Hello my dear Freak Flag Flyers! We hope your Sunday and today’s entry greets you with all the warmth and nourishment of the California sun that our guys are basking in at the moment. Our rock and roll medicine show is rolling South from 3 amazing nights in San Francisco, so catch them when the circus comes to your neighborhood. “Nothing between you and the love you make”.
Our next Almanac transmission originates from the Music City itself. Nashville is one of those towns that always gets some of the best shows on any tour from the guys. This one from October 7th, 2016, lives up to that preceding reputation and then some. A city steeped in so much music always inspires the band and they tap into that energy from the very start. Forever As The Moon gets us off on a heeled and healing foot and what’s one of the best “boogie woogie dance the night away” shows never lets up. Try not to dance your friends into the night when you press play on this collection. “And the wine will spill, and the moon will shine.” Neal has the “Mr B’s Bottleneck Slide” going early and often and sounding oh so outlaw country mid-70’s. “Mama draw the curtains lets get down” as New Cannonball proves why CRB is “the best show in town”. We “rock on, roll on”, for sure “get off” and the uneducated in the Brotherhood are now sure to “get on”! This is a night that our Wizard, Adam, shines as the leader, like any good Tennessee River Boat bandit on the keys would. Lasers are flying early and often. Rag momma rag. Tomorrow Blues walks and struts all around as usual and CR preaches to the gathered, “if you’ve been inside my footprints you know I’m down”. Adam and Neal take the back end for its musical walk and it’s “time to shed some LIGHT!” What’s turning into a CRB classic, the bands soulful take on Jackie Moore’s 1970 hit Precious, Precious, drips from the amps and explodes with the power of the Philly String & Horns that hits like this led her to join. “Look at love as a two-way street, you get the good with the bad, you take the bitter with the sweet”. CR was created to sing this song on this night. Gritty and hot as the Florida weather from which she came. One of my favs, Meanwhile In The Gods takes over the room and the first set starts to form and shift with the musical nuance our masters lay into this version. The crowd, cheering every signal and report. “To seek and wander, to hear the thunder, to understand”. We are all blessed trip takers on this evening. Happy to call ourselves “people born to wonder”. Neal takes his mind and string bending solos all over this as CR accompanies with his heavy rhythm, that for me, is the signature of this song. The groove jam in the second half leading to the segue is especially funky tonight. Neal all over the neck showing why he himself is a must see. The transition into Tulsa is HUGE and one worth repeating for all the special rewards it reveals. “And what you find let it shine let your chariot swing low!!” This one turns all the corners just as easily as that muddy river outside. Tony is jazzing this up a little differently than some nights, riding that bell. Adam painting beautiful flourishes that I swear are visible. This band plays in full technicolor and that, to me, is one of the things that sets them so far apart. One of the early California Hymns is slotted next, and man did the band have this song down and flawless from the jump. Not that it hasn’t changed and grown like all good live songs and bands do. But the structure was just perfected from its first lap around the stage. As the first set draws to a close we are blessed with the biggest stand alone Rosalee I can recall from the year. Again, I defy anyone to listen to this show, this song, and not only dance, but pull your loved ones up off that seat and dance in glorious glee all around your space. The intro is absolutely MASSIVE. Neal’s back with that talking slide that will forever be the voice of “Miss Rosalee” for our congregation. You’ll lose yourself in the moment but “lord have mercy on this daydreaming man”. The crowd roars its thanks and we look around for confirmation that “THAT JUST HAPPENED”. Not only did it happen. But we are just getting started. So much more is mounting, and after a quick “California Break” we see just how much more.
