2014 was a truly magical time to be a CRBeing. After a full year off, our choir leaders had returned in full, unloading blazing hot performances at every stop. We’ve covered some of those transcendent fall shows already, but this one (5/24/14) to kick off summer is one I’ve long held as a favorite. As hard as it would be to label any one show the best, I have probably listened to this one more than any other. From the funky venue, to the name of the festival (Freaks for the Festival), to the sheer FORCE contained in the music that leaps from the recording, this is a special, special night.
As soon as you press play it won’t take you long to hear why this show holds such a lofty position among our congregation. Let’s Go Let’s Go, a song I’ve heard them open with seemingly hundreds of times, is played like it’s the the last time they’ll be allowed to plug in. The feeling doesn’t fade as they roar into Shore Power. Listen to Neal’s solo over the breakdown/bridge section. Just something different, a little thing, but this is a show full of those moments. They drive the song with a dynamic, speedway pace. Keep holding on for a boogiefied Jump The Turnstiles. Is there a better musical feeling than when Adam leads the band back after the full stop portion of this song? The “Big Pink” vibes abound in Roll Old Jeremiah. The band hums along with the rhythm of an all night highway, as the keys sparkle like stars in the darkness between towns and exits. What follows is a definitive take on Tumbleweed In Eden. One that gets in no hurry, drifting along in all its majestic glory. Full of beautiful rhythmic flourishes from CR and melodic passages from Neal. A get-down revival breaks out as they tear into Never Been To Spain. I can’t imagine a single person in attendance wasn’t in motion, swept away in this river of soul and groove. The stellar harmonies of About A Stranger accompany Neal’s note bending corridors throughout the song. A version that will have you closing your eyes and getting lost in the soaring sonics. The ending rumbles and churns into a stand alone Tulsa Yesterday that is one of this Sunday evenings highlights. The jam within is heavy and dense, developing its own rhythm as it swells to near disaster before contracting into a rainbow of sounds from Adam and Neal. CR strums in the songs signature lines helping pull the band back from razors edge. The crowd gets one last chance to dance their troubles away as Shake Rattle & Roll closes the the set in fine celebratory fashion.
The Big Red Head does his dance beneath and possibly in worship of a Beggars Moon to start this adventurous second set. The CRB’s multicolored mastery on full display as they slide into a symphonic Clear Blue Sky/Good Doctor. Adam riding that woozy wavelength, galloping along into the Good Doctor movement. The song collapses beneath the weight of washing chords, allowing CR to deliver his best vocal of the night. “The navigator has lost all feeling, and the Good Doctor has gone insane”. A 13 minute voyage through Meanwhile In The Gods continues the exploratory vibe, giving Neal plenty of space to push and probe solos in both tone and structure. Listen to the especially elastic playing as the song starts to peak and the entire band rides down on the bluesy improvisational passages that, at times, border on jazz. CR strums them into a funky little jam that eventually turns into Loves Made A Fool Of You. This one has a feel good flow and it’s stretched passed the 10 minute mark. Complete with a slick, groove based jam on the end. A fairly short edition Of Reflections On A Broken Mirror serves as a relaxing layover as we approach the shows big finish. A righteous roll through the Grateful Dead’s Bertha feeds the sets kinetic energy, Neal’s guitar revolving around the bands sound. The most soul riveting jams of the night take shape in Vibration & Light Suite. A funky, electrified Doors/Manzarek styled groove unfolds until all that’s left is Adam playing some random computer generated sounds, eventually cut off by the full band kicking into I Ain’t Hiding. This song always gets the crowd and CR fired up and here it does not disappoint. An exploratory, sun soaked Rosalee closes the second set, allowing Neal one final chance to blow our minds. These smooth slide solos have become the hallmark of the songs structure live. I absolutely love Burn Slow and it carries a little extra weight placed here in the encore spot. Leading off this double encore, it’s full of Adam’s thick atmospheric creations. As beautiful as the setting sun turning the Pioneertown desert into a roaring, drone fueled fire. Saturday Night In Oak Grove Louisiana sends everyone home with a little extra pep in their steps and a feeling they just left a truly memorable rock & roll show, satisfied.
This show has a lot of little moments that reveal themselves with repeated listens. It’s also the show I most often recommend to people asking me what this “CRB band” is all about. It has flawless playing, some serious jams/funk, and a few stunning ballads. So whether you are deep into the bands live catalog or just looking for a place to start, this is the perfect addition to your live CRB collection. Grab it at the link and remember to be kind, somebody you’ll meet today or tomorrow really needs it. And as always, Freak On brothers and sisters!
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Pappy & Harriet’s Palace
Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go
Jump The Turnstile
Roll Old Jeremiah
Tumbleweed In Eden
Never Been To Spain
About A Stranger
Shake Rattle & Roll
Clear Blue Skies/The Good Doctor Meanwhile In The Gods
Love’s Made A Fool Of You Reflections On A Broken Mirror Bertha
Vibration & Light Suite
I Ain’t Hiding
Saturday Night In Pioneertown