Bobby really dominates the show, throwing off some excellent guitar and vocals. But, of course, Jerry is never far from the action, adding incredible runs and simply taking over at points. The New Minglewood that starts things off is not the strongest tune in the show, but it gets things going with some real energy and begins to show off Bobby’s magnificent work. Jerry takes over on the Sugaree that follows with his own fabulous picking, rushing headlong into a series of raucous jams between verses. The Rooster and Tennessee Jed that come out next are also towering, as are Cassidy and Loser. You can make the claim, as do many folks on Archive, that each of these has a place as a best-ever version. But the Looks Like Rain is arguably the best song of the enormous first set. Like a rich, intricately designed tapestry, you can pick out more and more of its artistry each time you listen to it. The China> Rider that caps the first half is no slouch either, sending out a nearly perfect set on another high note. Playin’ takes it out of the break; at only seven minutes, it is a bit more grounded than most versions, never really lifting off into the stratosphere. Instead, we get a bright and focused rendition, right into a magnificent Crazy Fingers, alternatively strolling, then dancing, then soaring across the scene. Crazy Fingers eventually gives way to the moodiness of Lost Sailor, which itself spills into, of course, Saint of Circumstance. Saint charges out of the transition and then gathers even more momentum in the second half while the crowd claps along. After Saint, a fast-paced and rather ordinary Touch of Grey, the only disappointment of the entire night, bridges the gap to Drums and Space. Out of Space, the band fully reasserts itself with a beautiful Wheel, which then heads into an early Throwing Stones. The Black Peter a song later is still another highlight in the show, before a raging Sugar Mags sees out regulation, coming to a full stop before heaping the Sunshine Daydream section right on top, to the delight of everyone, including, it seems, the band. But the night is not over by a long shot with a surprising and so tasty double encore of Satisfaction> It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue. Bobby was keeping his cheesy rock star dreams just below the surface all evening, but finally lets them come out in full force during the Satisfaction. Then Jerry shows him you don’t need to do that at all to create an utterly transcendent scene with the Baby Blue.
Frost Amphitheater, Stanford University
Palo Alto, California