Furthur @ the Hammerstein – Night Two

Drummers Jay Lane and Joe Russo both did their best to power Furthur. I felt the group was severely under-rehearsed, yet Russo – the guy with the least amount of experience playing these songs – had his parts down and tried to push his band mates to no avail. The one complaint I do have about Russo’s playing is that it didn’t seem as if he was paying attention to what Lane was doing. Russo performed as if he was the only drummer in the band which didn’t help with the cohesion factor.

Now that we’ve got the music out of the way, let me tell you about the scene outside the venue. There had to be thousands of ticketless miracle-seekers all of whom seemed to have some hard drug they were peddling. It was as shady a scene as I’ve witnessed at a concert in New York City and this is before the nitrous tanks came out. I loved the sense of community at Dead shows, there was none of that at the Hammerstein last night.

The venue itself couldn’t have been worse for this concert. Besides the six-block-long line to enter the venue, there were also few facilities to buy a drink or use the bathroom  and the floor was “buns to franks” as far as the eye could see. I was up in the second balcony and the volume of the music was rather low. This led all my fellow concert attendees to chat the night away. There was no energy or vibe whatsoever as the music seemed to be the last thing on everyone’s mind. Considering what was going down on stage, I can’t really blame the crowd.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Furthur shows in Oakland and I have too much respect for the musicians involved to think that they won’t improve with a couple of tours under their belts. That being said, everyone at that venue deserved better for their hard earned money. Furthur continues their tour tomorrow night in Wallingford, CT.

Furthur
2009-12-09
Hammerstein Ballroom
New York, NY

Set 1: Jam > Feel Like A Stranger > Deal (BW&JK), Crazy Fingers > (JK) Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo > (JK/BW) Jam > Bird Song (BW&PL), Good Lovin’

Set 2: Jack Straw, The Wheel > Welcome To The Dance > Uncle Johns Band> Unbroken Chain, Satisfaction> Let It Grow> Weather Report> Sugar Magnolia > Sunshine Daydream
Encore: Johnny B Goode

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22 Responses

  1. LOL @ “buns to franks”. the pink strat brings out the worst in Bobby. he should wrap that thing in his Madonna shirt, douse them with kerosene and strike a match. but that’s just one man’s opinion.

  2. lmao @ ‘buns to franks’…

    i’ve heard it ‘beans to franks’ but never ‘buns’… funny thing, it works either way!

    great review B, sorry it wasn’t as awesome as it could have/should have been…

  3. “but when the whole crowd sings the coda to Mississippi Half-Step and the musicians on stage are still repeating a line that comes earlier, you’re looking for trouble”

    you didn’t get that they were layering this tune with imitative polyphony? it’s interesting because you do write for a music magazine, but can’t recognize a fundamental musical aesthetic.

  4. I drove from Rochester for the first night…and not for nothing I had a blast – , everybody in the joint was smiling, laughing or dancing…I have never been to the Hammerstein Ballroom before…it was a crazy place to listen to Grateful Dead – it made it that much more fun. The music sounded soooo sweat.

  5. Coming from a respected publication, like Hidden Track, Im real sorry to hear this. Good Luck….Every band is due an off night, and the “Nitrous Mafia” from Trey at Carnegie to Festival 8, has been a real downer on Tour. That being said, I saw “Furthur” in Oakland and left mightily impressed. So here’s to a redemptive evening in CT on the 11th!
    Sammy Martin
    http://www.phishandthedead.com

  6. I’m not a big fan of anything Bobby or Phil have done in the past few years and probably would have passed this article over, but damned if that wasn’t one hell of an opening graph Scotty!

  7. I have to agree completely with your review. I was there on Wednesday night. It was abysmal. Weir was the biggest culprit. He was completely shitfaced and out of it. I was embarrassed for him. You could tell how pissed of Lesh was. Its not like Bob hasn’t caught a massive buzz before either.

    John needs to step it up a little. Stop waiting for Bob to lead the band. The secret sauce of Grateful Dead music has always lied in the guitar playing predominantly. John needs to not be so bashful. No one can match Jerry’s shear force, but John can do much better. Doesn’t look good for the rest of the winter tour.

