Any 2/5ths original line-up of a band you’ve loved for 20+ years is cause for skepticism. So while I had been impressed enough with some 2006 tapes I’d heard to buy a ticket, I still walked into the Ram’s Head last night a little wary.
I wasn’t worried about Cage and Nelson of course. Buddy is the living master of pedal steel. David’s pointed, ecstatic telecaster style is legendary. No need to tell Zoners what they can do when they are on. They were on. Plus it’s a really small room, so when Buddy stepped down on his huge, mind-bending phaser effect it was off the hook.
Michael Falzarano on rhythm guitar especially had me wondering since I associate him with the 5 piece, more-is-less incarnation of Hot Tuna. I thought his playing took some of the intensity off Jorma then and feared he’d do the same here. But instead his easy-strumming style is a nice fit with the more loping pace of the Riders. I have a new respect for the guy – an asset on vocals too (even when singing “Sutter’s Mill”, an all-time fave of mine).
Johnny Markowski is a solid drummer over all, though the isolated hitches in the beat last night started with him. No blood, no foul. Not everybody is Molo (though Markowski shaves his head just the same). His nice take on the Torbert vocal on “Groupie” more than made up for it.
So Ronnie Penque … Ronnie Penque!! Wow. He just knocked me out. His exploratory, bubbling bass lines were a treat, playing off Nelson in the jams like they had been working together MANY more years than they have. When they stretched out early in “Garden of Eden> Last Time> Garden of Eden” he showed the potential to steal the show but had the restraint to hold tight with the team. Outstanding. Then he stepped up to sing “Whatcha Gonna Do.” Wow again. He has Dawson’s high range and just enough of Dawson’s vocal timbre to be evocative of the original without ripping him off ‘tribute band’ style. Penque is a first class talent.
If you have any of my reservations about the current Riders, put them aside. These guys are kickin’ it!
Garden of Eden > The Last Time > Garden of Eden
Whatcha Gonna Do
Good Idea at the Time>
Spacey Jam> Good Idea reprise
I Don’t Know You
15 Days Under the Hood
Last Lonely Eagle (dedicated to Dawson)
Dirty Business >
Take a Letter, Maria
One Too Many Stories
E: Rainy Day Women
Nice review, BOF!! Very descriptive, made me feel like I was there...
...and I HAVE been there to see NRPS three times in the last year and a half. I concur -- go see these guys if you get the chance! Their setlists may be somewhat repetitive from show to show, but they sure BRING IT every night. If you know and love all those old NRPS songs like a lot of us do, I guarantee you won't be disappointed in the 2007 version.
One minor correction to the above setlist.
Good Idea at the Time > Spacey Jam > Good Idea reprise
The actual name of this song is Any Naked Eye (the spacy jam is an integral part of the song as performed in recent years). This is a Nelson tune and has been in the DNB/DNF live repertoire since at least the late 1990s. And it's probably my absolute favorite Nelson song at the present time, especially when the lead guitarist is Barry Sless (no offense to David & NRPS).
Any Naked Eye has some of the greatest lyrics of any song around.
...It took a long line of dedicated maniacs
Just to get this birdie off the ground...
Thanks for the correction, g-fish! I wondered about that -- it was a best guess at the name of a GREAT new song. A couple days later, it is the riff that keeps coming back to me.
Another note on their setlists -- pleased to see they don't stick to them. I got a copy of the second set list and it showed "Long Black Veil" after "Dirty Business" and a "Ripple" encore. Obviously, neither one happened.
Birds of Fire, Any Naked Eye has been around for several years now and is a mainstream inclusion of any DNB/DNF show. It is one of the first songs composed solely by David Nelson with no contributing lyricist. I love it. And did I meet you the other night? Ram's Head is a GREAT venue.
Shows that I need to get out see some DNB, eh? Or at least d/l some more. After the song, Penque said it was new. I believed him.
Don't think we met. I was the pudgy guy with the greying beard... Oh, yeah, there were 50 of those...
sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet freakin review man!
thanks for that
lookin fwd even more to the nyc show thursday!
Drive that bus right through
those ones in your mind
was a great song when i heard it 6 years ago.
cant wait for the new york show thursday.
Nice review! thanks.
Dave/DNB/NRPS have the magic touch, Seems these guys can do no wrong, it's the one thing the entire zone agrees on!
Been gettin calls from Buffalo show tonght funny I forgot they are touring and was playin NRPS when the phone rang
All day been listening to NRPS first 4.08.06 Petaluma Mystic and them looping 10.31.05 AT-40 Vegas..
They got really out there 10.31 Portland Women
Buffalo sound good
They have commercially released their NYE 2006 show. It's 2 well-produced CDs of excellent performances of essential tues -- Dirty Business, 15 Days, Garden of Eden (the NRPSs "Holy Trinity" if you ask me).
The only thing that's missing that would make it perfect for me a "Take a Letter."
>They have commercially released their NYE 2006 show
good deal. I was at these two shows and they were great. I was hoping they would release more of it since they there was 6 sets of music over two nights, but what is out looks good.