Review – Dispatch (Acoustic) At Turner Hall Ballroom
If you aren’t familiar with Dispatch is at this point, then this review might not be for you. Now entering legendary jam band status, Dispatch decided to give their fans a special acoustic evening. And boy how the fans ate every minute of it. Turner Hall, albeit a fairly decent sized venue compared to other Milwaukee concert spots was completely full on this Friday evening. As I looked around I could tell that the rather eclectic crowd were clearly Dispatch fans old and young. In fact, there was a family next to me ranging from ages 7-13 years old. To me, there is something really cool about seeing music like this passed down from generation to generation. I’ve seen a bunch of shows at Turner Hall, but never have I seen it set up like it was that night. With outdoor patio lights strung up around the venue, I knew we were in for a special evening.
Without much more waiting Dispatch took the stage to thunderous uproar from the crowd, and we were off. Opening with one of their newer hits So Good, Dispatch set the pace for what their show would hold, the unmatched sound of love and rock. Jumping right into the classic, Here We Go, the band made it clear that this was to be a collective concert having the crowd sing long parts of the refrain. Usually, you have some audience inclusion with songs, but this show, in particular, it was made evident that we were in it all together. The welcoming sense that Dispatch brought to the show was a welcome return for the band here in Milwaukee. It’s amazing to see everyone in the crowd dancing and jamming they would at full electronic production. The fact that this was an acoustic set was even more impressive.
Placing themselves on stage in a half moon shape, something I’m familiar with bluegrass bands doing, made it feel that the audience was an extension of their band. There was another reoccurring theme throughout the show besides the audience being a part of the band and that being a clear message of spreading the love. Granted much of their music promotes this idea of love making the world go round, but there was a different energy in the air. The band didn’t have to constantly break the show up to convey this message, in fact, other than greeting the crowd about five songs in there was little conversation between the band. The energy that the band showed throughout this set was electric. Their drummer bounced around the stage jumping from a snare and high hits to the other side of the stage where the kick drum and another high hat was.
Dispatch was clearly there to please their audience, and although they played a few more b-sides than I personally care for it was nothing to sneer at. In fact, I’m glad they played more of their b-sides. I think it gave a more personal feel to the show. Looking at their setlists across the past few months, there wasn’t one that was the same. It was as if the 5 piece ensemble catered their list to match their environment. It was clear that they absolutely loved playing this set and loved even more how they had the audience play with them. I’ve seen Dispatch before, but never have I seen a show that made me feel like I was seeing a once in a lifetime show. It is definitely something I will not forget anytime soon.
Here We Go
Bound By Love
Black Land Prairie
Painted Yellow Lines
Prince of Spades
Uncle John’s Band (Grateful Dead cover)
Letter to Lady J
Only the Wild Ones
Out Loud > Don’t Let me Down > Out loud
Came for the Fire