On Friday night, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead kicked off their 2018 touring schedule with the first of three sold-out shows at The Capitol Theatre in the New York City suburb of Port Chester. The five-piece band, who are circling in on the fifth anniversary of their first show ever, once again offered up two sets of their interpretation of the music of the Grateful Dead which last night included a debut and playful second set.
The night got underway with an open-ended “Jam” sequence that eventually found them drop straight into the Americana rocker “Brown Eyed Women,” that saw guitarist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joe Russo share vocal duties. From there the seamless first set rolled on with “Jack Straw,” as Hamilton and guitarist Scott Metzger traded off verses. The extended jam also saw an exuberant Hamilton lose his glasses as he laid down a frenzied guitar solo. Another “Jam” sequence followed as keyboardist Marco Benevento delivered a gorgeous run as they headed towards a take on “The Wheel,” which found the band working in teases of “Girl From Ipanema” and The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.”
“Estimated Prophet” once again gave Metzger a chance to show off his vocal skills. As they transitioned out of the John Barlow/Bob Weir tune JRAD got a chance to get weird as they launched into a must-hear psychedelic jam that found Russo begin to tease the drumbeat for “The Other One.” The band kept pushing the jam further out until they eventually launched into an explosive, acid-drenched take the Anthem of the Sun track. A tease-filled version of “Shakedown Street” followed, with the first frame of the run coming to an end with a jam on “Here Comes Sunshine.”
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead kicked off their second set by offering up their debut take on “Rose Lee McFall.” The Charlie Monroe bluegrass tune was played a handful of times by the Dead during their acoustic sets in 1970 and revived again 1980, was also a staple for the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band in 1987. The politically-charged “Throwing Stones,” which featured distinct teases of “Brown Eyed Women” and “Cats Under The Stars” followed. Next up came a take on Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” from The Boss’ 1982 release Nebraska, which was played for the first time since April of last year.
A wild sequence followed next as the ensemble offered up short snippets of “Slipknot!” before segueing straight into “Franklin’s Tower.” The band would weave in an out of “Slipknot!” dropping “Help On The Way” in the middle of it for an untraditional take on the longstanding triplet of songs. JRAD closed things out with “Feel Like A Stranger” > “Jam” > “Let It Grow” returning to the stage to bring the night to an end with “Touch Of Grey.”
Watch pro-shot video of the openers from both sets, fan-shot video captured by Monica Hampton and check out the full setlist below:
Taped by nico11104
Setlist (Compiled by Peter Costello)
Set One (9:04PM – 10:27PM): Jam -> Brown Eyed Women -> Jack Straw > Jam -> The Wheel @ -> Estimated Prophet -> The Other One # > Shakedown St $ -> Here Comes Sunshine Jam
Set Two (11:08PM – 12:39AM): Rosa Lee Mcfall % (TH), Throwing Stones^, Atlantic City & -> Slipknot! * -> Franklin’s Tower > Slipknot! * -> Help On The Way -> Slipknot! + -> Feel Like A Stranger @@ > Jam -> Let It Grow
Enc: Touch of Grey
@ – With “Girl From Ipanema” (music by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. English lyrics by Norman Gimbel) and “Dear Prudence” (The Beatles) teases (MB)
# – With a Purple Haze Tease (SM) & a variation (a really fast variation) on a Love Supreme (John Coltrane) jam (Band)
$ – With a Brown Eyed Women Tease (SM), and The Wheel, China Cat Sunflower and Here Comes Sunshine Teases (TH)
% – First Time Played by Almost Dead, Charlie Monroe cover
^ – By Request for Joe’s sister on her birthday, with a Brown Eyed Women Tease and a Cats Under the Stars Tease (TH)
& – Not played since Ogden Theater, Denver, CO 2017.04.28, a gap of 29 shows / 8.5 ish months
* – Short snippets…
+ – Full Song
@@ – With a “Your Kiss Is On My List” (Hall & Oates) Tease (MB/Band)
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