Well, this is the second week of us playing with one drummer with Lee behind the drums and Scott still on injured reserve. It feels like the early 70s all over again. In some respects it seems like we're getting more comfortable with the smaller version of Deadstein. Kevin has his new fortified base set up which gives him a better foundation under his tone and my use of Mesa Boogie is now becoming more second nature to me as I play with it over and over again. Additionally, without any real sports on my mind to think about for the first time in months, there was nothing to contemplate except for playing some good music.
Kevin, who usually does not have strong opinions on what to play but rather on what not to play, really wanted to get off to a good start and wanted something to get warmed up with. He therefore suggested Let the Good Times Roll and we and we ran with it. As a follow-up I wanted to try something a little more dramatic at the moment and went with the Passenger. We played standard fare for the rest of the middle of the first set which was pretty solid. Of note, we did have a major stumble in the Loser lead that hopefully no one listens to. A first set standalone Estimated Prophet was next played and that felt pretty good with some good jamming in. It was Lee's first solo Estimated since Scott went down and I think it was nicely done solid and well timed. We lost the seven a bit in the end but in the end it was well worth it. To close the first that we were thinking China Cat and Kevin out of the blue suggested and said "What the Fuck" as he said let's do the Deal out of the China Cat; why not, why can't we? During the transition it seem like we were going to have a lot of trouble figuring out how not to go into and I Know You Rider as we just kept gravitating toward it. Somehow I began to focus on the note of F sharp which kind of was a nice passing note between the D that we were playing and the A in the Deal which is where I wanted to go. Even though it wasn't totally there I just went feet-first into the waters of the Deal and somehow we went right into it. It ended up being a pretty good smooth seamless transition and the Deal closed the first set. It was a pretty good one and was a lot of fun with some good music.
For the second set we had a couple of guests show up; Steven and a few of his friends so we had to be a little more refined than usual, especially for a second set. The Shakedown was the second set opener as we were thinking that was a pretty solid number for us. I kind of surprised everyone next with the Women Are Smarter which we rarely play. We played it pretty quickly and efficiently through the song I somehow messed up the leads and verses and therefore left out the closing element which leads to an a cappella singing of the Women Are Smarter which kind a messed up the end of the song but in many respects it didn't detract from the over-all goodness that was the Women Are Smarter. Rich next selected the very predictable Next Time You See Me with the harmonica part in the middle of it. I went into the West LA Fadeaway which seems a little weird in some respects but it was pretty good and a pretty solid effort.
The next big part of the night came when we decided to launch into a Dark Star. We rarely do the Dark Star because were not too good at it as we don't know what to do and where to go and tonight was no different but it was an excellent experience nonetheless. There was some good jamming in and out of the Dark Star thematic stuff and it reinforced that we really can do the Dark Star and have fun with it, jam on it and add to our repertoire. After the Dark Star we slowly transitioned into the Wharf Rat which has many of the same grooves and feels of the Dark Star which made it nice to play especially when the jams came up. It gave the Wharf Rat a more organic feel to it than the sterile feel that we would often have when playing it. Going out of the Wharf Rat we really didn't know what to do. We could have finished up the Dark Star but it seem like we have been playing that sort of jam for quite a while at that point. It must have been 30 minutes of music until we reach the end of the Wharf Rat. We had to do something so I looked over to Lee and he suggested Johnny B. Goode and I liked the idea. I liked the contrast to the spacey stuff we had just been doing so I quickly launched into it without even turning to it in my book. I really fudged all the words going through the song but who really cares? The real thing is we played the song with heart and gusto with a rock 'n roll feel that made it a nice cap to the long spacey jams we had just been through.
To end the night we played two quick stand-alone songs; the first one being a Cats Down Under the Stars which during the song part was really well done. It just felt right and groovy and easier than usual. I thought we had a lot of trouble sustaining the actual jam of the Cats Down Under the Stars but it was a good song for at least the first two thirds of it. We really never did recover from the mediocre jam in and of itself and the end of the song definitely leveled off as everyone was beginning to show the wear and tear of the evening on their playing and abilities. While I say that, it really is an exaggeration and considering we do play four hours of music with only small breaks, the fact that there was still playing after or approaching the end of the night is a minor miracle. So with that Lee suggested that we just do something fun and frolicy to end the evening. Quinn the Eskimo came to everyone's mind so we quickly put that in our pipes and smoked it, figuratively speaking and got that song under our belts. With that we said whipped-de-do and how-do-you-do to another night of Deadstein. Freak Out.