“Let my children see my dreams, they are intertwined with theirs it seems.” Just back from the badlands of New Mexico, the CRB rolled into the Grand Canyon State and hit the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix with a head full of steam. The Winter Tour may have been winding down but the band was in fine form and turned in a fantastic show with one of the best first sets of the year. Neal was also trying out some new onboard electronics and was armed with a “Tiger” replica for most of the night. This brand new release from the boogie barn vault is full of great music so let’s get to it!

An opening number off the classic Byrds album, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, is always sure to grab the ear of even the most eclectic music fan in attendance. So kicking off the show with a charged version of Lazy Days had everyone moving and feeling the laid back Freak-California vibe. The tumbling time changes of Roan County Banjo showed everyone on stage tonight was tuned into the same wavelength and quickly dialing the congregation in as well. The harmony was tight and Jeff’s walking bass line provided sure footing for the band to kick up a little cosmik-dust. That sparkling, fertile musical matter is quickly pulled into the country folk favorite Tornado. Everyone trading off “oooooh’s” and woozy twang at every twist and turn. This little lull in pace sets up a scorching 5 song sequence to close the set. It starts with Clear Blue Sky and you can feel the set temperature climbing with every note as they bounce through the verse and chorus. While this one doesn’t have the Good Doctor ending, it does have a barroom boogie jam-boree near the end that sets the band and music free. Eventually it all settles into the opening three beat announcement of Sunday Sound. They stride confidently in as the song quickly progresses into Tony and Adam alone in the lab. They toss chords and beats back and forth with their now telepathic like timing and intuition. I even get a little “Does Anyone Know What Time It Is” feel there near the end of this little one on one getdown. Jeff’s brings the low end back for a few more trips around the groove before Neal and CR fall in. It’s then one big smiling musical sunny day cruise into the closing crescendo. It’s then time to dance in the dust beneath a freak flag colored tent. The revival officially starts with the boogie barrage of Little Lizzie Mae. It takes a delightful descent into some skittering atonal weirdness for the last 3 minutes of the song before we slowly turn our songbooks (to page 420) and join as they lead us thru the golden shored gospel of California Hymn. The set comes to its cool climatic close with a powerful groove-oriented Hard To Handle that would make 1978 Jerry Garcia Band proud. It may be cold in the desert at night, but things had sure warmed up nicely inside the venue.


The jovial jitterbug Boppin’ The Blues leads as this stoney second set gets underway. New Cannonball rolls in with Jeff and Tony setting the table nicely. The 2017 incarnation of this song makes me happier than my words can explain. It has developed into nothing short of a consistent set highlight and here the band catches fire for the final 3 or 4 minutes and finds a smooth, jazzy, soul stirring groove. Neal introduces a gritty tone and unleashes one his signature solos that pushes the band even further as the songs musical tension builds with an impressive energy. A unique and seamless surge brings them into the chugging charge of Tomorrow Blues where, once again, Adam levitates the proceedings to lysergic levels. A short but velvety smooth About A Stranger is one of the nights highlights for me. I’m always amazed by just how much feeling and texture this band can inject into a 6 minute song. One of the new ones, Blue Star Woman, is next. This magical little ditty has quickly become one of my favorites. It has a playful exterior, but it’s ominous psychedelic underpinnings are slowly starting to make themselves known as it grows and progresses live. This is the biggest and most wonderfully weird one yet. Once Neal comes firing in, bending notes with that reverberating tone, it’s a mysterious descent into medicated madness with the entire band joining the deconstruction. A big jam is coming out of this at some point, I can feel it. But for now it closes with a few minutes of eerie ethereal CRB weirdness. Ain’t It Hard But Fair finds the tempo elevated and the band riding high. The set and show always finds its peak around this point and it’s no different here as this jam heavy take leads into the propulsive freak funk of Narcissus. CR pulls his harp and we get a little high and hazy breakdown before meeting up on that downhill run to the beach. The closing Rosalee, at over 12 minutes, is the biggest one of the year and roars proud and powerful in its second set closing spot. There isn’t a more fitting encore for the day of this entry’s posting (2/26 Johnny Cash’s birthday) than this beautiful Dylan/Cash ballad, Girl From The North Country. They glide through this Nashville Skyline album opener in perfect time and tone, capping yet another stellar and blissful evening from this 2017 Winter Tour.

These back to back entries from the same year and tour are a little bit of a departure from the usual Almanac format. But these shows definitely deserve a little extra light to bring them to the attention of our CRBeing family. As I keep saying, it’s a truly wonderful and exciting time to be part of this congregation and the trip train shows no signs of slowing down. So hang on and enjoy the ride, and as always Freak On brothers and sisters!

Check out pictures from this show here:


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


Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Crescent Ballroom
Phoenix, AZ

Lazy Days
Roan County Banjo
Clear Blue Sky >
Sunday Sound
Little Lizzie Mae
California Hymn
Hard To Handle
Boppin’ The Blues
New Cannonball Rag
Tomorrow Blues
About A Stranger
Blue Star Woman
Ain’t It Hard But Fair
Narcissus Soaking Wet
Girl From The North Country

Almanac Entries

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