Mandy and I went to see Chris Robinson with the new band on Sunday night at Slim’s in San Francisco. This was the first solo tour with the entire ensemble plugged in and wailing. He’s put together a pretty strong lineup that enables him to break away and not be a black crowe. It is still a little wierd to see Chris on-stage with a guitar strapped across his chest, though. The Stacey brothers work well together on guit and drums, with Jeremy really letting loose on that poor kit every now and then. George Reiff held it together pretty tight on bass for a good ‘ol boy from Austin, TX. The other George (Laks) on keyboard/organ, was in another world, grinning like a madman. Wherever he was at, the party was happenin’!
The setlist was equal parts new material and eclectic covers: several Grateful Dead / Janis Joplin tunes infused by a trip to Stinson Beach, “Blues Power” from Clapton – down and dirty like rock and roll should be, a Band cover that took “Tears of Rage” to a less painful, tenuous place, Jimmy Rodger’s “T for Texas”, the list goes on and on. It made for a very cool 3+ hours of music, much longer of a show than I was expecting going in.
This was also the first time going to Slim’s. As a venue it is a little loud, earplugs are a must, but I don’t think there is a bad seat in the house. I really dig the size of club that can bring in bigger names and give them an intimate performance space.
A side note: go to rock shows with a short person. You get a lot more pity and leverage when fighting your way up front with them. At a good show where the real communication between the band and fan happens at close range it makes for a much better experience (unless you end up next to the girl that can’t stop singing louder than the band).