“Are you going my way, to the way out there?….” For our next entry into the Almanac we travel way back into the archives to the inaugural year of the Brotherhoods boogie blitz. After the initial California residency that kicked off their year, the vibes were high and welcoming as the calendar turned to December and the band returned, road tested and in fine freak form, to the west coast to close the year. Seattle’s legendary Crocodile Cafe was the setting and the sound you’ll hear is a band who are well aware of what they’ve created in just 10 short months. These musical tales had truly found a home among the Freaks who followed and a movement was now well under way. You can both hear and feel the confidence in their sound that while still changing and growing, had found that place, that groove where it could thrive and live among the love and open, dancing arms. They would travel South along the coast from here eventually back home to the Golden State for some magical evenings. But this is one you need to have, a great cornerstone for any CRB live collection and the perfect soundtrack for your weekend.

Often I hear early CRB referred to as raw, but for me, they have always felt like a smooth take off. Granted, the vehicle we’ve been riding or more like strapped to from the start has always been a rocket/spaceship. It’s a powerful thing to behold either in person or on tape. Those gravity free sensations abound here as the band takes the stage and brings the audience right into their wonderful world with the seamless opening one-two-three punch of Someday Past The Sunset > Tomorrow Blues > Eagles On The Highway. It doesn’t take long for the special stuff to get going and by the time CR howls the “down with dogs” line in this opener, the chills are multiplying exponentially. Someday Past The Sunset is a song with a slinky pulse and this one twists and turns until we tumble, eyes closed, into Tomorrow Blues. Neal unleashes some mind melting leads that linger like smoke while Adam brings us through the blinking lights and close encounters like bridge as they explode into the songs big finale. The winds of “Eagles” starts to sweep through the room, carrying CR’s slightly reverberating vocal through every tuned in head in the venue. The first pause of the show follows and even this semi-silence is not void of emotion. It’s filled with waves of anticipation that crash to the sonic shore with the opening surge of Tough Mama. The CRB version of this Dylan classic has developed into one of the bands biggest present day jam vehicles and even here it’s clear this is a song they have an uncanny grasp of. Tonight it’s fury boils just below the surface and when the jam break through and penetrates the layers of funk it’s something to behold. Each member taking turns exploring every brush in their psychedelic box as the spontaneous improvisation reaches a sparkling peak. The creative madness eventually surrenders to the beautiful harmonic haze of Star Or Stone. A high point in the set, it features a captivating coalescence of everything the band and audience had grown to expect on magical nights like these. From the vocals to the harmony, it’s pure perfection and features an ever unfolding guitar passage by Neal that is devastatingly emotional. And when the band re-engages for the songs closing symphonic movement of ecstasy, they soar and climb to heights harrowing and heavy. Dancing on the edge of darkness but allowing the light to eventually prevail in this synergy of sound and story. A Garcia paced Brown Eyed Women gets everyone dancing in delight and makes room for our Wizard to shine, foreshadowing events to come and whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The opening notes of Silver Car hit like a sudden breeze as we surrender to the songs journey. Disappearing as they drive us into the question mark sunset. A surprisingly upbeat vibe encompasses this rendition and even on this recording you can hear the crowds approval as an expansive Rosalee roars to life. Everyone on stage facing off in a deep dialogue while lifting the spirits of the entire congregation. Listen to the unique little laid back jam/groove they get into just before the “Is the air getting thinner” line brings the band back full force and the ship back down to earth for the breather at the break.


