“Among the sleepers I am, floating in my dream…” September in the South is many sacred things. Among the timeless, hallucinatory orange and red harvest hues, students returning to hallowed halls and farms making their final arrangements for winter, you’ll find a more eccentric and esoteric soul. Ones who’ve sought and secured a place just beneath the surface level beauty and wonder. A collection of kind characters who seem to all be dreaming the same dream, lost in all of it’s bliss together. It was those ambassadors of love and open arms that gathered to welcome the band to CR’s familiar first launching pad in the South, Atlanta. After living with these two shows for awhile it was clear,whichever I chose, an equal or even greater case could be made for the other. So in the end or beginning, I went with 9/14, the first night of this down south dance-floor of dreams double dip at the Variety Playhouse!

The opening song of a show or set can sometimes signal a few things. For setlist junkies like myself, and you more than likely if you are reading this, we often times mine the structure for hints and clues. So as of September, 2017, Sweet Thang & Cisco openers were certainly nothing new and as Adam made laps around the theatre with his powerful piano push, we were less concerned with what was to come and more with what was happening NOW! When they’ve got this one going you can really feel the whole joint swing. That’s in full effect here and they played off that vibe and momentum all the way into the Barefoot twang and laid back lesson of High Is Not The Top! Sometimes I swear you can hear a little echo from the future just before CR shatters the smile soaked, between song silence with that opening demand for us to sit down and watch the twisting time-portal Tornado approaching. Neal digs in, working his way deeper into the fret board with every passage and for a moment my mind wanders back to set structure. This was sunrise, AM gold, but that feeling of calm before the sun storm was all around and the fabric of perception had finally started to show signs of weakness around 3 minutes into Roan County. This song has always shimmered in my mind and it’s never sounded more alive than here. Both guitars darting and dancing while Jeff’s bass line expands, morphing perfectly with Adam and Tony for a devilish and delightfully medicated gyration!

Every time I set some sort of bar or line of demarcation musically for this band they turn right around and blow that into the highest spheres! So it’s with that, very clearly stated, I try to describe this next 53 minutes of conscious bending narcotic navigation. This show/set, of course, holds the absolutely astronomical Meanwhile> Tulsa> Cali Hymn> Sunday Sound. Any combination of the first three would be cause for rejoice and re-entry, but here they subject us to four consecutive seamlessly soldered exploratory vehicles! The motherships hover now close enough to scare the hitched horses outside and the dust and dirt displaced by its ancient unseen propellant forming ominous, glowing mushroom clouds all around us. Around the 7 minute mark is when the first wave comes. Cloaked in the unassuming opening vail of Meanwhile, its not a rushed seek and destroy mission by any means. Instead the band members each take turns scanning the vibe in the room, mapping the terrain and feeling out the willingness of everyone to engage and enter, relax and receive. The lazy paced jam is punctuated at every turn by Adam and Jeff, both keeping the whole thing resting excitedly on the galaxy’s lip. The loosely scheduled and inevitable slip off that edge and into the cosmos arrives with the familiar tones of Tulsa and Tony’s tumbling timbre and time. Following westward footsteps in the deep red Georgia clay and a directional musical wind, our spirit is carried across soundscapes of endless expanse and color. Finally surfacing in a hazy little outro groove that loops around in orbit a few extra times before bringing a brilliant sonic breeze that blows out books open to California Hymn. A song that’s full of lines fast becoming freak flag waving salutes to our CRBiengs across the land. “If you don’t believe, we still love you!” A welcome rush of pacific flavored fuel fills the air as we testify under the power of the ancient flower. Laughing and exalting as tales of the promised-land lush life illuminate our Hallucination Nation’s anthem, Sunday Sound. From the songs first recognizable vibrations it doesn’t feel like a usual, even set closing Sunday Sound. Coming on the high heels of such a plural perception blurring triplet, this one was smoking and waiting to explode from the outset. And as Adam ceremoniously presses the correct hyper space keys, we clearly feel the collective power of the set and it’s structure. All the swing, strut, roll, groove and improvised beautiful chaos culminating in one big massive uplifting wave. A quick setbreak followed for reflection, decompressing and coming up for air!


The second half of our travel starts with the smooth, glide-like gait of Good To Know. From the little signals and hints Adam gives us before it starts, to the way CR’s cadence and the rhythm sections telepathic timing combine for an almost natural reverb, this one has proven a worthy heir to the second set opening throne. Venus In Chrome and Hark The Herald Hermit Speaks, two relative newcomers to the bands bag of magic, really continue the same sense of revelry we bathed in during the first set. Hark spawns heavy, decibel dividing jammed section with a sort of medicinal fusion of friction and fission that again causes our craft to side step all gravitational elements. Wheel Don’t Roll fits nicely next and also finds the bands instruments in an excited and adventurous state. The whole show seems to be locking into place around this time. Making it not so easy, in stretches, to completely and accurately remember just where we are in the evening. The proceedings slow softly for at least the first half of Heart To Break. But the sweet swaying lull doesn’t last as Neal attacks the songs second half. Radiating an aggressive yet nuanced approach and tone as the whole thing revs up again in preparation for a lesson in touch and class by Tony on Loose Lips. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can tear through the classics like this band. It always feels like the invading alien force is passing over, sparing the lives of all of us gathered in the school gymnasium for the rock & roll sock-hop. The same playful patterns carry on into Blue Star Woman and if you listen close you can hear the dance floor flicker. Once again the songs structure could hold the band only so long and they really rave up the take off jam. This is one of the louder CRB shows you’ll find and the party taking place just pours from Ravens Reel, through your speakers, finally pooling in a chrome, metallic like puddle all around you. A traveling sequence takes us straight into Boppin’ The Blues where our feet are quickly fleet and our moves all as one, connected and continuous. How many amazing shows have been capped off by a monstrous Rosalee downhill run? They take advantage of the moons magical pull and lead us to that moonlit beach under those Freak California constellations. A perfect and heartfelt Driving Wheel finally makes it on that night train home. An emotional and fluid confidence surrounds this song every time and we are treated here to nearly 10 minutes, deep in the heart of the beautiful long distance longing and heartache.

And remember, this was only night one! This pair of shows launched a leg of the Barefoot tour where the band, playing a their highest levels together to date, would introduce new covers and see the Barefoot songs continue to grow and adapt to this wonderful universe we’ve all found. Tour is back and the guys will crossing the country with their brand of bliss. It’s such a wonderful time when we all get to embrace and then boogie, beside all of our fiends, friends and freak family. Lots of really cool things are coming so stay tuned! Some even we can’t believe are happening! See you all soon!! Love is the only letter, love is the only law. Freak On brothers and sisters!

#crb #chrisrobinsonbrotherhood #sleepinpeacewilddarkriders #letthecrbsetyoufree #freakfamily #barefootinthehead #freakflag #blissmerchants #ravensreels #freaktransmissions #crbismagic #crbeings #spaceisonthephone #alanforbes ✌👁🔮🌟🌙🍄🚀🏹🦉


Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Atlanta, GA
Sweet Thang And Cisco
High Is Not The Top
Roan County Banjo
Meanwhile In The Gods>
Tulsa Yesterday>
California Hymn>
Sunday Sound
Good To Know
Venus In Chrome
Hark The Hearld Hermit Speaks
If Your Wheel Don’t Roll
If You Had A Heart To Break
Loose Lips
Blue Star Woman
Boppin’ The Blues
Shore Power
Driving Wheel

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