I was trying to write about night two of the Oteil Boulder shows but every time I start to write about the fun we had my mind goes to the senseless tragedy that took place on the following Tuesday. My heart goes out to the families of the victims and the community of Boulder itself as it now joins the likes of Columbine, Parkland and Aurora…………………………………….. So sad. Not sure whats next on the live music scene for me but I will keep you all posted.
I’m back ! Oteil Burbridge Trio (night one)
Boulder CO March 15, 2021
It was the show that was not meant to be, originally scheduled for February 1st and 2nd 2021 but pushed back due to a surge in Covid 19. The new dates were set for March 15th and 16th. Changed airline and hotel dates, re-arranged schedules and let’s go! Well not so fast, enter the largest snowstorm to hit Denver/Boulder in 15 years. Shit……..now what??
I was watching the storm closely with my travel partner Heidi and my favorite couple in crime Joe (aka front row Joe) and Tara who where meeting us there. Should we stay or go….forecast called for 24-36″ of snow in Boulder and was scheduled to slam the city on Saturday and Sunday. What did we do…….. we pivoted and changed flights to Monday. Joe and Tara set off on Sunday driving from Phoenix into the eye of the storm. We watched as 2500 flights were canceled at DIA and crossed our fingers that our flight would make it on Monday and somehow we could find our way to Boulder. Monday comes and our flights are not cancelled yet so off to the airport!
First flight was to Seattle, no problems. Second flight was to Denver and as you could expect problems. First small problem was that the Denver airport was closed until 2 PM and we were scheduled to land at 2:07 so Alaska Air pushed our flight back an hour so now we would get in at 3 PM. Could it work out, could we really be one of the first planes to land after the Denver airport was closed for 2 days?? The answer was yes!
Meanwhile Tara and Joe are driving and pulled off to spend the night in scenic Las Vegas NM. Pushing off early they were able to meet our flight at DIA and shuffle us to Boulder. If it were not for Tara and Joe picking us up we would have been stuck at DIA for hours as there were no Ubers and the taxi line was over 1000 people deep. Thanks again guys.
Our home away from home for the next couple of nights was the historic Hotel Boulderado as they say “A historic hotel for the modern traveler”. Great spot if you are ever in Boulder for a show at the Boulder Theater as it is basically one block from the hotel and you can see it from the front door.
Night one was just so much fun. We only had time to check in, grab a beverage and head to the venue. Life is strange and sometimes easy in the COVID world. Certainly this was one of the later. Walking into the venue with no line, quick temperature scan, ticket check was a breeze. The Boulder Theater holds 850 and for tonights show there were approximately 120 patrons so plenty of room to socially distance.
The first set started off with a very jazzy jam that I would later know is called Elegant People. The set one song selection then alternated between Grateful Dead standards like Loose Lucy and Golden Road and Jerry Band standards like Cats Under the Stars and the cover of the Beatles song Dear Prudence. I cant tell you how good it felt to see live music and dance, it was so good for our souls.
The second set opened with a rousing Run for the Roses and just magically flowed to a super upbeat Tough Mama. Wow so fun, what was really fun was seeing my travel partner and general partner in crime, Heidi, dancing next to, in front of and with me. I know more good times with music are in our future. The second set featured classics like Stella Blue and Lovelight and closed with Don’t Ease Me In. Such a great night one. We all left there psyched for night two. Set list follows curtsey of @oteil_burbridge on Instagram
Thoughts from my home in Hayden Lake, Idaho
Well isn”t this something. I really did not plan on a worldwide pandemic to interfere with my 60shows60years quest but it most certainly has. Before I get on about myself, I wanted to take a minute to let each of you know that I am thinking about you and your families in these difficult times. Stay safe and look at these times as a re-set.
My last post was about 6 weeks ago from the Wolf Brothers shows in the Bay area. Boy that was a different time. Since then my travel and show schedule has been up ended. Here is my personal list of what has been postponed/cancelled for March and early April.
Phil Lesh and Friends; “Phils 80th Birthday Bash” Capital Theater Port Chester, NY
Allman Betts Band; Fox Theater Spokane, WA
Wilco; Paramount Theater Seattle, WA
Drive by Truckers; Fillmore San Francisco, CA
Railroad Earth; Mt Bachelor Ski Resort Bend, OR
I have a ton of upcoming shows in late May and early June but their fate is yet to be determined. Not sure where the rescheduled shows will land either.
