Gov’t Mule Debuts Grateful Dead Cover With Branford Marsalis, Jeff Chimenti & More

By Jeffrey Greenblatt Apr 28, 2019 7:32 am PDT

A night after honoring the Allman Brothers Band with the help of Jack Pearson in Georgia, Gov’t Mule was in New Orleans for a guest-heavy throwdown at the Orpheum Theater. With the city’s Jazz & Heritage Festival in full swing, the jam titans were once again in a collaborative mood welcoming saxophinist Branford Marsalis, keyboard player Jeff Chimenti, drummer Jay Lane and guitarist Jimmy Vivino throughout their two set show.

Gov’t Mule looked to the one-two punch of “Railroad Boy” and “Thorazine Shuffle” to kick off their evening in The Big Easy. After running through the likes of “Fool’s Moon,” “Beautifully Broken” and “Drawn That Way,” Warren Haynes & Co. would dig in on jam-heavy take on “No Need To Suffer.” The four-piece would weave in and out of jams on a pair of YES tunes before eventually finishing off the Life Before Insanity cut. Mule would go back and forth between “Starship Trooper” from the prog-rock act’s 1971 LP The Yes Album and “The Gates Of Delirium” from 1974’s Relayer. Vivino would emerge next and would remain on stage through the remainder of the set. With the guitarist in tow, they looked to “Can’t Find My Way Home” dropping their debut of “Black Widow Spider” in the middle of the iconic Blind Faith song.

Marsalis and Chimenti emerged with Gov’t Mule to get their second stanza going as they looked to a familiar tune for their guests to kick things off. The augmented ensemble would dig in on the Grateful Dead’s “Bird Song,” a tune that Marsalis first played with the San Francisco act back in 1990 at Nassau Coliseum. The saxophonist and Dead & Company keyboardist would remain on stage with Lane replacing Matt Abts behind the drum kit. The alumni and current members of a variety of Grateful Dead offshoots would stick in their wheelhouse as Mule & Co. served up their debut of “Fire On The Mountain.” A guestless “Funny Little Tragedy” followed with Vivino once again joining in the fold for a set-closing romp through Derek & The Dominos’ “What Does Love Got To Be So Sad.”

Gov’t Mule brought their evening to an end with a two-song encore once again enlisting Vivino for some help. The now five-piece band looked to fan-favorite “Soulshine” and Ann Peebles’ “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” to put an emphatic exclamation point on the festivities.

Setlist (via Gov’t Mule Facebook)

Set I: Railroad Boy > Thorazine Shuffle, Fool’s Moon, Beautifully Broken, Revolution Come Revolution Go, Drawn That Way, No Need To Suffer > Starship Trooper Jam > The Gates Of Delirium Jam > Starship Trooper Jam > The Gates Of Delirium Jam > No Need To Suffer, Can’t Find My Way Home* > Black Widow Spider*^ > Can’t Find My Way Home*

Set II: Bird Song**, Fire On The Mountain***^, Funny Little Tragedy with Message In A Bottle lyrics, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad*

Encore: Soulshine*, Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home*

* with Jimmy Vivino, ^ First Time Played, ** with Branford Marsalis & Jeff Chimenti, *** with Branford Marsalis, Jeff Chimenti & Jay Lane; without Matt Abts

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