“The Wheel of stars that won’t ever stop.” October of 2011 found the CRB in the middle of their maiden voyage across the country with a Freak Flag safely secured to their masts that, by this point, were full of a mighty wind. Fueled by Brotherhood and armed with a stash of originals and inventive, eclectic covers, they were turning heads and turning those heads “on” at every stop. October 7th (10/7/2011) is one of those shows that sticks out in my mind when I think back to this first year of music. It’s an evening that is strikingly polished and fierce for a band that was only 8 months in. You can hear both the musicians and the songs turning a corner. No longer did this feel like an amazing one-off, it was now clear that something special was happening. The music was taking root and growing in so many beautiful directions. Become part of both our conscious and subconscious musical diet. It was a special time in the relatively short history of the band and I’m so grateful to have such an outstanding recording as this. Thanks to the hard work of so many, we are able to enjoy shows like this over and over again. So come along, let’s take a look back at this outstanding night in Iowa’s capital city.
The show opens with the churning brawn of Tomorrow Blues and right away you’ll hear what makes this one special. The musicianship is just on a whole other level from the jump, and the sound quality of the mix is perfect. Not sterile and clean, but it has just the perfect combination of the room and the board and you’ll instantly feel you are three rows back, dancing in a sea of smiling faces. To nail down the feeling and intricate detail of a song like Eagles On The Highway, most bands would require a substantial warm up period. Only the CRB can slowly roll this one out in the two-spot and make it maybe a top 5 version ever. Listen to the way the entire band holds back the flood gates while accentuating all the emotion with little chords, bends and taps. When they do finally open up and let it roar, it’s a dusty dance in the heat of a heartland blacktop. The axles are greased and the engine is humming as they leap into Star Or Stone. Here, the bands innate ability to seek new and expressive ways to push a song higher is on full display as Neal leads them spiraling upward into a nice jam before everyone settles in for the final verse. With the energy high, CR strums into that contagious gate of the always powerful and pleasing Bertha. They absolutely blaze through this classic, jumping from one crest to the next with a stoney confident ease. The winding passages of the following Tulsa Yesterday seem to continuously unfold before us. You know that lazy drive will eventually lead to potentially scary and always wonderfully weird outer space explorations and our dimensions start to twist into themselves around the 9 minute mark. Be strapped in and have your soul properly functioning, let go and succumb to surrealification of your mind. Dylan’s Tough Mama holds an excited momentum and has a rolling thunder feel from the start as the set seems to reach its peak. Not that anything that follows is any less brilliant, but they’ve got everyone involved at this point. Band and audience seemingly one cohesive groove of blinding light and boogie. The jam here is one of the funkiest of the night and Adam is the main chemical culprit. I’m such a fan of this next one that I haven’t stopped raving about it and I think you’ll understand why. As we all know, these shows aren’t just a collection played live. They are operas for our kind, lead by an acid washed orchestra like current that propels us down into a river of swarming sound. Tough Mama had us all elevated to such a dizzying height and now, we all float down together, like a psychedelic feather on the slow burn of Beware. It’s a powerful and heartbreakingly beautiful version. But the ache is fleeting as we are collectively buoyed by a set closing Rosalee that’s our rollicking west coast rock n roll savior.
After a quick Let’s Go Let’s Go to get everyone moving, we get an early set Tumbleweed In Eden that is cause to rejoice. The music drifts along within weightless waves until the surge finally escapes via a glorious rapture of sound. The musical combustion settles into scattered pieces of every instrument before collecting into a deep groove and eventually Never Been To Spain. They slide into the songs pocket right away and there’s not a being of any kind that can resist the pull of the boogie. Every show has its standouts. What those are is as subjective as the art itself. But I’m fairly confident what comes next will be widely seen as where the magic truly began to manifest itself. It’s a five song closing run that’s as good as anything you will ever hear and I will proudly put it up against any other from this year. They open the first door of our journey with a version of Girl On A Mountain that can only be described as mystical. From the first notes it’s alluring in every, with CR pouring every drop of emotion into each word. But what makes this one for me is the final 4 minutes and the feral free form jam that takes over. It dances around The Other One’s locomotive like vibe with a heavy, sinister tone throughout. Eventually the music burns down and melts into a blistering Vibration & Light Suite that shines as a pharaoh phoenix, reborn beneath the October harvest moon. This hyperdrive version travels through interlocking cosmic shadows and quickly frees itself of all maps and structure. It has one of the most far out and atonal endings of any Vibration and the way they construct that into Ride is truly authentic CRB. It’s a seamless crossover as they shift gears and blast through a fluid and funky version. The explosive jams and deep exploration eventually find us back is some of the themes we visited in Vibration before CR closes the journey with his space aged shaman like calls. Sorrow Of A Blue Eyed Liar acts as a soft machine, allowing everyone to collectively catch their breath while swaying to this Magic Door ballad. Closing numbers can sometimes feel bittersweet, especially when it signals the end of an amazing show such as this. But when that song is Sunday Sound it always seems to soften the blow somewhat and our hallucination nations anthem closes the main body nicely. The tumbling toms and big rave up ending of this Got Love If You Want It encore sends the crowd home happy and dizzy with love. What a show. What a band. I think I’ll just start this trip all over again from the top! Are we ready captain?
This night in the heartland could easily have slipped passed us all had it not been for the hard work and dedication of the entire Ravens Reels team. How amazing is it that we have nights like this captured and literally at our fingertips in such pristine sound quality?! This is a show that will be looked back on as one of the years best and as I said at the start, seems to have been part of the band transitioning into something really special. I have no doubt it’s going to be not only one of your favorites of this year/tour, but one of your most played, period. It’s waiting at the link and it’s a simple click away so sweeten up your Sunday sounds buy adding this to today’s soundtrack. Monday’s commute in your own tin can capsule will be much easier to handle and decompress from with this echoing around your brain. But today, make sure you open your eyes to all of the beauty that surrounds you. With love as our shield, none of the hate stands a chance. Make somebody smile. I promise you someone you’ll meet today needs it. Freak On brothers and sisters!
#crb #chrisrobinsonbrotherhood #blissmerchants #ravensreels #freaktransmissions #crbismagic #crbeings #spaceisonthephone #dancefloorofyourdreams ✌️️👁🔮🌟🌙🍄🚀💫🌘 ☀️
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Des Moines, IA
Eagles On The Highway
Star Or Stone
Tumbleweed In Eden
Never Been To Spain
Girl On The Mountain
Vibration & Light Suite
Sorrows Of A Blue Eyed Liar Sunday Sound
Got Love If You Want It