Jobygoob's Retro Reviews

This blog will post reviews of some of the live concerts I've attended, downloaded, or otherwise obtained through the years I've been collecting music. If available online I'll post links to where you can find the recording yourself.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Just to get things started..."Formerly the Warlocks" 10/9/1989 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton Va

I think, just to get things going, I'll post a copy of a review I wrote for the Live Music Archive of one of my favorite Dead shows I had the good fortune to attend back in 1989. This show was probably the pinnacle of my live concert experiences...nothing I've seen since then has equalled the total rush, the amazing thrill of that outstanding second set. Check the bottom of the review for some links where you can download and/or stream the show over the internet.


I. Feel Like A Stranger, Built To Last, Little Red Rooster, Ramble On Rose, We Can Run But We Can't Hide, Jack A Roe, Memphis Blues, Row Jimmy, The Music Never Stopped

II. Playin' In The Band-> Uncle John's Band-> Playin' In The Band Reprise, Dark Star-> Drums-> Jam-> Death Don't Have No Mercy-> Dear Mr. Fantasy-> Hey Jude Reprise-> Throwing Stones-> Good Lovin'

E: Attics Of My Life

Review: "Hey man, you got your Attics!"

I was one of the lucky few thousands that was at this monster show, and along with the birth of my baby girl, it is the memory that I will cherish most of all for the rest of my life. I have certainly never been to any live concert that comes close to equaling the experience.

It was the fall semester of my junior year at Penn State in 1989, and my buddy Mike and I heard about the "stealth" Warlocks shows from the daughter of a woman that lived in State College who used to date Rob Wasserman and was friendly with Bob Weir. We immediately agreed that there was obviously no option other than scraping together every dime we could and heading down to Hampton for the shows.

We got to the 10/8 show at around five o clock that afternoon, and no tickets were to be found. They had sold out, and though we tried as hard as we could, nobody kicked us any down in the lot. We missed 10/8. I was bummin', coming all the way down with no tix for either show was starting to seem like a big mistake. But later that night we spied a trailer set up at the far end of the parking lot outside the venue, with about fifty or so Heads lined up outside it. It turned out they were selling tickets for the 10/9 show. Both Mike and I scored tix and our outlooks suddenly changed mightily. Those lime green beauties with the "Warlocks" in gold embossed lettering were a joy to behold.

While the show was on that first night, I remember coming upon a pretty young thing hanging by a fountain right outside the Coliseum. We could hear the faint strains of Help->Slip echoing from inside the venue, and she was in tears that she couldn't get inside the show that night. I comforted her by saying that we were both going in tomorrow night, and that was going to be the big show anyway. I had no idea how prophetic my words were.

We couldn't afford a hotel room, so we partied in the streets all night long. As soon as they allowed cars back in the lot, around 8am or so, we pulled in and I sat myself down at the front of the line that had already started to form at the yellow police tape about 100 yards away from the Coliseums entrance. This was a general admission show and I wanted prime position on the floor. The ten or so hours before they let us in the venue flew by, and my perserverence paid off. I wound up in the best spot I could imagine when they let us in: right in front of the stage, smack dab in the middle of Jerry and Bob.

When the band took the stage, the boys were clearly in a fantastic mood. Phil was all smiles, pointing, laughing, and waving at people in the crowd. The first set smoked, but was not exactly mind blowing. Other than the phenominal Stranger ("long, long, crazy, crazy tour," classic Brent!) the Row Jimmy and Jack A Roe, there weren't really any songs that I was completely stoked to see. It certainly didn't give us any indication as to the history making set that was to come.

In between sets a mop topped Deadhead with a spiral bound notebook and pen in hand came by, interviewing folks and asking them what they thought was going to be played in the second set. I had heard about a week before that the band had been soundchecking Attics out west, and I had a strong feeling that this was going to be the breakout. When I told him my prediction, I remember getting a strange look of disbelief as he moved on. I also remember there was someone up in the lighting catwalks high above the stage with a laser pointer, and he had it right on my chest in between sets. I grinned and waved at him and he moved it along to others around me.

