Things are shaking on Shakedown Street. Furthur are in town, playing Detroit’s Meadow Brook Music Festival. Travelling gypsy parking lot vendors are out in scores. It is good to see that the Grateful Deadhead scene is still alive and well. Tie dye T-shirts, psychedelic ornaments and veggie stir fry are all for sale. Furthur are aptly named after late writer Ken Kesey’s magic bus- a mid 1960's trip that inspired the Grateful Dead from the very start.

We get to our lawn seats with precision timing and at 7:00 precisely, Furthur hits the stage- featuring the Grateful Dead’s guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil Lesh. There is much excitement in the air. A mesh of old hippies and young Deadhead converts are ready to dance.

Bob Weir takes the singing lead on 'Iko Iko' and the festivities commence. Next is the welcomed tune 'Loose Lucy' from the Dead’s classic 'Mars Hotel' album as Weir sings “Thank you for a real good time.” The Furthur band are in synch, clicking on all cylinders.

The Bob Dylan cover 'Maggie’s Farm' is followed by 'Lazy River Road' with Phil Lesh soul singing his part alongside a very Jerry Garcia like guitar riff.

Lesh sings lead on the stirring classic 'Box of Rain' as some ominous clouds over Detroit luckily hold off for a wonderful night. The vocal is moving: “This is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago.”

Furthur return from a break and start the second set with an inspired performance of the seminal Band tune 'The Weight'. Audience dancers turn up the energy to full force. From there, the momentum continues with a satisfying 'China Cat Sunflower' into 'I Know You Rider'. Jerry Garcia’s vocal is greatly missed here, but the performance is nevertheless first rate.

'Uncle John’s Band' returns me to the high of this, my very first discovered Grateful Dead song. Tonight they seem to be playing the classics. Lesh’s vocal on 'Unbroken Chain' is beautiful. 'Days Between' is likewise poignant: “There were days- brightest ever seen and there were days between.”

'Shakedown Street' witnesses the band laying down a heavy dance groove, followed by the Dead’s lone top ten hit 'Touch of Grey': '“I will get by/I will survive.”

The encore includes a rousing version of ‘U.S. Blues' and the soulful 'Broke-down Palace' as the band eloquently plays “Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul.” Furthur’s fare on this evening was a sweet reminiscence of almost all Dead tunes, and that was exactly what the grateful audience wanted to hear.












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Commenting On: Meadow Brook Music Festival, Rochester Hills, Michigan 18/7/2012 - Furthur








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