“Older than the mountain younger than this day.” Leave it to the CRB to open up the cases and unload one of the years biggest shows in one of its smallest and oldest venues. Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT is a small performing arts venue built back in the late 1800’s. The sounds and power that our bliss merchants created on this evening (7/16/2015) surely must have tested its structural integrity. But listening back over the last few days has assured me that those in attendance likely didn’t mind the tight quarters. This Ravens Reel has one of the best second sets of the tour and some spots that will definitely catch your ear and keep you coming back to this recording often. It’s a hot summer night with the brotherhood so come on and take the trip!
Boppin’ The Blues and Jump The Turnstile give everyone, including the band a chance to acclimate themselves to the nights allocated space. Things starts to melt into one during a beautiful, harmonic Reflections On A Broken Mirror. Played at a slow, woozy narcotic pace, it sets a vibe that the band carries through the first set. About A Stranger always floods my brain with good feelings and this one is no exception. Matching the same tempo as Reflection it floats along on a hazy cloud of keys from our Wizard. We pick things up a bit, find our shadow, and slip away with Roan County Banjo. Neal pushes through the tumbling rhythm to give us our first big moment of the night as the band takes flight and his leads drive a little breakdown section to close the song. The slow saunter of the set returns momentarily for a delicate but punchy Tumbleweed In Eden that also has a nice extended second half. The song builds in double time, then launches into a swirling storm of sound before slowly floating safely back down. Only to meet a raucous crowd and the pocket groove of Hog For You. We then direct attention to Mr MacDougall and his close encounters style intro to the backbeat bounce of the set closing Beggars Moon. Church like organs radiate through the mix as the gospel calls of “shine a light shine a light” echo through the pews. The now converted, to the Freak California, roar their approval and we brace for what’s ahead.
Let’s Go Let’s Go is first out of the magic bag, setting in motion both the crowd and the cosmik events that make this show so very special. 2015 was a stellar year for the Meanwhile>Tulsa combo, and the one included here is stands out in this sea of diamonds. The song begins its powerful march toward the jam, but you’ll notice early on that Neal’s tone is a little edgier than normal. He starts this chopping type of lick that has a really eerie effect. Adam grabs on and mimics it almost, creating a really atmospheric reverb that falls in rhythm and takes them into a very relaxed groove. But it’s a false sense of control, a little head game of sorts as the avalanche is soon coming down the mountain, in the form of a big crushing jam. Finally settling on the ridge, known tonight as Tulsa Yesterday. It’s a seamless segue and fits so perfectly they barely have to let off the throttle, much less shift gears. CR strums them in and all the interlocking parts of the song start to click, one by one until it too explodes into its own midwestern acid washed alchemy. A cool down passage leads us out as Adam and Neal get into a rolling battle of weirdness that’s hard not to smile through with pure giddiness. The first notes of 100 Days Of Rain ring out and we find ourselves no longer on the east coast, but streaking through pacific standard time like a storm. This version has a kinetic energy that makes it one of my favorites of all time. Neal’s solo after the bridge is as refreshing as a post-rain breeze and carries us further into the feeling of rebirth and arrival. “The ocean always finds the shore, so let it be forever more.” What comes next is a nearly hour long set closing stretch of spacey, twisting, West Coast anthemic funk. Leading off is a West L.A Fadeway that finds everyone trading off leads as this 80’s Dead classic gets a nice workout. CR’s vocal just oozing the grit of the song, “I need a West LA girl, already know what I need to know”. Blessed are the trip takers and we free fall, deep into a Vibration & Light Suite that opens a portal into another dimension. We find ourselves drifting far from our moorings. The freak-jam reaching far into our consciousness and daring us to open our eyes in the dark, to disregard the scary sounds this monster on stage is creating. To find the courage and let go and allow the music to take us wherever it sees fit. We give up and the press of sound gives way to the four on the floor disco funk of Ain’t Hiding. The songs pulsing bass line leads as the band erupts into a menacing jam at the end. Testing even our most liberal boogie boundaries. A beautiful wash of organ and guitars changes the key and presents the familiar Sunday Sound. It’s shimmering cascades act as a beacon, calling us back to safety and our CRB coastal commune of cool. A perfect and fitting way to end the set. The Danny Whitten/Crazyhorse, aching ballad I Don’t Want To Talk About It, is the first of what’s my favorite encore of the year. This song was made famous by Rod Stewart but on this night it belongs to the Brotherhood. They absolutely own this cover and Neal’s extraordinary slide work has never sounded more heartbreaking. This is the first and only time they’ve done this one and it’s truly not to be missed. “The stars in the sky don’t do nothing to you they’re a mirror.” The only thing that could top this would have to be a Dylan tune of course. Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall is given just a little bit of that extra CRB pep as they kick into this show closer with purpose. Driving it home and sending the crowd out stunned and this night, right into the all time archives.
Like all great touring bands, the CRB has proven time and again that they never phone it in. Regardless of the venue or location they take the stage and allow the music to work it’s magic, on both themselves and the audience. And the results are these wonderful, transcendent nights that we are oh so lucky to have available for our pleasure seeking souls. This one is just a click away and it’s more than likely going to be your new favorite show. It’s been on every top ten list I’ve made the last few years and I don’t have any doubts it will make yours as well. Everyone have a safe and groovy weekend, full of music and smiles. We are so much stronger united by love. Let’s all lift it up and negate the hate. And don’t forget to Freak On brothers and sisters!
#crb #chrisrobinsonbrotherhood #letthecrbsetyoufree #blissmerchants#freaktransmissions #crbismagic #crbeings #spaceisonthephone#dancefloorofdreams ✌️️👁🔮🌟🌙🍄🚀💫🌘 ☀️
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Boppin’ The Blues
Jump The Turnstile
Reflections On A Broken Mirror About A Stranger
Roan County Banjo
Tumbleweed In Eden
I’m A Hog For You
Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go Meanwhile In The Gods
100 Days Of Rain
West L.A. Fadeaway
Vibration & Light Suite
I Ain’t Hiding
I Don’t Want To Talk About It
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall