Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Covers Bruce Springsteen In New Jersey


Joe Russo’s Almost Dead pulled into the New York City suburb of Montclair, New Jersey on Friday for a gig at the Wellmont Theater. The quintet used their encore to acknowledge Phil Lesh’s birthday along with delivering an area-appropriate cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run.”

Drummer Joe Russo, guitarists Tom Hamilton and Scott Metzger along with bassist Dave Dreiwitz and keyboardist Marco Benevento looked to the Merle Haggard classic “Mama Tried” to open up their evening in The Garden State. “Brown Eyed Women” was used as the jumping off point for a seamless run that would take them through the remainder of the frame. The Americana rocker featured the first teases of the night as the band would work elements of “Tennessee Jed” and a jam on “He’s Gone.” The Young Rascals’ 1966 #1 hit “Good Lovin'” came ahead of an exploratory take on “The Wheel” with “He’s Gone” and “Jack Straw” putting a cap on the set.

“Truckin'” got the Grateful Dead tribute act’s second stanza off the ground. Russo & Co. would look to the band’s early psychedelic era for a jam on “Born Cross-Eyed.” The Anthem Of The Sun cut would eventually work itself into the jam-vehicle “Viola Lee Blues.” Political-rocker “Throwing Stones” would lead into an open-ended freeform jam before returning to a “Throwing Stones Reprise.” A tender “Row Jimmy” along with the pairing of “Estimated Prophet” and “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo” closed out the frame.

When the band returned for their encore Russo took a moment to acknowledge Lesh, who was celebrating his 79th birthday about 50 miles away at The Capitol Theatre before Dreiwitz stepped up to sing lead on “Box Of Rain.” Saxophonist Stuart Bogie emerged next as the augmented ensemble nodded to their location by dusting off their take on Springsteen’s “Born To Run,” which has been sitting unplayed since April 29, 2017. Watch fan-shot video captured by rdeal1999 below:

Born To Run Captured by rdeal1999

Jack Straw Captured by rdeal1999

Setlist (Compiled by Peter Costello)

Set I (8:16PM – 9:35PM): Mama Tried, Brown Eyed Women @ -> Good Lovin # -> The Wheel -> He’s Gone $ -> Jack Straw

Set II (10:04PM – 11:43PM): Truckin % -> Born Cross Eyed Jam -> Viola Lee Blues ^ > Throwing Stones -> Jam -> Throwing Stones Reprise, Row Jimmy &, Estimated Prophet * > Mississippi Half Step +

Encore: Box Of Rain @@, Born To Run ##

@ – With a Tennessee Jed Tease (MB) & a He’s Gone Jam

# – With a “Love Supreme” (John Coltrane) Tease (MB)

$ – With a Tennessee Jed Tease (TH)

% – With a New Speedway Tease (TH)

^ – With a “Good Lovin’” (The Rascals) Tease (SM)

& – With a Terrapin Tease (TH)

* – With Lost Sailor Teases (Band) and a Terrapin Tease (TH)

+ – With a Tennessee Jed Tease (SM) and a Crazy Fingers Tease (Band)

@@ – Dedicated to Phil Lesh by JR on Phil’s Birthday

## – With Stuart Bogie on Sax, with the house lights on, Not Played By Almost Dead since 2017-04-29, 1st Bank Center, Broomfield, CO, a gap of 79 Shows, because Jersey.