Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Welcomes Chris Harford In New Haven At 1st Concert Of 2021
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead returned to the stage on Friday night at Westville Music Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut for their first show in front of a live, in-person audience since February 23, 2020. The quintet uncorked a powerful performance filled with Grateful Dead repertoire gems as heavy rain fell and ended the night with old friend Chris Harford leading them through a cover of Neil Young’s “Fuckin’ Up.”
The five-piece — consisting of drummer Joe Russo, keyboardist Marco Benevento, bassist Dave Dreiwitz and guitarists Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton — opened with an intense “Not Fade Away” featuring outstanding solos from Hamilton, Benevento and Metzger and rarely let up in energy throughout the night. “Not Fade Away” led into a Hamilton-sung “Reuben & Cerise” before Metzger stepped into the spotlight on “New Minglewood Blues.”
Last night’s first set continued with an emotional “Sugaree” and dynamic “The Wheel.” The former was the group’s first since January 18, 2019 — a span of 82 shows. Almost Dead capped their first set in front of a live, in-person audience in over 15 months with “Touch Of Grey,” complete with the fitting lyric “We will survive.”
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead kicked off the second set with Scotty singing lead on Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” Metzger had never sung the tune previously with the band as the only other JRAD “Masterpiece” came on November 12, 2016 in Oakland featuring special guest Bob Weir. Next up was the group’s sixth ever “Foolish Heart.” The five-piece hinted at “Help On The Way” for a few glorious minutes before actually diving into the tune. “Help” gave way to a “Slipknot!” that included teases of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” and an abbreviated cover of the Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog.”
Instead of working “Slipknot!” into “Franklin’s,” Joe Russo’s Almost Dead went with “Hell In A Bucket.” A ferocious, late-1970s style “Dancing In The Street” came next and spanned over 20 minutes. The quintet then took it down a notch in closing the frame with “Ripple.” JRAD emerged with Harford on guitar and vocals to end the night with “Fuckin’ Up,” a song Joe Russo's Almost Dead debuted with Chris at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on February 23, 2020 — their previous concert in front on a live, in-person audience.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead returns to Westville Music Bowl tonight and on Sunday. Livestreams are available via FANS.live.
Setlist (via JRAD FB)
Set One (6:30PM – 7:57PM): Not Fade Away @ -> Reuben & Cerise ->New Minglewood Blues, Sugaree #, The Wheel $ -> Touch Of Grey %
Set Two (8:20PM – 9:58PM): When I Paint My Masterpiece ^ Foolish Heart & -> Help On The Way -> Slipknot! * -> Hey Bulldog Jam + -> Slipknot! Reprise > Hell In A Bucket, Dancing in the Street @@, Ripple ##
Encore: Fuckin’ Up $$
- @ – With a “Serpentine Fire” (Earth Wind & Fire) tease (SM)
- # – Not played by Almost Dead since 2018-01-13, The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY, a gap of 82 shows.
- $ – With a “Cold Rain & Snow” Jam (Band)
- % – With “Ruben & Cherise” Teases in the intro (TH)
- ^ – Bob Dylan Cover, second time played. Not played by Almost Dead since 2016-11-12, Fox Theater, Oakland, CA, a gap of 134 shows. This was the first performance with Scott Metzger on vocals. Bob Weir handled vocals on the Oakland version.
- & – With Slipknot! Teases (TH)
- * – With a “Tom’s Diner” (Suzanne Vega) Tease (SM & JR)
- + – With some lyrics. Not played by Almost Dead since 2016-11-12, Fox Theater, Oakland, CA, a gap of 134 shows
- @@ – Proceeded by a Dark Star Tease, with a DD Solo, an MB Solo, hints of “The Wizard” (Black Sabbath), and a JR Solo
- ## – Not played by Almost Dead since 2019-01-18, The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY, a gap of 44 shows
- $$ – Neil Young Cover, with Chris Harford on Vocals and Guitar