Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Debuts ‘Basement Tapes’ Cover & Honors Tom Petty In Brooklyn

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Joe Russo’s Almost Dead began a series of six “Fall Ball” performances at Brooklyn Bowl on Thursday night in New York City. The five-piece fit in a tribute to Tom Petty, debuted a cover of a song from Bob Dylan & The Band’s The Basement Tapes and also unveiled a rendition of a late era Grateful Dead gem as part of opening night.

Drummer Joe Russo, guitarists Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton, keyboardist Marco Benevento and bassist Dave Dreiwitz kicked off the action with “Bertha” ahead of a “Man Smart, Woman Smarter” that featured teases of “Tennessee Jed” and “Iko Iko.” Next up was a “Reuben & Cerise” > “Deep Elem Blues” sequence, followed by the group’s rendition of Bob Weir’s “Gonesville” from his Blue Mountain LP. Hamilton then led Almost Dead through their debut cover of “Lazy River Road” before the band ended the set with “Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad.”

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead opened the second set with “The Music Never Stopped,” which led into a Benevento sung debut cover of “Yazoo Street Scandal” – The Basement Tapes track penned by Robbie Robertson. “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” came next and gave way to a taste of “Born Cross-Eyed.” The five-piece continued on with the first verse of “Dark Star.” A short turn towards “Let It Grow” instead saw Metzger lead a fierce jam on Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down A Dream.” Though the “Runnin’ Down A Dream” was instrumental and incomplete, band members did pipe in with “Woo Hoo” refrain.

The quintet moved from the Petty tribute into “Not Fade Away,” but “Runnin’ Down A Dream” was still on Hamilton’s mind as the guitarist worked the melody into the group’s performance of “NFA.” JRAD swung from “Not Fade Away” to “Dark Star” for the second verse before returning back to finish “Not Fade Away.” A gorgeous “Stella Blue” brought the second set to its conclusion, while “Sugar Magnolia” (complete with “Sunshine Daydream”) served as the encore.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead returns to Brooklyn Bowl tonight. A webcast is available via nugs.tv.

Watch video of the “Runnin’ Down A Dream” jam captured by LazyLightning55:

Here’s pro-shot footage of both set openers:

[Bertha]

[The Music Never Stopped]

Setlist (Compiled by Peter Costello)

Set One: Bertha -> Man Smart, Woman Smarter @ -> Reuben & Cerise > Deep Elem Blues # -> Gonesville > Lazy River Road $ (TH) > GDTRFB

Set Two The Music Never Stopped % > Yazoo Street Scandal ^ (MB) -> Mississippi Half Step -> Born Crosseyed Jam -> Dark Star (Verse One) & -> Running Down A Dream Jam * -> Not Fade Away + -> Dark Star (Verse Two) -> Not Fade Away Reprise -> Stella Blue

Encore: Sugar Magnolia/Sunshine Daydream @@

  • @ – With a Tennessee Jed Tease (SM) & an “Iko Iko” (The Dixie Cups) Tease (MB)
  • # – With “Hey Bulldog” (The Beatles) (SM) and Easy Wind Teases (Band)
  • $ – With a “Blackbird” (The Beatles) Tease (TH), First Time Played By Almost Dead
  • % – With a “Becky” (Benevento Russo Duo) Tease (DD) and an Unknown Tease (MB)
  • ^ – First Time Played By Almost Dead, Bob Dylan & The Band Cover from The Basement Tapes
  • & – With a Half Step Tease (TH) & a short Let It Grow Jam
  • * – Instrumental, incomplete version of a Tom Petty Cover (Only the “Woo Hoo” lyrics were sung), First Time Played By Almost Dead
  • + – With TH playing “Running Down A Dream” Lyrical Melody over the NFA changes, a “Fat Mama” (Herbie Hancock) Tease (MB) and a Dark Star Tease (TH)
  • @@ – With a short Stella Blue Jam to end it.
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