Thursday, March 23, 2006

JGB at The Biltmore

It started out to be an awesome day, the snow had stopped the night before and it was still cold enough that the sun hadn't melted it from the trees, and it looked like God had dusted the whole Tahoe basin with powdered sugar. A perfect way to start a little trip to the North Shore, and it just seemed to get better and better as the day progressed.
When we showed up at the front desk, the young lady declared no knowledge of my reservation, with enough attitude to start to piss me off, usually I let little things slide off the old back, but I had TWO confirmation letter and wouldn't be denied! I told the young lady that we should be bought dinner while they got it straightened out and was offered a voucher for $40 and off we went for a nice steak dinner. And it got better, on the way upstairs we decided to play a few penny slots and low and behold yours truly popped a couple of jackpots to the tune of $217 and ran not walked away a bit richer than before with a smile on my face. I didn't know at the time, but while I was dealing with the girl at the front desk, Rubi had gone into the Gift shop and asked to speak with the General Manager in regards to said young ladys attitude. We returned from dinner to discover that we had been upgraded from my frugal choice of the $39 room to a suite ($279 nightly) and to our delight discovered an extra night was included. Rubi had to work the next day, but the North Shore is close enough to head back for another night (free always works for me). And all this even before the show even got started.
I got downstairs at about 9ish and they were still setting up down to the last minute. I caught Melvins attention and was overjoyed to find that he remembered me from the River Ranch show last July and with that big loving smile on his face shook my hand warmly like an old friend, I told him to break a leg and went back up to the suite to get a buzz going, and was greeted at the door by my baby with a bottle of reposado tequila and a bubbler stuffed with some of the latest from my closet garden, the Atomic Dog strain. And the night was young...
It was close to 10pm as the big man and his band hit the tiny stage in the Breeze nightclub in the first floor, tiny stage, huge circular bar, when you see an act here it is up close and very personal.
Melvin, seated at his big Hammond organ fired off the opening notes to "That's What Love Will Make You Do" and it was on! Melvin remained with the "Jerry Garcia Band" longer than any other keyboardist. He was with the band from 1977 until the untimely passing of Jerry in 1995. And with the help of Stu Allen, a very competent guitarist and vocalist, who I have had the pleasure of chatting with about among other things the huge pair of shoes he has had to fill, "And I still am flopping around in them" said Stu, but I.M.H.O. Jerry is smiling down on the whole band.
Although Jackie and Gloria weren't with JGB this time around, the backup singers Avis Blair and Francis Mann sang with heart and soul and did a fine show that evening, even though Avis was a bit ill through the show, I wouldnt have known it if she hadn't revealed it to me.
A pair of angels from a heavenly choir could sound as sweet.
The addition of the new drummer Sam Howard along with the very competent Marty Holland on bass, kept the bottom pumping through the night. And we danced and danced some more, till the final encore of "How Sweet It Is" finished up the night, and good nights were said...
Set List:
Thats What Love
Get Out of My Life
Tough Mama
They Love Each Other
After Midnight
Mystery Train
Sisters and Brothers
Let it Rock
Rhapsody in Red
Second That Emotion
Tears of Joy
Deal>Dark Star>Deal
E) How Sweet It Is

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