“It’s a long way around my love, be on your way, by water, by star.” There are places across the country that hold a special place in the heart of the Brotherhood. Towns and venues that seem to pull the band back, tour after tour. All the while inspiring the musical best from our cosmic California collective. The beautiful people and surroundings of Raleigh North Carolina is one of those places and is also the site of one of the ancient motherships most memorable multi-night landings of the 2016 tour. Late October is always a time when the lines are blurred between dimensions, with seasons shifting and Mother Nature putting on a psychedelic art show of her own. These two nights at the Lincoln Theatre closed out a month that left converted communes from Boston to Nashville and the Freak Flag waving quintet on top of their game. For the first time in the brief history of the Almanac this new entry will encompass both nights of this magnificent run in the heart of the research triangle. So come along as the Ravens Reels Almanac takes you on a short hop back in time to the last two shows of October 2016.
Night 1 (10/22/2016)
To keep this from reaching novel length, I’m going to have to gloss over some moments worthy of proper praise. But just a glance at these two amazing setlists will surely point you toward many musical discoveries waiting at every turn. Something that can’t be overlooked is the powerful blast of boogie that opens this run. New Cannonball was turning into the beast it is now and they kicked into it here with a confident swagger and didn’t look back. A seamless transition into Tomorrow Blues gives us a little change of pace and plenty of incentive to dance away any blues we may have brought with us into the venue. After a quick Wheel Don’t Roll we get one of the most beautiful examples of Mr Adam MacDougall’s talent on tape as he alone leads the band into Train Robbers. Just our wizard and his piano in a moment/intro that is unique in both tone and style and sets up a bittersweet tale set to the sounds of the band hitting its stride early. Coloring in every picture perfectly while pulling us into the cinematic scope of the song. Later in the set we are invited along for our first intergalactic journey as they dance along the crystal prism pathways of an exploratory Meanwhile > California Hymn > Hard To Handle. If it wasn’t already clear to the gathered that this was a band sent through space and time, this closing three song, 30 minute musical odyssey would leave no doubt. Meanwhile always feels like climbing a lysergic ladder of some kind, ascending higher as the swell builds and the jam develops. Always different and always transcendental. As exciting as this climactic peak is, it’s the songs movement as a whole that makes its so special. Our waltz into the weird and wonderful cosmic clouds begins and it’s a bouncing, shape shifting good time from the outset. CR pushing the proceedings with his sturdy strum and strong lead vocal as the bands backing harmony and musical prowess merges into such a flawless and combustion prone combination that the songs structure can barely contain it. Our wizard once again is out front and in charge for the extra funky breakdown at the bridge and spurs Neal into unleashing one of his signature “serve the song” blazing solos. He circles the collective vibe, his guitar feeding off of the band as it soars higher and deeper into the groove. With the peak in sight everyone starts to max out the jam and together that explode into a powerful Parliament pulsed outro groove. We have now reached a place of sheer musical magic with CR & Neal trading off solos that meet above the stage and intertwine like serpents in a seductive dance of death. It’s here that the song reaches and even higher point before dissolving into the airy west coast gospel of California Hymn. We all hold our hymnals high and testify in unison before the symphony of sound coming from the stage. “Sure don’t want to be last, when that Holy Spirit gets passed.” The trifecta and set closes with hands down my favorite Hard To Handle of the year and possibly ever by the CRB. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard with the band sounding like a wicked wind howling across the Carolinas.
Set two starts with the steady strut of Leave My Guitar Alone and is paired with its “Anyway You Love…” album mate Forever As The Moon. These two songs are part of the same Freak-California lineage and contain some of the heaviest and most propulsive undercurrents of any of the new material. The set that follows is a tight, song oriented trip taking us from the Parson’s galactic twang of Shadow Cosmic to the funk and fury of Narcissus. The latter is also where the harmonic heavens begin to open, awakened by the calls of CR’s harp and the band in the highest of form and musical hive-mind like lockstep. This momentum carries over into a bombastic Rosalee that is split open to its core by a glittering version of Magic Carpet Ride. The sound of this scenic shimmer shifting gears eventually reaches hyper space territory, bordering on acid induced sun flares at times. But even at their most wonderfully weird, the band always brings us back safely and once again we land back with Miss Rosalee, bringing the set to a frenzied end. They come back for a double encore and one last reminder of what awaits those returning 24 hours later for night two. The After Midnight that ends the evening is arguably the tightest groove of the night and is full of Merle era Garcia Band flourishes and funk. Overall an absolutely outstanding way to start this two night stand and word quickly spread through the headiest of circles to, no matter what, get to the Lincoln Theatre for the coming second dose of CRB.
