goin’ out west. at last. it’s been 4 long years since the ABB last came to the pacific northwest…. aug ’99 in seattle, to be more precise.

after gracing my hometown (vancouver) with their presence 4 times between ’91 and ’97, i’ve now been forced to hit the road to get a taste of my heroes. after an aborted attempt at a ’98 beacon run, made the short 3 hour trek south to seattle in aug ’99 and was not disappointed as the dickey/derek line-up gave us a spectacular show. after hearing many shows from the year’s tour and reading some great reviews, i had high expectations for the closing date of this tour for a once-again-revitalized-ABB.

the venue, puyallup county fair, was a seemingly odd choice (a reasonable distance southeast of seattle). the place was half full at best with most of the floor seats occupied, buy maybe 1/3 of the grandstand. walking past the stage on the way to our seats it was cool to see butch and jaimoe putting the finishing touches to their drum set up. show time was set for 4pm and there was no opening act. with the stage facing west, we got no brotherhood of light show, just good old sunshine.

pretty much on time, the boys took the stage (gregg and butchie with shades, appropriately)…

while i didn’t note the setlist while there, here’s what i can recall (not sure about the order)

trouble no more
ain’t wastin’ time no more
black hearted woman
worried down with the blues
high cost of low living
firing line
woman across the river
no one to run with
statesboro blues
midnight rider
good morning little schoolgirl
instrumental illness
revival
one way out.

won’t bother with a blow by blow, but some overall comments:

gregg looked and sounded great. and at the end of a long tour. how about that. though when he commented "the night was young" i had to chuckle (since it was still afternoon, i suppose he was right). for the large portion of the show, warren was much louder than derek in the mix – that was unfortunate. the new songs seemed mostly well received though it seemed many were not familiar with them. another funny aside was warren trying to contain some feedback while he wrestled with his sunglasses. instrumental illness was fantastic with volunteered slavery quotes from derek. i’ve never been a big fan of the drum solo break in the this tune, but this one really cooked. oteil’s brief, scatless solo was also a treat. when the band left the stage a little under 2 hours after beginning, i figured there must be plenty more in store for the encore given this was the last night of the tour. however, what followed was a pedestrain one way out and that was it. the shortest ABB show in my experience, clocking in at just over 2 hours. it was a strong show, but driving the 3 hours home, i did feel a little short changed. and while i guess quality should win out over quantity, with the ABB we usually get both.

anyway, i can only assume that warren and derek (the hardest working men in show business) wanted to get down the road to the gorge to jam with the dead whose show started at 7pm. that must’ve been something…

scott taylor

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