Well now its couch tour time. Many bands have teamed with the Relix Channel and or Nugs.net to broadcast shows previously recoded and broadcasted earlier this year. It’s one way to get your concert fix. So if you have not taken advantage of this you should. Thank God for technology!
Please be safe out their, FaceTime or Zoom your family and friends to stay connected. We will all come out the other side of this and then its back to enjoying the people we love and the things we love to do.
Show # 6 Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers
Venue; Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley CA
2020 is the year of the Rat in the Chinese calendar. Last night could have been called, the show of the Ratdog.
It was just a spectacular day in the Bay yesterday, so nice to see the sun. Had several business meetings but was able to catch a very nice lunch in Sausalito with my daughter prior to heading into the city for the afternoon. Great spot, highly recommend Barrel House Tavern for the food plus a view.
Finished up all of the business affairs and it was time to have a hearty meal pre show. Choose Sushi Ran in Sausalito. If you like sushi, as I do, “Ran do not walk to” Sushi Ran. Yellowtail toro……yum
Show went off like the night before, a little after 8 the band hit the stage with a rocking Iko Iko to open. The first set featured a couple of obscure Ratdog songs, Even So and October Queen to set the mood. Let it Grow closed the set and a good time was had by one and all. During the set break got to spend time with “Big Steve” Parish reminiscing about our mutual friend Mike “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. I promised Steve that I would call into his show on Sirius XM and recall our fallen comrade.
The second set opened with a Little Feat cover of Easy to Slip and featured a Dark Star and a Dark Star (reprise) as part of the encore. We were really quite close night two as this shot witnesses.
All and all a fun run in Mill Valley with Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers.
Show # 5 Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers
Venue; Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley, CA
Bob Weir and his stripped down combo, The Wolf Brothers, started their 5 night residency at the Sweetwater Musical Hall on Monday evening. Bob is among the ownership group of the venue which has been a Marin institution since 1972 when it originally opened in an old storefront watering hole called the Office. After relocating to its current spot seven years ago, the Sweetwater is one of the preeminent small music venues in the country. With only 300 tickets per night this was one of the hardest tickets to score and thanks to my daughter, Anja, we have tickets to two nights of the five.
I landed at Oakland International Airport at 5:30 just in time for, you guessed it, rush hour (maybe rush 4 hours in the Bay area)
After a slow hour and ten minute drive to go 22 miles I found my way to Mill Valley. With about five minutes to spare before the doors open I met up with the crew from Southern Oregon who had made the drive down to the Bay earlier in the day. The crew consisted of my daughter, Anja Robinson and her good friends Ryan Flemming and Ellie Chase. Once we had rendezvoused for a quick libation and bite at Bistro 44 it was time to hit the venue.
Bob and the Wolf Brothers hit the stage a little before 8 pm for their first set. The show opened with the classic Grateful Dead song Cassidy. The night really should have been called Bob plays Bob. Over the course of two sets the combo covered 5 Bob Dylan classics (see set list below). The first set closed with a rousing rendition of the classic Jerry Garcia song Deal. After a much needed 40 minute set break Bob and the Wolf Bothers were back at it opening the second set with a Ratdog song Ashes and Glass. The trio proceeded to rip through such classics as Playing in the Band, I Need a Miracle, and Franklin’s Tower. The second set closed with Sugar Magnolia followed by an encore of, yes you guessed it, a Bob Dylan cover, It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
Show # 4 Boombox
Venue, Lucky You Lounge, Spokane Washington 2/04/2020
Unplanned business trip, unplanned snowstorm and an unplanned overnight in Spokane led to a sleeper Tuesday night show at the Lucky You Lounge in Spokane WA. The Lucky You Lounge is a newer venue operated by the folks who had the Bartlett in Spokane for many years. With its small capacity and kitschy interior it is a fun place to catch a show. This my second time at the venue and both times I was impressed with the acoustics and the size. The Lucky You was a Polynesian restaurant in its former life in a part of Spokane that is now under gentrification. The interior is eclectic. So it was time to see how the old knee would do going to a show!
