Archive for December, 2012

David Grisman Bluegrass Experience
Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, CA

Every year this show kicks off my favorite week of music. For the past several years he’s played two nights with his bluegrass band rather than alternating with the Quintet like he used to at the old Freight which is unfortunate because I enjoyed the variety.

David Grisman Bluegrass Experience at Freight & Salvage

The first set was iffy: there were several missed hand-offs as they appeared confused as to who’s turn it was to lead. After a missed beat or two invariably someone would jump in and just tear it up. Midway through the set he mentioned that he was working on a tribute album to Doc Watson and in the second set they’d play the songs from it. Now that explains the roughness; they spent their rehearsal time working up the Doc tunes.

As has become the custom over the past several years, Grisman uses the show to tell the history of bluegrass.  He started off with the Carter Family then moved on to the Monroe Bothers. He told the same joke that he’s told for years about who won the brothers’ rivalry as he kicked off Bill Monroe’s “True Life Blues”. Next up was Jimmy Martin and then he ended the history lesson with DGQ.

The second set consistent of songs either songs closely associated with Doc or ones that he’d learned from him. Midway through the set he mentioned that he owes a lot of his career to Doc;  he was the first professional to invite him up on stage to play. It was a nice story and one I’d never heard before.

The highlights for me were “Troubling Mind” and “Lone Pilgrim”.

Set List:

Down the Road
Little Meg
Fiddle Tune
Rise when the Rooster Crows
Shady Grove
I’mThinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes
My Long Journey Home
True Life Blues
Ocean of Diamonds
Dawgy Mountain Breakdown

The Train That Took My Girl From Town
Walkin’ Boss
Handsome Molly
Muddy Roads
Troubling Mind
Lone Pilgrim
I’m Troubled
Crawdad Song
Long Journey
Blue Ridge Mountain Blues

Watson Blues
Old and in the Way

Line up:
David Grisman – Mandolin
Jim Nunally – Guitar
Keith Little – Banjo
Chad Manning – fiddle
Sam Grisman – Bas

Next Up: X at Slim’s.


ALO, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart Band
A Buck Dancer’s Choice–Benefit for the Rex Foundation in Honor of Jon McIntire
The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

ALO (Dan Lebowitz, Steve Adams, Dave Brogan)
Bob Weir
Mickey Hart Band

Mickey Hart at The Fillmore. Click for more photos.

Set List:
Wild Horses w/ Bob Weir
My and My Uncle w/ Bob Weir
? w/ Bob Weir
Dark star w/ Bob Weir

Bob Weir Acoustic
Loose Lucy
Black-Throated Wind

Mickey Hart Band (w/ Bob for most of the set)
Samson and Delilah
Some of Your Love ->
China cat ->
I Know You Rider
Franklin’s Tower
Jam >

Ramblin’ Jack Elliot
Freight and Salvage

Lots of stories. Lots and lots of stories. He talked about playing a Woody Guthrie song for Onassis on his yacht, Jack Kerouac reading him On The Road when no one would publish it, and going on what would be Woody’s final big road trip.

Ramblin’ Jack Elliot at Freight & Salvage

Ramblin’ Jack Elliot at Freight & Salvage

He also mentioned that he had one more show coming up in January in San Francisco and after that he was going to “retire.” I don’t know if that was a figure of speech or not but following my “Johnny Cash Rule”, I’m glad I got to see him again.

Even though he only played five short songs in the first set, it ran over an hour with all the stories. I don’t know what, if anything, he played for an encore as I left a bit early. I usually take BART to F&S and the second set ended about three minutes before a train and I decided hearing the encore wasn’t worth waiting 20 minutes for the next train so I made a mad dash for the station.

Set List:
San Francisco Bay Blues
The Cuckoo
Engine 143
Talking Dust Bowl Blues (false start)
Talking sailor
Rake and the Rambling Boy

Diamond Joe
Arthritis Blues
Don’t Think Twice
I’ll be Your Baby Tonight



David Berkeley opened.