Night 2 (10/23/2016)
By now everyone is well aware to never miss a Sunday show, and the way night two unfolds in a totally different way than the first, is a perfect example why. Where Saturday was for the most part a focused collection of golden California get down, the Sunday service is filled with soaring jams that tightrope along the line between outer limits and lost in space sinister journeys. The second Leave My Guitar Alone of the weekend fires us into orbit and the energy is off the charts from the jump. We bounce through Roan County, traverse the treacherous terrains of Badlands and finally say hello to L.A. after leaving Birmingham in the musical wake of our ancient freak-powered vessel. This third set really starts to liftoff once they launch into Sunday Sound with Adam at the controls and going off. This 15 minute lope through his lab of lasers and synth laden artillery triggers a chain of auditory events propelling us into a blistering 3 song seamless assault to close the set. Lizzie Mae is a razor like demon dance with a ferocious Dixieland style jam that changes shapes and tumbles into California Hymn with the greatest of ease. The previous nights version found us baring witness and again here this song is a flat out southern soul revival. It finds Neal unleashing one masterful lead after another that each linger, then darts around the room as Jeff’s bass bombs spread out like waves of low frequency love. The band transitions effortlessly into Beggars Moon and slowly begins building the momentum with a slinky little intro jam. Once the blossoms begin to unfold it’s a bouncing barrelhouse blitz to the very end, bringing the set racing to a rowdy close.
One of the real treats of this Fall tour was the welcoming of the Byrds classic Lazy Days into the setlist. Blasting into this songs cosmic California cool had the house in consistent motion and set the vibe for the weekends final set. The locomotive like churn of Shore Power carries through Oak Apple to 100 Days Of Rain and by the time we find ourselves enveloped in the shining funk of Down Home Girl the set is truly bursting at its seams. From this lofty setting Star Or Stone comes on like a dream, gliding through narcotic guitar passages and CR’s rhythmic accentuations. Maybe the highlight of the entire run, for me, is this otherworldly Tough Mama jam. It grows into a wall of organ wash and guitar riffs that push and bend, unfolding in every direction at once. The groove twists and splinters into itself before quickly reforming with everyone on board and driving everything to the wall as hard as they can. It’s a transportive moment that stands out in a field of magical autumn harvests. Jeff then brings down the thunder of the gods and sits among the lighting bursts and attack of a closing romp through Narcissus. The encore to cap a two night stay such as this is always a special one and the farewell for now sway of Eagles On The Highway is a beautiful way to bring an amazing two nights to an end.
After a few weeks off, the band would appear again just down the line in Asheville. Kicking off another cluster of shows and continuing its star slinging roadshow across the country. Propelled, no doubt, by the CRBeings rave reviews and word of this brief but powerful residency in Raleigh. I simply could not pick one of these show to single out for this entry, as they combine to tell this entire story that truly must be heard by all fans of the band. Grab both shows at the Ravens Reels official links below and get started tonight on a trip of your own through this insanely great late October run in Raleigh. Freak On brothers and sisters!
#crb #chrisrobinsonbrotherhood #letthecrbsetyoufree #blissmerchants #ravensreels #freaktransmissions #crbismagic #crbeings #spaceisonthephone #dancefloorofyourdreams ✌️️👁🔮🌟🌙🍄🚀💫🌘 ☀️
Check out the Gallery for Night 1 Here : https://ravensreelsalmanac.net/catching-dreams/live-on-stage/nggallery/2016/10-22-16—Lincoln-Theatre—Raleigh,-NC
Check out the Gallery for Night 2 Here : https://ravensreelsalmanac.net/catching-dreams/live-on-stage/nggallery/2016/10-23-16—Lincoln-Theatre—Raleigh,-NC
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
New Cannonball Rag
Wheel Don’t Roll
I Want To Do Everything For You Meanwhile In The Gods
Hard To Handle
Leave My Guitar Alone
Forever As The Moon
Saturday Night In Oak Grove, LA Shadow Cosmos
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
Ain’t It Hard But Fair
Narcissus Soaking Wet
Magic Carpet Ride>
Girl I Love You
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Leave My Guitar Alone
Roan County Banjo
Badlands Here We Come
Hello L.A. Bye Bye Birmingham Sunday Sound
Little Lizzie Mae>
Oak Apple Day
100 Days Of Rain
Down Home Girl
Star Or Stone
Narcissus Soaking Wet
Last Lonely Eagle