I know I keep talking about the Dance Party that’s been underway, but it really gets going after we’ve had time to rest our heads and hearts. The Rolling Stones classic, off the album of the same name, Let It Bleed, makes sure the home of country music didn’t forget this is a rock and roll show for the Freaky people. Neal again on the slide doing a wonderful tribute to Ry Cooder’s work on the original. At the same time making it Casal-centric in all the right places. Adam follows in full Ian Stewart mode while our boss of the bottom Jeff walks this thing all up and down music row! “Come on baby why don’t you bleed all over me!!” CR gets into this one and gives the sign that we are picking up right where we left off at the break. My favorite version of this song by the band. Tony stands into the kick drum and Leave My Guitar Alone takes off like 747 headed to California for the bash. “Get free, on me babe!” Tonight we are all assured by CR that we “have friends around, so sit back, relax, I got your back”. Neal’s biggest solo of the night resides in it’s raucous home here. CR is really into this set and show, and he gives the lyrics new life and meaning with his vocal runs and growls. The whole band locks in and to me, this is the perfect representation of the band and their sound and what the whole community is all about. They give us a rest sort of, and allow us to follow the west coast light they shine on Wheel Don’t Roll. We learn to “hang our troubles on the wind” in this Brotherhood original that could have been a Buck Owens hit had it manifest itself into the ether of this city, or Bakersfield circa 1969. “Fire and water, tomorrow yesterday”, a song instructing stagnant souls to move on. A highlight in a show full of them. “You can’t be here if you don’t know the way”, one of my favorite lyrics by CR. The beautiful ballad Train Robbers is next and I n recalling this entry I had to listen to this take three times in a row. I just don’t know if a better song has been written about picking up the pieces at the end of something that made you who you are. A song that can mean so many things to so many people. But the sharp cut of the picture the band paints is always the same. The intro to this is beautiful, as Adam helps the band approach it delicately like a passerby happening upon a tragic accident. In this room the line “visions of empty ballrooms” is very fitting. They could be escaping a love gone bad or life on the road. Whatever it means to you, it’s the escape it conjures that sets the feeling and helps us drift away. Neal’s guitar cries echo with all the pain of the lyrics. Some of CR’s best rhythm work lies here also as he, Tony and Jeff coordinate all the pain in the room.
We aren’t left looking back long as they quickly tell us we’re “gonna have a good time when we get there”. Ain’t Hard But Fair has now become a classic that always goes a little different direction live. This “Dirty Diamond Trip” is a sign it’s time to dance, dance, DANCE! Turn this one up and try not to. Go ahead try! With a “lotus eyed flash of the tongue” and this one gets off and running as they blow through the body of the song with precision and leave plenty of time to jam and bounce. Listen to all the vocal raps from CR. Have you not already gone and picked this up?? It should be downloading now. “Long time getting gone, y’all get it gone soooo long….” this is the one folks. The Dylan cover tonight was not from Nashville Skyline, as you might guess, but from Bringing It All Back Home. And Tony with his funkiest of beats, gets It’s All Over Now Baby Blue going for all our “seasick sailors”. CR’s rhythm and vocal again shine. “This sky, too, is folding under you. It’s all over now Baby Blue”. Our modern day Dylan singing that classic line is total chills. Even to the winged and warm among us. The gracious exalting crowd gets a treat as they bop into Hard To Handle. A song familiar to even the newest Brotherhood visitors. This Otis Redding monster always gets the room rowdy and the CRB has perfected the Grateful Dead style run at this one. Adam, as I said at the start, is the all star tonight if there was such a thing in a band full of amazing playing, tone dogs. Neal takes a big rip at the solo and blasts it into the cosmos. They end this rock and roll romp of a song in outer space, almost literally as they take it into this very spacey intro jam for Narcissus. Listen to Neal’s repeating chime during the extended groove to start this centerpiece to the new album. The little delay/echo just fits the theme they started at the end of Hard To Handle. A hot hot version that threatens to “burn the commune down”. They tease the end several times as the crowd starts to come back down, before blasting them off and up again. A big BIG finish to a pure and powerful rock and roll show.
The encore of the J.J. Cale groove machine, After Midnight, comes 46 years to the month of its release. They glide through this one in fine Jerry Garcia Band style and at 9 minutes it’s got room to touch every musical base during this shows home run victory trot. Adam again shining brightly like our wizard in the stars. One of the best CRB versions ever.
I can’t say enough about this band that I’m lucky enough to hear literally all day every day. The places they are going musically and the corners and pages they are turning, is leading to some very special things in 2017. I know my little feathered flock is excited beyond belief. But with 5 gospel gallops left down the California Coast still remaining in 2016, you’ve got time to join the joyous and see them live and in full flight. Buy the ticket, take the ride. But first hurry and grab this show in crystal clear beautiful stereo from the link. Salvation don’t suffer the souls of the smiling!
Check out our gallery of this show here:
Freak On brothers and sisters!