It was a Long, Long, Crazy, Crazy Night: Ratdog


©Aaron Lingenfelter of Wide Aperture Images

©Aaron Lingenfelter of Wide Aperture Images

It may have been Tuesday evening outside of Old National Center, but inside it felt like a full blown Friday. Bob Weir and his outfit, Ratdog, gave concert goers a phenomenal performance. Say what you will about old rockers, but Weir could’ve given any young, professional guitarist a run for their money last night.

They ignited the night with an old Grateful Dead classic, “Bertha”, and moved straight into “Mississippi Two-Step”. “New Speedway Boogie” was up next, and at this point the concert felt more like a sing-a-long than a traditional show. There wasn’t a soul sitting down for those first twenty minutes. Dead-heads old enough to have toured with the band in the 60s, and teenagers who learned of the Dead through their parents all shimmied and jumped in their seats to the music.

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This writer was accompanied to the show by her father, who has been listening to the Dead since the 70s. Bringing people together to celebrate music is exactly what the Dead did, and still do. The cross-generational fandom of the Grateful Dead, and their related acts, is one of the most remarkable aspects of their music. Speaking of cross-generational, Ratdog also played some other timeless tunes.RATDOG Live

After set break, Weir whipped out his acoustic and serenaded the crowd with a beautiful rendition of “Blackbird”.  Once again, fans both long in the tooth and high-school age rejoiced by signing along with this Beatles classic.

Weir broke out into several dazzling jams that, despite Garcia and his marked differences in guitar playing, sounded very Jerry-esque. Additionally, throughout the night his instrumentation was backed up by some seriously skilled musicians. Ratdog packs a double bass combo along with another guitarist, a drummer, and a keyboardist.

From old Grateful Dead favorites, to cross-generational grooving, Tuesday night with Ratdog was nothing less than glorious. Thank you Bobby and crew.