The Dead came out a little after 7:00 on June 18, 2003, with a slow and steady "Truckin'". It was just fast enough to get the Columbia, Maryland crowd at Merriweather Post Pavilion rocking, and it really put the long strange trip into perspective. "Truckin'" yielded into a bluesy "Spoonful", which found a peculiar spot in the first set.

     After a weird transition..."Bucket" comes from the ashes, and what a ride it was! Now it was time for Joan's first big moment of the show as they played the old Pigpen favorite "Big Bossman"...The crowd was in unison as they screamed, "Sure get stoned at night", at the top of their lungs.

     Now a special treat as Steve Winwood came out and played a rockin' "Gimme Some Lovin'" with the boys and girl. The crowd sure appreciated it, and Phil said, "See ya Steve".

     What next you may ask? How about some more Pig. "Sleepy Alligator" sounds much like it did in 1970, minus Pig's howling, of course. Then comes the highlight of the first set, a rousing rendition of "Casey Jones".

     This reviewer feels that they are playing this tune better than ever...even with Jerry. Joan took lead vocals, and the song just builds and everyone in the pavilion climaxed with an unbelievable crescendo...and believe me...we will watch our speed.

     After an hour break, The Dead comes out with the "Greatest Story Ever Told". Bobby is in fine form, and the one thing we needed was a left-handed monkey wrench. Disco time is upon us, as "Dancing" fills the night time air. The crowd appreciated the line, "Baltimore and D.C.". Next is Phil's turn as he butchers one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

     "Bird Song", written for Janis Joplin by Robert Hunter, is a song that is best left to Rob's superior vocals. We love you Phil, but please keep the singing to a minimum. Then all of a sudden it's Dylan-time, as the distinct sound of "Watchtower" belts out from the speakers. Bobby tried to sing behind the rhythm and sometimes it just doesn't sound right, but then Jimmy hits that solo and all is forgiven.

     Jimmy is hot on this "Watchtower" solo! "Drums" and "Space" gives the crowd a nice breather to what is about to come next..."Lady with A Fan", the first part of the Terrapin Suite is played very well but then flows into a great version of "Peggy-O", proving with this Dead, anything goes. "Peggy-O" is traditionally a first-set song, but now anything can be played in any set.

     As Sweet William-O dies...we are transported back to "Terrapin"...Inspiration moves me!!! What surprise could The Dead have up their sleeves now? A "U.S. Blues" comes out of "Terrapin" and even though summer is just starting, it just makes you wanna wave that flag high and wide, cause summer time is here and gone!

     Then The Dead get into cruise control as they finish the show with a high powered "Throwing Stones", complete with added lyrics about war for oil and characteristically, the greedy politicians. Of course, "Not Fade Away" follows and as The Dead march off, the crowd keep up the chant, "You know our love won't fade away".

     As expected, the Dead comes back and the crowd is told "To go on home your momma's calling you", with a standard issue "Cosmic Charlie". What a show, and it didn't even rain. If you have a chance to see this incarnation of The Dead, I highly suggest you see these guys...this isn't a novelty tour...these guys still got it!

Columbia setlist: Truckin' > Spoonful > Hell in a Bucket > Big Boss Man - Bob & Joan > Gimme Some Lovin' - w/Steve Winwood > Sleepy Alligator - Phil & Joan > Self Defense - Mickey > Casey Jones - Joan; intermission: Greatest Story Ever Told > Dancing In The Street - Bob & Joan > Bird Song - Phil > All Along The Watchtower > Drums > Space > Lady With A Fan > Peggy-O - Bob, Phil & Joan > Terrapin - Phil & Joan > U.S. Blues - Bob > Throwing Stones ("NFA" tease) > Not Fade Away; Encore: Cosmic Charlie - Rob, Phil & Joan

RockonTour   Issue #21
Concert Fan - the Single Source for the Concertphile © 2003 RoT
                  the Single Source for the Concertphile

Merry weather welcomes The Dead
Osborne and Winwood join The Dead on stage

by Jesse O