Promised Land opens the show, but it takes the band until well into Brown-Eyed Women to get the sound sorted out. Still, you can hear the energy on the opener and the sweet playing on Brown-Eyed Women, especially Keith’s twinkling keys. A series of excellent songs - TLEO, and Row Jimmy, especially - plays out over a meaty fifty minutes of music. And then China Cat comes along, beginning a ripping, exploratory section of the set. China Cat quickly enters into seriously speedy, finger licking good territory and finishes with Bobby and Jerry blending on a radical jam as Keith contributes all along the ride. Then the boys transition into an easy-going Rider that slips across the landscape. Finally, a scrumptious Playin’ comes out, hitting some spacey, but focused jamming territory. Jerry is ridiculous throughout while Bobby pops in some nice little runs here and there. The second set opens up with Here Comes Sunshine, and it is a real treat with Jerry’s guitar licks sending it, Bobby adding some tasty nuggets in the background, Phil dropping heavy bombs, and Keith destroying it all on keys. And to top it all off, the vocals are just really tasty. Afterwards, the Me And My Uncle is particularly hot and feisty with everyone adding their own little flourishes for a real ensemble effort on the cowboy tune. But it is a bit later, in the Weather Report Suite, that the second half rises to the precedent set by that China> Rider, Playin’ in the first. This might not be the best WRS ever, but it does the entire procession proud. Part One has some plaintive, melting notes by Jerry that just devastate before the great vocals come in. Then, Let It Grow gathers momentum as it goes, heading for a spirited, evocative series of jams. From the Let It Grow, the band heads off into Eyes with Jerry, Bobby, and Keith again delivering some great, layered sweetness. The China Doll up next is always nice to hear, and this one does not disappoint. A song later, the set heads out with a really superb GDTRFB with Jerry blazing a blistering path and the rest of the band racing along with him.
San Francisco, California