Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 7 Days

We’re just 7 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff. The tour starts next Friday at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. To celebrate the start of tour we’re looking back at Dead & Company’s last outing. This January, the band journeyed to Mexico for their Playing in the Sand three day musical experience. These shows took place at the beachfront paradise of Riviera Maya and the experience can only be described as magical. Take a look at our videos from Playing in the Sand 2019 below:

Day 1


Shakedown Street

China Cat Sunflower

Day 2


Deal

Day 3


Sugar Magnolia

Scarlett Begonias

Check out last week’s Dead & Company blog feature for more highlights and videos!

Wilco Joins the nugs.net Family

Wilco’s collection of high-quality live recordings is now available on nugs.net. Dubbed the Roadcases, these shows are the best way to experience Wilco’s live performances anytime, anywhere. Subscribers can stream 65+ live Wilco performances recorded over the last 7 years right in the nugs.net app. Each show is professionally mastered so fans new and old will feel like they’re grooving in the front row. Check out highlights from the Wilco Roadcases below:


Roadcase 001: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO 6/23/2012

Roadcase 023: Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater, Austin, TX – 10/11/2013

Roadcase 045: The Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL – 12/12/2014

Roadcase 047: Solid Sound Festival, North Adams, MA – 6/26/2015

Roadcase 071: Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, CA – 10/08/2018


Check Out Our Full Catalog of Wilco Shows

Umphrey’s McGee Release Anchor Drops Redux

It’s been 15 years since Umphrey’s McGee released their best selling album Anchor Drops. The 2004 album has long been a fan favorite and songs from the 14 track record have become an integral part of the band’s live repertoire nearly every time Umphrey’s McGee takes the stage. To celebrate the album’s 15th anniversary, the band just released Anchor Drops Redux. The new release includes both a remastered version of the original record and a completely remixed version from the original master tapes.

You can download Anchor Drops Redux today on nugs.net or stream it directly in the nugs.net app.

In celebration of the album’s release, Umphrey’s McGee is producing a weekly track by track deep dive into the history of Anchor Drops on YouTube. You can watch the first episode, covering “Plunger,” below:

You can also listen to over 350 live recordings of “Plunger” on nugs.net including this particularly awesome version from Umphrey’s McGee’s 2007 stop in Truckee, California.

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 14 Days

We’re just 14 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff. To prepare for the tour, we’re looking back at the best moments from last year’s run. This show comes from the Dead & Co. two night stop at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. During the first set, the band welcomed their first guest of the tour, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. The Wisconsin native sat in for the back half of the second set which included “Black Muddy River,” “Friend of the Devil,” and “Bird Song.” Vernon previously recorded a studio version of “Black Muddy River” with his old band DeYarmond Edison and Bruce Hornsby for The National’s 2016 “Day of the Dead” charity compilation.

The first set kicked off with “The Music Never Stopped” which was followed by “Easy Answers” and “Alabama Getaway.” Listen to the full set I opener below:

The band returned for their second set with their version of The Band classic “The Weight.” The entire second set was filled with highlight performances from an extended “Shakedown Street” to a superb version of Bob Dylan’s “Along Along the Watchtower.” Watch the set II opener below:

Check out last week’s Dead & Company blog feature for more highlights and videos!

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 21 Days

We’re just 21 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff. To prepare for the tour, we’re looking back at the best moments from last year’s run. Today we’re revisiting the Dead & Co. stop at The Gorge on June 29th, 2018. With sweeping views of the Columbia river, this show had a breathtaking backdrop to accompany an evening full of beautiful jams.

The first set got off to a great start with “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo,” which led into powerful versions of “Bertha” and “Tennessee Jed.” The next song was the Dead & Co. debut of “Mr. Charlie.” The early ’70s tune highlighted Jeff Chimenti on keyboard and John Mayer’s vocals and guitar. You can watch the entire “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” below:

The second set opened with a joyously extended version of “Playin in the Band,” that was later reprised to close out the set. This version was another great example of Dead & Co. wading the classic song into the exploratory. Check out our full video of the “Playin in the Band” set opener below:

Check out last week’s Dead & Company blog feature for more highlights and videos!

NINETY-NINE AND A HALF WON’T DO

Bruce Springsteen

Meadowlands Arena, E. Rutherford, NJ, July 25, 1992

By Erik Flannigan

The 11-night stand at the Meadowlands Arena to kick off the 1992 U.S. tour was a bold statement of intent. It’s surely intentional that it was one show more than the famed ten-show run at the same venue in 1984, the difference being that this time Bruce was coming home with new friends, not familiar ones. Touring for the first time without the E Street Band and playing in front of what are arguably his most diehard fans is a daunting proposition. But with opening night jitters out of the way, the second show on July 25, 1992 offers a hungry, highly entertaining performance that plays to the new lineup’s gospel-meets-roots-rock strengths.

Right from the top, Bruce is wholly committed and in stellar voice, his rich timbre leading the strong show-opening trio of “Better Days,” “Local Hero” (complete with local landmark namechecks to show his Garden State cred remained intact), and “Lucky Town.”

