“Yes love is hard to find. And in the Gods they stand and cheer, throwing flowers on the stage.” Today’s Almanac entry highlights the final available Ravens Reel of 2014. A year that, maybe more than any before, found the songs of the CRB settling into definitive works of cosmic California rock and roll. If 2011-2012 were the formative, woodshedding years, then 2014 was when it all began to coalesce. Turning into a “thing”, a band known around the country by those three letters. After returning from a year off, they blitzed music fans from coast to coast before closing the year, as they always have, back in the Final Freak Frontier of California. This show from December 7th, in Sonoma, has always been a favorite of mine for a lot of reasons. It has a fantastic sound mix to start, and a setlist that would make any CRBeing drool. But as always it’s the musical performances within that matter most. Setlists can tell us what’s coming, but I learned long ago that this band can take any song on any night and take it, and everyone within earshot, on a journey of galactic proportions. This is an evening where it all comes together and the results are one of the best available shows in the bands live archive with a stellar first set.

A potent and propulsive Hello L.A. Goodbye Birmingham opens this phenomenal show. The Delaney Bramlett cover is one of the usual opening nods to a rock and roll past to which the band continues to stay closely and organically tied. Jump The Turnstiles has an extra heavy, but bright, bounce to it and finds Adam stepping out and really getting off early. Some serious rock/funk goes into the following supercharged version of Freddie Kings, Pack It Up. CR’s vocal delivery is only matched by the band just grabbing this song by the throat, while Neal and Adam slam into the deep wah-zone. Always the killer kinetic combo, tonight it’s clear right away that they are connected by more than just cables and a stage. One of the things, I think, that makes this band special is how they can collectively harness the energy from a song when it really clicks. And instead of leaving that behind, use that as a launchpad to send a set or show spinning off on a spirited trip into places none of us knew existed. That seems to happen here as the five song closing stretch is just a sprawling landscape of musical textures that they skillfully traverse. The journey begins with one of the biggest and best versions of Star Or Stone you’ll find. They flip a switch around the halfway point of this 12 minute version and you can feel the energy of the set changing. Next comes the urgent upswings of Meanwhile In The Gods. Neal’s tone and guitar leads always shine here and this is a truly stirring build to a magnificent crescendo. The jam has some extra punch and great sparkling interaction from the rhythm section. The beat zips along with every peak seemingly more frenzied than the last. This is a full body musical experience at this point and you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. The psychedelic stew then really starts to boil and brew as everything drifts and deconstructs before the band catches fire completely and we get a early 70’s Fillmore west style Hard To Handle. The set drops into a soulful and majestic Driving Wheel, detailed and delicate as it drifts through the dreamy tones and tales of longing and love. They close the set with the savage attack of 40 Days. Its dynamic shifts are met with quicksilver like leads from Neal as they tear through this New Earth Mud track before finally giving us all a breather and a little time back on solid ground.


The intensity of the music didn’t fade during the break, as proven by the set opening jaunt through the Leon Russell classic Stranger In A Strange land. The tender fluidity of Reflections On A Broken Mirror provides the perfect setting for the bands attention to the nimble details that make a song special. Packed with warm harmonies that seem to aid the songs glide through CR’s imagery and our Wizards flourishes of color. Articulated leads abound in a peppy electrifying Crash On The Levee that gets into some serious swing at times. The drums then seem to come tumbling down around us from every intersection, followed by bursts of guitars and keys to open this rolling Mother Of Stone. Neal’s guitar wails and screams, appearing to circle the swooping bass line as it climbs and falls through a Doors style jam that brings the song to rapturous conclusion. A real highpoint in the set and show. A tip of the hat to the original west coast acid road warriors can then be found in the timeless They Love Each Other. Besides the original, nobody does this better than the Brotherhood. The set pace then ebbs and flows along with Tomorrow Blues, finally settling into the deep strummed bloom of Appaloosa. This urgent ballad is a temporary but pleasant amble through dreamy guitars that have some of the highest peaks of the evening. It’s then time to set our controls for that distant nebula of Sunday Sound. This polyrhythmic assault careens into spacey realms fairly quickly, starting with a trippy tangent after the second chorus. The base beat steadies but the band still surrounds us on all sides by bold improvisation. Passing glowing, cosmic clusters at a narcotic clip. Emerging, then ducking into one musical wormhole after another. It all starts to accumulate, building mass into a rocking resonance that leads to a magical set closing sequence from our intergalactic evangelists. The encore is an awesome one indeed. Starting off with a long distance call to Tennessee in Johnny Rivers legendary tune Memphis. CR gets in some heavy rhythm guitar and pushes this one along while turning in maybe his best vocal of the night. Psychedelic blue eyed soul music never sounded better than this sun dazed stroll through Soul Deep. Finishing off the all Memphis themed encore with the songs Big Star like groove and crowd pleasing chorus, “my love is like a river running, Soul Deep”.

The Cali-Freak road show is rolling back into Sonoma soon and I have no doubt it’s going to be another one for the books. February and March is full of dates so buy some tickets, take your friends, and send them home baptized in the boogie of the CRB. You know they’ll thank you for it! This amazing show is waiting at the link! Freak On brothers and sisters!!

#crb #chrisrobinsonbrotherhood#letthecrbsetyoufree #blissmerchants #ravensreels#freaktransmissions #crbismagic #crbeings#spaceisonthephone #dancefloorofyourdreams ✌️️👁🔮🌟🌙🍄🚀💫🌘 ☀️


Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Sonoma Winery
Sonoma, California

Hello L.A. Bye Bye Birmingham Jump The Turnstile
Pack It Up
Star Or Stone
Meanwhile In The Gods
Hard To Handle
Driving Wheel
40 Days
Stranger In A Strange Land
Reflections On A Broken Mirror
Crash On The Levee
Mother Of Stone
They Love Each Other
Tomorrow Blues
Sunday Sound
Memphis , Soul Deep

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