As trusty as an old friend and as consistently quality as any rock band over the last twenty years, Dr. Dog returned to the DMV area for a special Friday night at the Wolf Trap, a bucolic, escapist retreat about 30 minutes from DC. Northern Virginia looked more like the Pacific Northwest on this foggy, cool and damp Friday night, but that didn’t stop a few thousand folks from making the pilgrimage out to Vienna for a memorable evening in the National Park venue with summer camp vibes, hard-to-beat sight lines, BYOB policy and dialed-in sound.

After opening sets by Sandy (Alex G) and Manchester Orchestra, the table was set for the veteran quintet, who took the stage at 9:30 to deliver ninety minutes of originals (+ their famous cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s “Heart It Races”) from their seemingly endless catalog of harmony-laden psychedelia.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Dr. Dog has released a full-length record of new material – the band has been anything but dormant in the time between (they’ve released new versions of older tunes in their last two LPs), but the oddball Critical Equation tunes like the opening “Listening In” and”Go Out Fighting” injected some welcome weirdness amongst the sweet and sincere standards like “The Breeze” and “Where Does The Time Go” (personal favorites).

Friday’s show had many of the essential elements of a summer camp: nostalgia-inducing moments (hearing the songs from Fate that turned me from a casual fan to an all-time favorite), sing-alongs (“Nellie” and “Shadow People”) and a welcoming and cheery spirit that resonated into the ether from the dudes onstage. Here’s hoping we can do it all again next summer.

Setlist: Dr. Dog at Filene Center, The Wolf Trap || Friday, June 22, 2018

Listening In
Where’d All The Time Go?
The Breeze
Under The Wheels
Heart Killer
Heart It Races
Buzzing in the Light
How Long Must I Wait
That Old Black Hole
Army of Ancients
Go Out Fighting
Army of Ancients
Shadow People

Broken Heart
Coming Out of the Darkness
The Ark
Jackie Wants a Black Eye