a little steam at this point, and some folks began to pack up their things. The tempo was picked up a little for "Unbroken Chain," and then it picked up a lot as Chimenti broadcast wild, spacey sounds out to the audience. They were all back on their feet, and good thing, because Furthur instantly went into a high energy, upbeat, sexy "Shakedown Street."
Sunshine Becker sounded especially sassy here singing backup, and the crowd let out random hoots and hollers as they got down. Kadlecik kept things fast and steady, and as they went back into the song, they really broke it down to a simple funky backbone, Lesh throwing bass bombs down hard.
The energy stayed high as the group went into "All Along the Watchtower," which had Weir belting and howling with all his might, which was fitting, what with the giant moon in the sky and all. The act hit an especially big peak in this song, and then came the "Turn on Your Lovelight," which Lesh teased at the start of the set.
It was a fantastic version of the song, the band really let loose and conducted a great call and response with the audience. Lesh once again gave his Donor rap, and the group encored with "Box of Rain." Furthur. was high tempo, passionate and just completely on for this show. Anyone that complains about the band being too slow needs to listen to this show.
Personal Bias: Weir's guitar tone on "Althea" literally made me cringe a few times. Random Detail: Everyone kept saying that Jackie Greene was going to be a special guest. He wasn't. Maybe Sunday. By The Way: You couldn't have asked for a better crowd in upper GA. Also, where did all the fireworks come from?
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