Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Go Heavy On Phish Teases At The Palace Theatre In Albany


On Friday Joe Russo’s Almost Dead continued their three-night Northeast run as they pulled into Albany, New York for a gig at the historic Palace Theatre. A night after offering up one lengthy set in Syracuse the Grateful Dead tribute act returned to their standard two-set format, as they peppered them both with a number of Phish teases.

Joe Russo & Co. hit the ground the running, opening things up with “Feel Like A Stranger.” The seamless, jam-filled first set rolled on with “Help On The Way” which segued into only one of its traditional partners: “Slipknot!” This version of the Blues For Allah tune saw keyboardist Marco Benevento lay down a gorgeous solo before it eventually worked its way into “The Wheel.” The Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia/Bill Kreutzmann collaboration found JRAD working in its first Phish teases of the night as they toyed with the Vermont jam act’s “Bathtub Gin.” “Uncle John’s Band” followed as they continued to show off their diverse musical knowledge by sneaking in teases of both Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” and “Mama, I’m Coming Home” from Ozzy Osbourne’s 1991 release No More Tears.

The second Phish reference of the night came during “Truckin'” as they dropped in a nod to “Chalkdust Torture.” The opening frame came to a close as they served up a “Music Never Stopped Reprise” and a jam on the psychedelic-era deep cut “Born Cross-Eyed” from the Dead’s 1968 sophomore album Anthem Of The Sun.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead kicked off their second set with an open-ended jam that eventually landed on the much-beloved Jerry Garcia Band cut “Reuben & Cerise.” The Cats Under The Stars track featured yet another Phish tease with “Divided Sky” getting the call. Classic jam vehicle “Viola Lee Blues” got an extended workout as the quintet included a distinct jam on Dolly Parton’s “9 To 5” in its midst from the legendary country singer’s 1980 release 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs before returning back to the prison song for a “Viola Lee Blues Reprise.”

A free-form jam emerged next as JRAD snuck in one final Phish reference as they teased and jammed on “Foam” before segueing into “Jack Straw.” Latter-day Grateful Dead ballad “So Many Roads” followed as they brought the second set to a close with a pair of old-school traditional numbers “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad” and an instrumental version of “We Bid You Goodnight.”

The night came to an end with a take on “Magnificent Sanctuary Band,” a song that was originally written and recorded by rockabilly singer Dorsey Burnette. The gospel-tinged tune was later covered by soul singer Donny Hathaway and by Jerry Garcia, who featured it on Cats Under The Stars, but never performed it live.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead conclude their Northeast tour tonight with a gig at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine. Watch pro-shot video from the second set opener and check out the fully annotated setlist below:

[Reuben & Cerise]

Setlist (Compiled by Peter Costello)

Set I (8:43PM – 10:01PM): Feel Like A Stranger > Help On The Way -> Slipknot! @ -> The Wheel # -> Uncle John’s Band $ -> Truckin’ % -> Music Never Stopped Reprise -> Born Cross-eyed Jam

Set II (10:40PM – 12:14AM): Jam -> Ruben & Cerise ^ -> Viola Lee Blues -> 9 to 5 Jam -> Viola Lee Blues Reprise + -> Jam & -> Jack Straw * -> So Many Roads -> Going Down The Road Feeling Bad -> We Bid You Goodnight (Instrumental)

Encore: Magnificent Sanctuary Band

@ – With an MB Solo

# – With “Bathtub Gin” (Phish) Teases & Jams

$ – With a “Poison” (Bell Biv DeVoe) Tease (JR) & a “Mama, I’m Coming Home” (Ozzy Osbourne) Tease (TH)

% – With a “Chalkdust Torture” (Phish) Tease (TH)

^ – With a “Divided Sky” (Phish) Tease (TH), a “Let My Love Open the Door” (Pete Townshend) Tease (TH) and a “Paradise City” (Guns N Roses) Tease (Band)

+ – With a Unknown Tease (SM)

& – With “Foam” (Phish) Teases & Jams

* – With Ruben & Cerise Teases & GDTRFB Teases (TH)