No one ever accused the Grateful Dead of shortchanging their audience and they certainly won't be receiving any complaints from the boisterous crowd that attended their concert last night at the Capital Centre.
The Dead opened with a driving rendition of "Alabama Getaway," from their new album, back it up with Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" and then spent more than three hours filling in the spaces between those recordings.
Along the way, Jerry garcia played some marvelous guitar -- accenting some songs with subtle, wringing tones and embellishing others with trance-like melodies. Of course, Garcia has a penchant for meandering solos -- what would a Dead concert be without them? -- and the pacing of the second half of the show suffered from a few aimless instrumental excursions.
But they were small price to pay for the power with which the Dead resurrected songs like "Uncle John's Band," "Truckin," and the unlikely Rascals' hit, "Goodlovin'." Bob Weir also added to the excitement earlier in the show when he ripped into "Red Rooster" on slide guitar.
Weir is no Howlin' Wolf, but he is far more convincing and comfortable singing R&B than crooning away on those mellow ballads he seems to favor in the recording studios these days. And Brent Mydland, the new keyboard player, has tightened up the Dead's rhythm section significantly.
By any standards, the Dead, who are celebrating 15 years together, should be ready for rock 'n' roll pastures. They weren't headed in that direction last night.