“You just can’t live in Texas, if you ain’t gotta a lot of soul.” To close out the month of September, 2014, the CRB did a little Texas Two-Step of their own, hitting that well worn troubadours trail between Houston and Dallas. After dropping a big ole boogie bomb of love on the former, they headed north on I-45 with Freak Flags proudly in the wind. Arriving in Dallas for an evening of majestic and illuminating cosmik rock n roll. This is a very cool and laid back evening, with some of the most beautifully performed ballads in the archive. And a very special cover that makes its one and only appearance in a CRB setlist. But, as always, this show has plenty of excursions into the deepest corners of our consciousness. Buckle up, let’s take a ride.
When you come to a Chris Robinson Brotherhood show you know you’re gonna dance. You can walk through those doors with the worst of troubles and hold onto them with all your might. But, at some point those bursts of glory from the stage will blow them all away and you’ll find yourself shaking, in rhythm, inside a mighty wind. And when you look around, you’ll be happy to see lots of smiling faces doing exactly the same, dancing. Hello L.A. Bye Bye Birmingham provides an opening shuffle storm that helps to facilitate the fun. The sturdy stomp of this Tomorrow Blues has a really great release in the second half where Adam, providing a sort of kettle whistle signal, leads them into the songs big finish. Tornado glides along nicely on Neal’s twisting leads and full band harmony, arriving at a soothing, restrained surge toward Clear Blue/Good Doctor. It’s here that the sets collective temperature starts to change. The pace is only slightly faster, but the music has an impressive urgency as they bounce through time changes and keys with ease. The Good Doctor intro here is extra dreamy as they seem to dive even deeper into the narcotic waves of emotion emanating from CR’s vocal. We get a really nice melodic About A Stranger, followed by a run where the band really stretches Its legs for the first time. They stride into a Lizzie Mae where the groove truly ignites. We are treated to a five minute migrating jam with everyone seemingly passing the lead around. It all circles back a few times before the opening notes of Tulsa Yesterday gently emerge. They hang on that opening riff for a few extra cycles before it falls into the lazy first verse and starts its upward churn toward the cliffs psychedelic edge. The music gathers and the jam is a blissful, chaotic downward flight, landing smoothly on a serene plateau of sound. It shimmers and morphs perfectly in a swaying version of Driving Wheel. CR give es one of the nights most mournful vocals in this version and Neal has that familiar tone dialed into our souls harmonic center. This is one of the points when everyone is aware that the band is cruising as one collective unit. Every solo, ever change, every little articulation falling perfectly in place as they pull us all into the warm glowing core of the planet Brotherhood. And still, we have another full set of these lush soundscapes ahead.
The second set begins with the intuitive march of Beggars Moon and more than the Big Redhead is doing that dance. The good time vibe flows over into a short but purposeful Shore Power and Adams lasers are starting to find their mark at the base of our skulls. Dylan’s, She Belongs To Me, makes its 3rd appearance in a CRB setlist after being debuted earlier in the month in Cleveland. It’s a perfect vehicle for Neal to lay down those late 60’s laid back leads that deliver in both style and tone throughout. 100 Days Of Rain is the point where you really start to feel the sets undercurrent taking control and by the time we make it through the verse/chorus of Vibration we’ve reached those glittering, colorful traces of sound. We know the jam is coming and the push and pull gets heavier and heavier as it builds to a Freak-Fevered pitch. Once Adam has cleared our way into the deepest parts of the musical galaxy we head into a 17 minute variegated version of Ride at full-soul-funk throttle. The band locks into the groove of the night and collectively they tend the cosmik magic garden and we are the lucky recipients of the harvest. I speak often of the way this band can take us into dimensions we couldn’t even imagine finding our way back from. Then suddenly, drop us into a polar opposite musical theme and make it all seems to fit perfectly. Maybe my favorite example of this happens here as they move from that extraterrestrial shaman like ending of Ride into maybe my favorite cover of all time, the Sir Douglas Quintet/Doug Sahm touching Texas ballad, At The Crossroads. If ever there was a song tailor made for this band and CR’s vocal it’s this one. Hearing my favorite band soar through maybe my favorite song, is one of the real high points for me in the archive and I really think you’ll dig it too. It’s also the first and only performance of the song to date. The set ends in a familiar but forceful way as they blast us with a Rosalee that holds a BIG second half jam. They leave the Lone Star State with a double encore that begins with a Leon Russell styled take on Danny O’Keefe’s lonesome and mournful Good By Charlie. Another one of my absolute favorite songs and it’s always a treat to hear the masterful way the CRB allows it unfold. The bad man tale of Betty And Dupree is the final number of the night and has a very Taj Mahal gait to it as Neal’s slinky slide and Adams organ color in the edges. One of the best encores of the tour and a magical way to end the evening. This is a really great show and one I return to often for the striking mix of tender ballads and California space funk. Not only are they played with precision but some truly unique juxtapositions occur throughout these two sets. Click the link and make it part of your 2014 Live CRB collection today!
The 2017 Winter Tour ended Sunday night and it was nothing short of brilliant from its start in Denver until those last notes faded in Tahoe. We’ve got a full slate of Spring dates just around the corner and a big family gathering in Big Sur (Freaks For the Festival). What an exciting time for all of us CRBeings, coast to coast. Make those plans, get those tickets in advance and let’s all meet back on the dance floor of our dreams in March! Until then, we’ve got plenty of new and old Ravens Reels to keep that live CRB jones at bay. Freak On brothers and sisters!
#crb #chrisrobinsonbrotherhood #letthecrbsetyoufree #blissmerchants#ravensreels #freaktransmissions #crbismagic #crbeings#spaceisonthephone #dancefloorofyourdreams ✌️️👁🔮🌟🌙🍄🚀💫🌘 ☀️
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
The Prophet Bar
Hello L.A. Bye Bye Birmingham Tomorrow Blues
Clear Blue Skies/Good Doctor
About A Stranger
Little Lizzie Mae
She Belongs to Me
100 Days Of Rain
Vibration & Light Suite
At The Crossroads
Good Time Charlie
Betty and Dupree