The boys came out for set two and we were blown away early. Playin was funky and amazing, the Uncle John's perfect with sweet harmonies slipping quickly into psychedelic scary jamming back into the Playin reprise. When those opening notes of Dark Star thundered out, I started jumping up and down like a pogo stick. I literally jumped out of my shoes. My buddy Mike had his hands on my shoulders behind me, and if he hadn't held me down I probably would have shot right out the roof of the arena like a rocket ship. Drums and Space were perfectly appropriate, and the Death Don't brought down the explosive energy in a haunting and profound manner. Fantasy->Jude, Throwin Stones, Good Lovin' brought us back to the standard set closers of this era with nice energy and a crowd pleasing finish. The encore was as beautiful an experience as I think I've ever had. I can't find the words to express what a moment it was for me. It's such a gorgeous, meaningful song, Hunter/Garcia at their poetic, melodic best. And the boys nailed it tonight.

After the show, everyone was stunned and drained. As the crowd was letting out of the arena, I saw the guy that took my prediction in between sets, and he pointed at me saying, "Hey man, you got your Attics!" I grinned back at him ear to ear. I sure had.

Stream a soundboard of this show:

Download an audience recording of this show:


At 5:33 PM, Anonymous jonathan said...

Nice job Joby! These two are classic classic shows, to be sure.

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Joby said...

Thanks Jonathan...I hope to be posting my first original review here within the next couple of days. I'm working out in my head what kind of format I will use, probably a little (or alot of) experimentation will be neccessary. Keep in touch!


At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Helen said...

Well, I think I'll go and download this right now. Thanks for supplying the link and rock on!

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Joby said...

Glad I could point you in the right direction, Helen. I'm really not sure of the quality of the audience recording available on the archive right now, as I only downloaded the soundboard a while ago when it was still available. Judging from some of the listeners on their site though, it seems to be a pretty good recording. This was really a great show, and I'm sure you'll be able to tell from the audience linked here. Please keep checking back, my next review should be up soon!

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Helen said...

I'm only up to Row Jimmy but I just had to go to the Archive and post a review because after just listening to Memphis Blues, I cried. It was really amazing. I've never heard Bobby so strong and Brent just rips. The band is so incredibly in tune with each other. I really makes me cry. Love it. Thanks again and I'll be back!
More Peace................
Jerry on the Row Jimmy, ah...........

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Ahh, The Warlocks. I was there on the 8th, but missed the 9th. The show on the 8th was great with one of my favorite Help>Slip>Franklins ever.

The 9th is a true classic though, possibly their best 2nd set of the late 80s. This show of course is known for the return of Dark Star and Attics of My Life, but the Playin' has always been special to me. Jerry does stuff with the MIDI during the Playin' jam that blasted you into another dimension. Brent shines on Death Don't Have No Mercy and Fantasy too. That set still sends shivers down my spine.

BTW, a link to your blog is now in my Deadlinks. Look forward to more reviews.

At 2:31 AM, Blogger Joby said...

Thanks so much for the link and the post, Ben! I originally found my way to this great community of Grateful Dead oriented bloggers through all the links you've posted, so it's special to me to see my little site listed up there with you all now :) I think my next review will be of one of the audience recordings you have listed in your great recent posting, which by the way really helps me see the bright side of this whole fiasco of late.

Thanks again--Joby

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

I remember these shows. They were fun.
we were recording all this period for the Without A Net album.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Joby said...

Hi Justin! Love your short films, and your blog. The Feel Like a Stranger from this show is the one included on Without a Net, rightfully so, as it is a smoking, perfect version. Fall '89 and Spring '90 was, for me, the best time I spent seeing Dead shows. Their playing was as good as I ever saw them, and the scene, while continuing to metamorphize into "something else" was still for the most part positive and strong. Without a Net is probably my favorite compilation recording released by the Dead and is definitely the most meaningful to me.

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Itch said...

Man, after six straight years of never missing a show at Hampton, I finally bagged them - tired of what the scene was becoming. Biggest mistake of my Dead-following life.

And $18.50 tickets! Holy cow. Now, that's an anachronism!

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

....when I say I bagged them, I mean that the Formerly Warlocks shows were the first I had missed there in years....crap. Wasn't clear.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Now,
go to Brents offical website....You remember Brent dontcha?? Warlocks vids along with many more. Best 2 night stand in my musical meanderings...Bought my tickets at the gate 3 hours before the first night. My bottle was dusty, the liquid was clean!!


Post a Comment

<< Home