Back in 2003 I was travelling fairly constantly with the band I was managing, especially back and forth between Ottawa and Southern Ontario so taking a jaunt to, say, Toronto was a normal morning activity for me at the time.
As a result, I thought nothing of spending our very occasional days off driving to the Big Smoke and back to see a band and I did it an awful lot. Heck, I was so familiar with that Ottawa-to-Toronto chunk of the 401 back then that I treated Toronto concerts like they were local shows.
And so it was that I found myself at Massey Hall on October 29th to see Bob Weir’s other band, Ratdog. When I had first gotten interested in the Grateful Dead I was an unabashed Bobby man, but once I had finally heard enough of their music I came to my senses and got over it, easily joining the Jerry crowd with a heavy Phil Lesh leaning.
So I’m not sure I would normally have made much of an effort to see Bob Weir, but I was so immersed in the whole jam thing back then I must have found it hard to resist.
Anyway, I’m glad I went. It was a fun show with a setlist that reads like a great Dead show; St. Stephen, Friend Of The Devil, Feel Like A Stranger, The Eleven, you get the idea. Lots of cool covers too, standards like When I Paint My Masterpiece and Queen Jane Approximately plus some nifty Beatles songs; Blackbird and Tomorrow Never Knows. Unfortunately Rob Wasserman wasn’t with the band during that era; he’s such a nice bass player, but Jeff Chimenti was definitely playing keyboards with the band that night and he’s no slouch.
Bob ended the night encoring with Touch Of Grey which is a really fun live song. Overall it was a great night out, and I’m sure it was an easy drive back to Ottawa in the morning.
Or afternoon, as the case may have been. Regardless, I do know I was back in Toronto for another concert a mere five days later. Betwixt the two Toronto plays I found myself in Canton, New York on one night and Burlington, Vermont on another for business and pleasure (in that order), and probably somewhere else on the other nights that doesn’t immediately spring to mind.
Like I said, I was travelling quite a bit at the time.