  8. Wow, the writer of this review, I want to be on the other side whereever you are sitting. You are a depressing person. Did you live Burlington in the late 90’s to perfect this jam band music snobbery?

  9. Haven’t listened to the entire recordings yet, but I will say that I’m sorry you weren’t at the Asbury shows. Short of a few lame song choices, too much bobby singing Jerry songs (where jk should’ve taken over) and the biggest cross-section of a–holes in the crowd, the overall vibe in the room and the energy and exploration of the music was absolutely incredible. Some of the best Dead jams I’ve heard in a loooong time, and I’ve seen plenty of post-Dead stuff. Russo and Chimenti were TEARING IT UUUUP, JK should’ve been allowed to sing more, but was amazing when he did and Jay Lane is a manic wook, dancing and jumping behind the drums all night. I got locked into the Phil Zone the first night and it felt great. The archive.org recordings aren’t doing justice to the material so far, but the shows were phenomenal both nights in Asbury. Sorry you missed it, Scott. You would have felt vindicated. Furthur is a new band, not quite the Dead and not quite a cover band, but a brilliant reincarnation of a cultural epoch… I feel lucky to have seen them this past weekend.

    I think that if Bobby reads any reviews and is at all humbled, he’ll take some cues and lay back more for the Feb. tour. He needs to relax and stop needing the spotlight every moment, because I think most would agree that if anyone is shitting up the jams, it’s Bobby. So sad… I love Bobby!

    And agreed about the “franks to buns” line. hahahaha…. nice one.

  10. I was at this show and had the same feeling. I had considered going to the Radio City shows until I went to this show. I’ll save my money and hope that Phil comes back with his Friends sometime later in the year….

  11. I am very surprised at you, scotty!! I am quite sure if you hadn’t been coming off a SMOKIN’ Phish tour, your opinions would be different about Furthur. Yes, they have yet to perfect what they are trying to accomplish here, but the groundwork has certainly been laid. They are an extremely mellow version of “The Dead” but entertaining nonetheless. I found the scene and energy at Asbury to be dull as well, but I decided to focus only on MY ENJOYMENT and blocked out the negative vibes. If they continue to let JK be JK and take some pressure off the oft-line flubbing Bobby, they will be well on their way to perfection. Jerry is gone, and never coming back, but MOVE ON!! This is the best recreation of the GD since 1995 and hopefully Furthur is here to stay.

  12. Oh yeah, and Jay Lane is potentially the MOST ENTERTAINING percussionist EVER to play this music and the combo of him and Joe Russo is absolutely divine!! I do not miss Mickey or Billy even one iota. The only thing those 2 would bring back to the band is the name, and maybe some more recognition (which might lead to a “better” scene). My suggestion, scotty, try again in the winter. Stabler Arena has awesome sound, in a beautiful town (Bethlehem), and should be an awesome pre-show scene. See you there!! E
    PS–I agree–grow up with the nitrous already!! How old are you people?? Yeah, i said it..you people!!

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  14. I was at the tuesday show, and it was everything the wednesday show was and more. Absolutely shameless on the part of Bobby and Phil. This group seems completely un-rehearsed. F’ing horrible. They should have paid me to attend. Oversold venue at premium price. I will not be giving any more of my money to Bobby or Phil. Hope they spend it wisely because the gravy train is over. And for all that loved the show (or this group), you clowns don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground. When you listen to these recording while not high, you will be ashamed. It is ridiculous how people can’t seem to admit they went to a bad show or that these post Jerry groups really suck shit through a straw. I am pissed..”See ya” Bobby. GFY you “value added” crap master. These a-holes have completely “sold out”. This is why no real guitar player will tour with them anymore.

  15. The cops manned Miami Shakedown Street with 10 cops and prevented any sales of t-shirts food etc… But did nothing to prevent hundreds of Nitrous Oxide filled balloons from being sold a half block away. Am I missing something here?

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