Well tonight’s music was a stretch outside of my usual musical boundaries. Trip hop/trance/electronica mixed with a blues and funk. Boombox has a strange connection, albeit not particularly musically, to the Grateful Dead. Boombox is comprised of two members; Kinsman MacKay and Zion Godchaux. If your a DeadHead you will recognize the name Godchaux as Keith and Donna Godchaux were members of the Grateful Dead in the 70’s and 80’s. Zion is their son.
The crowd was fairly sparse for a Tuesday night, most likely effected by the snow storm and the relative obscurity of the the band. I really did not know if I would enjoy the music but I did. While Kinsman delivered the beat and the base Zion had this soulful voice and interesting guitar licks. Definitely fun music that got the crowd moving. As for me, I decided that dancing on my knee is not quite in the cards yet so I took a seat with a good view and enjoyed the music and the crowd. I stayed for the first set but had to run before the second set as I had to be up by 5:30 AM to catch a flight.
Up next is Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley CA with my daughter Anja. Till then……………………………….
Best Made Plans
January 24th 2020
Tickets to two sold out nights of Railroad Earth at the Belly Up Check
Hotel close to the venue Check
Buddy all teed up to meet me and have fun for the weekend Check
Flights all set coming in Friday leaving Sunday Check
What can go wrong…………………….
Sometimes life does not cooperate. Earlier this week upon returning from the fun TTB shows in Chicago I had to squeeze in a day of skiing at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Idaho. Good day, new snow, time to rip. The visibility was moving in and out all day. Toward the end of the day the visibility was improving and the South Bowl Chutes had finally came out of the clouds so off we head to get fresh powder. Well on route to the chutes the fog came in and the visibility was suddenly gone, and that was a problem. On the traverse I hit a snow drift at high speed and I went down like a tone of bricks. Shit I am hurt. My ski buddy “Bartzy” (referenced last week) got there and helped me to my feet but I knew my knee was blown out. Called 911 to get patched into Schweitzer Patrol as there was no way I could ski down. Well the conditions on the traverse were to bad to get a snowmobile down to me so the patrol had to evacuate me down the chutes themselves, something that is not often done.
Well long and short of it I was lucky. I thought I had blown out my ACL or MCL which would have resulted in surgery and six months of rehab. My orthopedic surgeon, who did my hip replacement, got me right in for the exam. Luckily the results were a severely sprained knee. Yea no surgery!!
So the weekend of Railroad Earth had to be scrapped to rest and recover but I will be back in action in early February. I will be heading to two sold out nights with Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers at the Sweetwater (Bob Weir’s club capacity 350) in Mill Valley CA on 2/10 and 2/11 with my daughter Anja.
Show #3 Buddy Guy
Venue Buddy Guys Blues Legends January 18, 2020
Well the Tedeschi Trucks tickets were a tough ticket to get in Chicago this weekend but the toughest ticket in town this weekend was Buddy Guy playing at his own blues club. Oh course, yours truly and his second half side kick, Joe Matthys were all over it and had planned ahead and had a couple of tickets.
At 83, Buddy Guy only plays select dates at his club and only in January. With capacity of 500 people it’s a small intimate venue. Doors for the Buddy Guy show opened at noon that day and Buddy didn’t come on till 11PM!
Joe and I rushed to the venue directly from the TTB show at the Chicago Theater arriving via Uber at 10:55, five minutes to spare! We picked up our credentials and looked for a perch in the ultra packed club.
Crammed into a small spot next to the bar Joe and I were eagerly awaiting Buddy to take the stage. Buddy came on at 11:10 with his band and proceeded to rip it up. Between songs Buddy was regaling the crowd with stories and plenty of “F bombs”.
Joe and I tried several spots to get a better view of the stage but to no avail. Every time we got to a good view security came by and moved us along. I settled down by the bar and Joe was in search of a better perch. About half way through the show I see Joe being escorted by two security guards and I assumed he was getting tossed for standing where he was not supposed to be so may times. To my surprise the security detail walked Joe around the crowd and right up front and put him in the best seat in house right next to the stage! I guess they know a real fan when they see one. So the name “front row Joe” was born.
Great show and great shots from “front row Joe”
Next up two nights of Railroad Earth next weekend at the Belly Up Tavern Solona Beach CA. I bet its warmer!
