Best Set: First!
Second-best Set: Second!
Set List: Fairly standard for the era!
Show Highlight: SUGAR BEGONIAS! Seriously, do yourself a favor and listen to the seamless perfection of the transition. It got a round of applause in the theater. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn they practiced.
Small Favor: This film was not presented in 3D.
Shortest shorts: Wild guess!
Highest Light: Bird Song! Nice laid back jam at the end and Garcia’s voice still had its last tinges of sweetness. (You ever hear his voice crack on a high note, or slip and slide around the pitch like the rest of them? No…and no fair bringing up the laryngitis shows.)
Lowest Light: Eyes! That they at least had the courtesy to not play it for thirty-five minutes is the kindest thing that can be said about this particular rendition.
Love Light: And leave it on!
Goddamn Bullshit: $12.50 for the ticket, 11.50 for the popcorn and coke! (I am physically unable to stop myself from ordering the Jumbo Combo Snack Pack. I have watched precisely one movie in my life without popcorn and a coke: Super Cop with Jackie Chan. Atkins diet. Never again.)
Nicest Tradition: Smoke break during drums/space! You meet the nicest, most reasonable people during the drums/space bathroom-smoke-wander around break. They, too, refuse to coddle those muppets for the 85 minutes an evening they took to whack on things and play bloopy noises.
Saddest Thought: Maybe there’ll be a lady there and…I don’t want to talk about it.
Secret Hero: Brent! Brent was all over this show–musically–and he got as much camera time as anyone but Garcia. He’s fun to watch, too: throwing himself up and down his B-3 and smacking at its keys to produce that ‘ducka ducka’ sound. Plus, he’s got very large, very blue eyes that poke out from the Gimli of Gloin beard covering the rest of his face, and he zeroes in on Garcia with utter joy. I think there were pictures of his little girls taped to his piano and then he would look at Garcia and it was all very sad.
Average Age: Not all that young! Lot of sandals, too. Plus: a crazy guy! Old grizzled hippie-biker guy who apparently thought 7:00 PM at the Boynton Beach Plexiplex was going to turn into an acid test and we would all lube ourselves up with butter topping and do some sort of movie-orgy. He did have one good line, though: when Garcia lit up on-screen, Biker Guy chastised him, “Those things’ll kill ya!”
Best Factoid: Floor mats! Bobby, Phil, and Garcia had, laying on top of the rugs, what looked like floor mats right in front of their mikes. I was confused until I half-remembered that they were pressure pads that turned the mike on as they stepped up to sing. Which is clever, in an over-engineered, MythBusters sort of way.
Worst Pope: Bobby Knucklesandwiches VI! Seriously, that guy shit the bed.
Secret Secret: Phil! He didn’t get a close-up until halfway through the second set, when he terrified the entire audience by stepping up to his microphone to sing backup on Dear Mr Fantasy. A visible shudder went through the crowd, I swear to you. The only shots we got of him were immensely unflattering. Remember the sweatpants with the elastic on the ankles? Yeah, those. Plus, he was playing my least favorite of his basses, the headless Modulus. There is something unpleasantly fidgety about those headless guitars and I don’t trust them.
Biggest Surprise: Tyler Perry’s cameo as Madea!
Nicest Try: The Covers Project! Before the show, they showed three videos: classical guitar guy playing Bird Song endlessly, hipsters with too many Gram Parsons records wearing artisanal suspenders playing Brown-Eyed Women, also endlessly. Finally, a fat guy showed up and just awesomed all over his bass to accompany himself on I Will Take You Home. Pretty decent, that one.
Secreter Hero: The Director! (And the editor! and producer! as well, I guess.) Completely avoiding almost every annoying rock concert cliché. No swooshing Video Toaster effects, no split-screen, and quite clearly no over-dubs: coming out of space, the MIDI controller on Wolf crapped out, leaving Garcia standing there doodling noiselessly.
Shitting Me: 22 minutes and 28 seconds! That is the combined length of drums/space.
Best Face: Billy’s! Halfway through drums, Mickey called his usual audible and turned the promised Beating of the Drums into the predictable Berating of the Roadies. Billy just smirked at him and continued whacking his bongos.
Worst Hair: Mickey! He looked like the hostage with whom you didn’t empathize.
Bobbiest Bobby: Bobby! Good sweet mammy, was Bobby as Bobby as he could be tonight! Doing his little duck-neck shrug and the lunge and those thighs! (In the spirit of truth-telling, Bobby does have a kick-ass set of gams. Bobby is up in the gym, working on his fitness.) His hair was nothing short of spectacular and he remembered the words to everything, even an awesome Stuck Inside of Mobile, and that song has a ridiculous amount of words. They should have told Bobby they were making a movie every night. (Not only did Bobby remember all the words this show, but check out the next night, when he crushes Desolation Row. BOBBY, WHY YOU REMEMBER ALL 20 BILLION VERSE DESOLATION ROW, BUT FUCK UP PROMISED LAND? Yeah, Bobby: what the Vietnamese immigrant screamed at you.
My God: Phil’s outfit! I don’t mean to harp, but that inch of white tube sock in between the ankle elastic of sweatpant and the top of his New Balance sneakers is simply not doing it for me. The only thing Phil was missing was a mustard stain and a pocketful of food court napkins.