As I wrote in the notes for the 1993 release at the same venue, Bruce’s new musical collaborators “wouldn’t have looked out of place on stage with [Bob] Dylan circa 1978-81,” and that particular Dylan-era frame of reference applies to the music, too, as the approach to both new and old material was to make it more soulful while still rock ’n’ roll. The playing of the core band (Shane Fontayne on guitar, Tommy Sims on bass, and Zack Alford on drums) with a full European tour already under their belts is punchy and tight, while the background singers add gospel gravitas to the proceedings–an appealing combination.

Even on familiar material, these off-E Street versions don’t sound quite as “different” 27 years on, in a good way. The opening set features a first-rate “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” an eloquent reading of “The River” with a long, heart-heavy harmonica outro, and an inspired tour debut for “Open All Night.”

Aimed squarely at this turnpike audience, “Open All Night” starts solo and builds to full band in a manner that may suggest what the unreleased “Electric Nebraska” version sounded like ten years prior. Better still, in the middle of the song, Bruce tells an updated version of the yarn he spun on the Born in the U.S.A. tour, noting the closure of his beloved Howard Johnson’s and a reunion with the waitress at Bob’s Big Boy who reminds him her restaurant is still “open all night.” Good fun.

The first set wraps with four key tracks from the new albums, wrapped around a deeply personal “My Hometown,” introduced with an earnest story about parenting and dedicated from one relatively new dad to all the “moms and pops.” A dynamic performance of “Living Proof” again shows the song to be Bruce’s most powerful from the era. “Leap of Faith” is endearing and infectious thanks in large part to the singers, while the Sam and Dave-style vocal duet with Bobby King on “Man’s Job” raises it from catchy ditty to heartfelt homage. A feature-length “Roll of the Dice” wraps a spirited and undeniably entertaining first act.

After the break, the rarely performed “All or Nothin’ at All” proves a fine set opener and gets the energy of the show right back on track. It’s the one song from Human Touch that sounds like it could be a Born in the U.S.A. outtake, a spiritual cousin to the likes of “I’m Goin’ Down.” The crowd enjoys it too, singing along in full voice when tasked to do so. Having been played in concert fewer than a dozen times, its inclusion here is a welcome opportunity for fresh appreciation.

What follows is another rarity and one of the highlights of the tour, “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do),” inexplicably performed only this night (and at a private tour warm-up in June, suggesting it may have been considered for a regular feature in the set at that point). The gospel tune has been covered by everyone from Wilson Pickett to Creedence Clearwater Revival, but Springsteen’s version casts him as a humorous preacher questioning the commitment of men in relationships, while King, Carolyn Dennis, Angel Rogers and the rest of the background vocalists sing like they’re wearing choir robes. The result is amusing, cleverly arranged, and another lost gem rediscovered by the download series.

On the whole, the 7/25/92 performance has aged well, but there are a couple of exceptions. “Real Man” is another rarity, performed on 7/25 for the very last time in concert. Bruce himself admits, “This next song I almost threw off the album because I thought it was too corny, but what can say? It’s how I feel.” Corny we accept, especially from a man in love. More difficult to ignore is the synthesizer that could not sound more dated, though in the end, “Real Man” is interesting if only for the sheer novelty factor of it in the overall canon.

Three recent classics return us to regularly scheduled programming: a spot-on “Cover Me” with fine fretwork from Fontayne, and two Patti Scialfa features, “Brilliant Disguise” and “Tougher Than the Rest,” the latter derailed slightly by those pesky period synths, though Bruce sings all three superbly.

The show’s denouement comes with the pairing of “Souls of the Departed” into “Born in the U.S.A.” “Souls” begins in desert darkness, with news reports of bombs over Baghdad riding desolate guitar strains a la U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky.” It is a sharp-edged, commanding performance that moves through flourishes of “The Star-Spangled Banner” a la Hendrix into “Born in the U.S.A.” to slam home the point Bruce made so clearly on last month’s release: “War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.”

The show wraps with a run of crowd pleasers–”Light of Day,” “Glory Days,” “Working on the Highway,” “Bobby Jean,” “Hungry Heart”–and the tour’s gorgeous, stripped-down “Thunder Road,” before “Born to Run” and Bruce’s best-ever coda,“My Beautiful Reward,” send us out on a high, hopeful note.

Because of the new band, 1992-93 always carries an asterisk in Bruce’s live history, like a strike-shortened baseball season. But as was the case in the major leagues, they still played the games and the games still counted, especially to Springsteen himself. One can feel his commitment in this performance, joyfully trying to win over the Jersey crowd and largely succeeding.

Countdown to Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019: 28 Days

We’re just 28 days away from the Dead & Company Summer Tour kickoff. To prepare for the tour, we’re looking back at the best moments from last year’s run. June 15th’s performance at New York’s Citi Field, home of the Mets, was one of the most popular stops of the 2018 tour. The entire show was filled with unique jams.

The show opens with a nearly 14 minute version of “Shakedown Street.” The extended jam showcases some of John Mayer’s stellar guitar work. You can watch to the entire opening performance of “Shakedown Street” right now on our YouTube channel:

This show really heats up in the second half. The second set got off to a jazzy start that led into John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” as the opening tune. Following the opener, Mayer got another chance to flex his guitar expertise on an extended guitar solo on “The Other One.” The set continued it’s journey into the exploratory with an extended performance of “Estimated Prophet.” You can watch all three jams below:

Check out last week’s Dead & Company blog feature for more highlights and videos!