Show #2 Tedeschi Trucks Band
Chicago Theater, Chicago IL January 18 2020
Venue Capacity 3828
Well “One More Saturday Night” as they say. Woke up to a cloudy rainy/slushy day in the Windy City on Saturday. After a little time spent in the hotel gym to shake out the cob webs it was time to get out and explore what Chicago has to offer and one thing Chicago has to offer is FOOD!
Made our way to The Bergoff the preeminent German Restaurant in Chicago. The Bergoff opened its doors in 1898 and has been run by the same family since then. The restaurant and bar are just classics and the food is over the top. The Bergoff also holds the honor of having the oldest/first liquor license issued by the city of Chicago after prohibition
At the Bergoff we were meeting up with my ski and golf partner in crime Dave “Bartzy” Bartz’s son Zach and his lovely partner AJ. Zach is a stand up comedian and improve actor and innovator here in Chicago and his partner AJ is one of the foremost wedding photographers. Well the crew from last night and our guests were ready to get down for a hearty german meal.
With an extensive menu of classic German dishes it was hard to choose. But I guess when in Rome, in this case Germany, have the Schnitzel! You can’t not have a German meal without washing down with a little beer.
After a great meal and catch up with Zach and AJ some of the crew opted for the afternoon nap. Not Bobby and I. We still needed to explore more of Chicago. Upon leaving the restaurant we discovered that our rainy warmish day had totally changed and the temperature had plummeted to the upper teens in the matter of a couple of hours. This damp cold reminded me of Buffalo NY as a kid. BRRRRRRRR!
Well Bobby and I stumbled into the Emerald Loop tavern to catch a little NCAA basketball and yes have an adult beverage. After meeting a very nice couple from Illinois who were in for the TTB show at the bar Bobby and I got down to business and a couple of Irish Car Bombs!
Well now it was almost show time and we needed to meet up with the rest of the gang for a quick snack before the show. That led us to the bar on the top of the Wit Hotel where Tara and Joe where staying. After a delicious appetizers of Charred Octopus, Hummus and Duck Confit Flatbread we were off to the show.
TTB was on fire night two. The band came on almost exactly on time and played a smoking hot first set and we could tell the energy level had been kicked up a notch for Saturday night. Being in Chicago the band played a very “bluesy” set to open the night. If possible our seats were even better than the evening before. Thank you Joe Matthys!
The second set opened with five acoustic seated songs (see highlighted set list below) and proceeded to get hotter and hotter from there. The evening ended with TTB just crushing Bound for Glory as the second encore to bring a great weekend to a close.
Here is the set list from the second set on Saturday. Courtesy of the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Show #1 Tedeschi Trucks Band
Chicago Theater, Chicago IL January 17 2020
Venue Capacity 3828
Well it would not be a winter trip to Chicago without a blizzard, and Friday was no exception. Snow pounding down sideways in a city that really does look pretty damn cool as a winter wonderland.
The evening started off with a long awaited surprise for my good friend Tara. Her husband and I have been cooking up these shows in Chicago since the early fall and she had no idea where she was going until a couple of days ago. After all, as her husband Joe says, this is the YOT, the year of Tara. Once she knew it was Chicago she knew she was on her way to see TTB. What she didn’t know was that Bob Burns and I where here to celebrate the YOT with her. A little background, all of us have been friends since the early eighties (almost 40 years), dating back to college at Montana State in Bozeman.
We decided to meet up at The Wit, where Tara and Joe where staying. Last minute Joe called audible and the meet up was switched to Smith and Wollensky’s aka “close and expensive” Bob and I took our seats downstairs in the bar and shocked the shit out of Tara when she arrived. Once the tears cleared the party was on.
After we where sufficiently fueled we headed to the venue. The iconic Chicago Theater. Opened in 1921 and refurbished in 1986 this is one of the coolest old theaters in the country. If you have not been there the architecture and frescos are just classic.
TTB took the stage at about 8 PM and ripped through and impressive first hour and twenty minute set that included TTB classics and a an Allman Brothers cover or two. Intermission followed with more laughs and high jinx’s.
Second set was just smoking and featured all of the 12 members of the band and concluded with a cover of the classic Coaster’s tune “Lets Go Get Stoned” paying homage to Illinois recently enacted recreational cannabis laws.
Here is the setlist courtesy of setliest.fm.