If it hasn’t “happened” for you yet during the first set of a CRB show, the second is where that line of demarcation usually resides. Where much like their Grateful San Francisco kin, they carry you across an invisible yet tangible threshold into a sort of auditory bohemian Shangri-La. That’s not to imply CRB first sets don’t have their share of galaxy and boundary pushing jams and transitions, because they absolutely do!(see/hear 2/18/17 Redding, Ca) But you can always count on the dosage and mix to be finely tuned by the time the evening grows late and all of the weird and wonderful family have made their way to the front of the stage for the final act of the service. So we all settle in for the takeoff as the band leads us into the warm light and sticky groove of Poor Elijah that stretches the clock to nearly 11 minutes. One of the years best incarnations of Tulsa Yesterday shimmers to life next. Born under ghost like clouds and propelled by its signature broken lope, it’s a mystic and moody beast from the start. Neal and CR pushing each other creatively with every note. And once the song ignites around the 9 minute mark, we find ourselves wading waist deep in some truly adventurous additions from Adam as they settle down every so slowly. Like the sounds of a 50’s sci-fi movie greeting us between our dreams and reality at 3 a.m. The powerful surge of Leon’s Seventh Son muscles its way through the laser blasts and we are once again semi-lucid but still lurking in that weightless realm only this band can create. A ceremonial sermon of sorts is underway as each of CR’s syncopated syllables fly true, finding their mark deep in the soul of our mind where everything exists and nothing is impossible. The music of the set is branching out in every direction now, seemingly all at once. Numerous doors await for us to choose and enter. We reach for one and it swings open wide and the sound of love and levitating leads washes over us. We recognize They Love Each Other right away but we have no time now to stop and contemplate our place in what’s going on. We are hyper focused on this trip, this angle of view we are being shown. It’s a beautiful version and you’ll find yourself swaying softly through one velvety variation after another as the song drifts from peak to lofty peak on Neal and Adams authentic and emotive expressions. The Brotherhood’s sonic landscape always has an edge, however not always one that will cut. Tonight it’s an edge to close our eyes and free fall from, smiling and grooving as we spiral into the depths of bliss. An orientational omen comes in on an angry wind as Vibration & Light envelopes us completely. Just in time for our third eye to fully open and us to comprehend this bottomless fall of funk we’ve thrown ourselves into. The Vibration jam grows and grows into one big organic, operatic orb until it collapses on itself as the opening cycle of riffs signal we are no longer falling but getting ready to Ride. This second straight 11 minute plus seamless excursion into our minds momentum begins to slow down our decent and we are again levitated, buoyed by the power of the music and ascending back toward the light. Climbing blinding on Neal’s fiery fret work as if the band has stumbled onto some gravitational repellent sequence of sounds. The songs closing 4 minute jam is fat and full of bottom and boogie and worth the price of admission alone. The always welcome Mississippi, You’re On My Mind follows and is beautiful in its brevity and depth. CR never sounded better, turning in a vocal for the ages here. The song gives way and we find ourselves merging into that California traffic that only Sunday Sound can deliver us from. Adam takes charge and we follow his lead through lanes of liquid like keys that drip sunshine, pooling into that medicated west coast golden goo. The encore is a double dose of that dusty California cosmic gold via two Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers styled classics. First we rest down by the river of Jordan with I Am A Pilgrim, baptized just in time for one final groove session via Older Guys (released by CRB as a Record Store Day 7 inch). The bands cover and encore selections never disappoint but getting two back to back like this is almost too much to dream of. But with a show of this caliber, of course they left us both wanting more and extremely satisfied.

Thanks everyone for hanging with us and again for all the support you continue to show this project. The CRBASE is in its final stages and should be up at ravensreelsalmanac.net very soon. The Almanac team has been working hard adding tons of galleries and upgrading the website to make it the best it can be for this amazing community so check it out, it’s literally getting better and faster by the day! The CRB loves you! We love you!! Freak On Brothers and Sisters!!!

Chris Robinson Brotherhood 12/1/2011
The Crocodile
Seattle, WashingtonSET ONE:
Someday Past The Sunset> Tomorrow Blues>
Eagles On The Highway
Tough Mama
Star Or Stone
Brown-Eyed Women
Silver Car
Poor Elijah
Tulsa Yesterday>
Seventh Son
They Love Each Other
Vibration & Light Suite>
Mississippi You’re On My Mind
Sunday Sound
I Am A Pilgrim
Older Guys
#crb #chrisrobinsonbrotherhood #letthecrbsetyoufree #barefootinthehead#freakflag #blissmerchants #ravensreels #freaktransmissions #crbismagic#crbeings #spaceisonthephone #dancefloorofyourdreams ✌️👁🔮🌟🌙🍄🚀💫🏹🦉
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