“I’m still driftin’ from cloud to cloud
Never looking to come down.” With this approaching wave of new live and studio CRB, so will go most of the Almanac’s focus for the coming months of tour. So this week I’ve been back taking a look around that first year via this great Ravens Reel from 11/4/2011, Oxford, MS. The band would soon head back west to their California commune to close the year, but here they roll through this sweaty north Mississippi bar like a band of cosmic New Riders. This first set is as big as it gets and it sets up a monster second with Luther joining in for the entire set. Tag on a three song encore that takes the roof off and the whole evening has a big Garcia Band feeI! You are going to want this one!!
The night starts with the blurred blitz of Let’s Go Let’s Go and Tomorrow Blues. The opener slicing into everyone at the service and infusing them with a little of the good potion. Tulsa Yesterday rises like steam and instantly finds its groove, weaving colors around it for over 12 minutes before Vibration & Light is born in the flash of a collapsing star. A sound that would have bounced nicely off the walls of Fillmore West. Starting some of the themes they would further explore in a deep second set jam later in the evening. It’s a smooth sonic groove, carving a line through this tube we are traveling down. Following Neal’s fin into a beautiful Beware opening passage. Dropping the tempo momentarily and giving prelude to the hallucinatory harmony of a jazzy Sunday Sound. Our wizard of Worrell is glowing hot here so make sure you take it all in. The magic is being passed around now for sure. Neal grabs it and connects with something higher as he pushes this Star Or Stone, making his solo an odyssey of its own. They close the first with a momentum filled Rosalee that sonically lifts off and brings the curtain closed on the first half of this extraterrestrial rock and roll roadshow.
As that familiar riff starts to cycle, ascending just to jump off and repeat, that tingle in your spine is also headed up. Our brain now knows they are opening the second set with Lizzie Mae, and our feet and body are connected in sync. And by the time our guest (entire 2nd set) Brother Luther Dickinson stands on it hard, the entire stage is starting to flicker in time and space. It’s a blue light waltz as things slow for That’s How Strong My Love Is, but don’t mistake the lull in tempo for lack of bite. They bleed through this one with everyone including Luther throwing licks and accents in some well placed and emotional places. The show is now in pretty lofty territory and it’s easy to hear and I’m sure everyone inside those doors knew it. Always a conduit of the psychedelic slide, Poor Elijah pulls direction and inspiration through the delta dirt and the place is a madhouse. The energy reaches such a level here that even listening back it feels as if your speakers won’t be able to handle or contain what you’re hearing. Picking up speed and groove for almost 12 minutes until CR finally calls it with the classic line “make love in slow motion time”. The CRB’s big snap, tumble and crash into Tough Mama has always felt like an adrenaline shot to my soul and this one has some serious pop. Even as we dance and bath in the bliss, that ominous glow rests on the horizon. The familiar eerie green hue given off by the songs deep intergalactic jam. Always unique but always amazing and tonight they do not disappoint. And with our Northern Mississippi guest guitar attacking along with our regular crew, beautiful sights and sounds abound as they light it up, a collective dive into imagination and sound. It slows, shakes and starts to bend along with the colors and light until Leon’s Seventh Son emerges from the wormhole. Riding atop tumbling toms and woozy organ keys. CR’s voice preaching from the boogie book. Just turn this one up a little extra. Peace and love have won in our circle and the victory dances have begun all across the horizon. The shuffle-strut of Roll Old Jeremiah glides along the dusty dry tracks, sparking something onstage that everyone follows for not only a really nice little breakdown jam, but for the remainder of the set. One last sway with our new friends comes in the form of an absolutely stunning Mississippi You’re On My Mind. It seems every time I hear them do this I can’t imagine it getting any better. But much to my delight, they continue proofing me wrong. The set closes with the Kinks classic Got Love If You Want It. A song that the motherships beam has now tinted all the right freak colors. CR’s voice again in fine form, echoing in the southern ether right along with years of Sunday sermons and cries for justice. They give it a little extra gas and when the big rave up finish comes I assure you everyone left listening loud with you will be up smiling and dancing! Only the elusive three song encore could correctly close this night of joy. Luther provides some almost steel sounding slide to this masterpiece that would have sent everyone home satisfied. Luckily another friend, Jimbo Mathis joined the guys on vocals and mandolin for a rolling version of the Byrds, I Am A Pilgrim that had the crowd audibly excited even unaware of what was still to come. The show closes with a 13 minute Sugaree that completely takes the roof off. Hearing this collection of musicians burn something as great as this into the soundtrack of time is a special thing. I’m glad we’ve got the hard work of everyone involved with band and crew. Recordings like this give us the ability to discover, revisit and share these special points along this cosmic journey. Grab it at the link!!
This “Barefoot In The Head” summer is off to one heck of a start. Colorado got its dose of magic and the Oregon County Fair was its usual freak family wonderland. The CRB will be back out in August, but in between the guys are still making music so get out and support their other creative avenues. And we are just weeks away from the new album raining down a change of perspective on the world. Look around at all this love we create. Freak On Brothers and Sisters!
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Vibration & Light Suite
Star Or Stone
Little Lizzie Mae
That’s How Strong My Love Is
Roll Old Jeremiah
Mississippi You’re On My Mind
Got Love If You Want It
Last Place That Love Lives
I Am A Pilgrim
#crb #chrisrobinsonbrotherhood #letthecrbsetyoufree#sleepinpeacewilddarkriders #barefootinthehead #freakflag #blissmerchants#ravensreels #freaktransmissions #crbismagic #crbeings#spaceisonthephone ✌️️👁🔮🌟🌙🍄🚀💫🏹🦉