An expansive and relaxed Half Step> Franklin’s opens the show. And things stay a bit subdued in the early going. But in the middle of Mexicali, Bobby says, “polka time,” kicking off a sick little jam with a little Norteño flair. Brent is really keying the sound here and throughout the night, adding the carnivalesque organ that had been missing since Pig’s heyday. And nowhere is this more clear than on Good Lovin’ after the boys come out with similarly raucous and energy-filled versions of Miracle and Bertha. The crowd is into it throughout, roaring on the Good Lovin’ and hooting through the tuning that follows, as they were all evening. Jerry is magisterial on the Ship of Fools that follows, even as he flubs the lyrics at a critical juncture. Then Estimated comes out and Jerry and Brent combine on a delightfully spacey - without ever loosing the theme - interlude that eventually flows forth into a radiant Eyes. On the flip side of Drums and Space, the boys accelerate right into a crackly, spitfire Truckin’ that has the audience in a fervor, clapping and dancing along. Fired up, the band lights off a raucous, blazing hot jam. And, after a soaring and powerful Stella with the drummers and Jerry creating a rich tapestry, an absolutely blistering Around and Around ends the show with no encore. Some folks who were in attendance report that someone threw a shirt at Bobby at the end of Around and Around, pissing him off and putting the kibosh on the encore. The boys delivered a manic display of rock and roll greatness in that Around and Around, so the person who threw the shirt could be forgiven for losing their mind.
This was the first of 21 Dead shows at that legendary bastion of East Coast magic, Hampton Coliseum. It was also a beautiful spring day, and more than a few Heads rode the ferris wheel and grabbed a cotton candy and funnel cake from the carnival that shared the venue lot that day.