Circles Around The Sun Kick Off Inaugural Tour On This Date In 2016
Before Neal Casal died by suicide in August he left wishes that Circles Around the Sun, the band he formed in 2015, would continue without him. CATS have indeed proceeded in the wake of Neal’s passing by embarking on a fall tour with guitarist Eric Krasno and recruiting Scott Metzger to play guitar during the group’s upcoming New Year’s Run in Colorado. The ensemble looks to keep moving forward in 2020 with appearances aboard Jam Cruise and at the Skull & Roses already confirmed. Circles Around The Sun kicked off their first tour on this date in 2016 and a recording of the quartet’s performance serves as this week’s Full Show Friday selection.
The story of Circles Around The Sun dates back to a conversation between Casal and Justin Kreutzmann in 2015. Justin was the video director for the Fare Thee Well – Celebrating 50 Years Of Grateful Dead concerts in Santa Clara, California and Chicago. Kreutzmann asked Neal to create and record music that would be played as a soundtrack during setbreaks of each show. Casal entered the studio with keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Dan Horne and drummer Mark Levy and the quartet collectively came up with music that was so popular when premiered at Fare Thee Well Rhino asked to release the recordings. Neal dubbed the band Circles Around The Sun and Rhino issued Interludes For The Dead on November 27, 2015.
At first, Casal had no intention of performing the material live. However offers came in and eventually CATS decided to give it a go and made their live debut at the LOCKN’ Festival in August of 2016. It would take three more months before the quartet played again. This time, they hit the road for a brief tour that started at The Hamilton in Washington D.C. three years ago today. Circles Around The Sun then performed at Brooklyn Bowl in New York City the next night and ended the quick jaunt by opening for Railroad Earth in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania two days after their NYC debut.
Circles Around The Sun set the tone for future performances by opening with a 30-minute version of “Scarlotta’s Magnolias” at The Hamilton. Next up was the greasy, J.J. Cale-esque “Saturday’s Child.” The four-piece ended the three-song and nearly 80-minute set with an expansive take on “Gilbert’s Groove,” a tune inspired by “Shakedown Street” just as “Scarlotta’s Magnolias” nods to “Scarlet Begonias.” Neal, Dan, Adam and Mark began their second set in Washington D.C. with a lush “Farewell Franklin’s” that covered plenty of terrain over the course of nearly 22 minutes. For the finale, Circles Around The Sun closed out the tour opener with the gorgeous “Space Wheel,” which as the name implies owes a debt of gratitude to “The Wheel.”
Listen to an audience recording taped by Alex Leary featuring Circles Around The Sun’s November 22, 2016 performance:
Set One: Scarlotta’s Magnolias, Saturday’s Child, Gilbert’s Groove
Set Two: Farewell Franklin’s, Space Wheel
Tour Dates for Circles Around the Sun