Posted on: March 2, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

first_imgNight two of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead started at eleven. Not 11pm; but eleven on an intensity meter of 1-10. This band that feels a level of comfort at Brooklyn Bowl launched immediately into a jam that had everyone going full throttle from the get go. The only way they could take that intensity up another notch would be to add another element, like for instance… horns. And that is precisely what happened. Similar to the January 1, 2016 show at the Capitol Theatre, this show would be bolstered by a horn section led by Stuart Bogie, and included Martin Perna, Eric Biondo and Ray Mason. The horns made their entrance as the band transitioned into “Hard to Handle,” immediately making their presence known.The Grateful Dead’s original music may not have benefited from a horn section. While horn players like Branford Marsalis did fit with the Dead in the early 90’s, there wasn’t a lot of space for the support that a horn section provides. However, the way that Joe Russo’s Almost Dead plays the Grateful Dead’s catalog provides for a strong horn section to, not just color the music in the background, but to drive the music forward and make the band go even harder. Hence, the appropriateness of the “Hard to Handle” opener.The band took a left turn from there going straight into Franklin’s Tower, allowing Marco Benevento to take a strong solo on his Rhodes. As they reached the great lyric, “If you get confused, listen to the music play!”, Joe Russo led an assault on his drums that went into the first horn breakdown of the evening. Multiple times this night the band would drop out to let the horns play iconic parts of songs. By dropping out it allowed them to come back in at an even higher level, and build the crowd into a frenzy. “Franklin’s” made its way into “Feel Like a Stranger,” which contained a really slow jam that focused on a slinky riff that everyone fed off. “Help On the Way” came next, having the rare distinction of coming after “Franklin’s Tower,” with the horns reprising their excellent lines that were utilized at the aforementioned January 1 show. As “Help” went into “Slipknot!,” the jam got trance-like, with Tommy Hamilton scratching out a groove on the muted strings of his guitar. The ending section of Slipknot! built intensity with the horns getting to echo the lead lines.Since Franklin’s was already played, the anticipation grew in guessing what was coming, and “Althea” did not disappoint. This “Althea” was pretty subtle, and had both Stuart Bogie and Martin Perna playing flute. Also impressive here was that, during the song, Joe Russo’s high hat fell apart, and he fixed it with one hand while keeping the beat going with the other, never losing time. This stems from the old adage of “If you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, you’ll never be Joe Russo.” Out of “Althea,” a spacey jam led into an intense and explosive “The Other One” to end the set.For the second set, the band came back sans horns for the first two songs. Again choosing to start with high intensity, they launched into “Cream Puff War,” getting the crowd amped up before an intense transition to “I Need A Miracle.” At the end of the song, this rocker got very soft and light, with great interplay that included Marco Benevento and Scott Metzger trading licks. Then, the horns made their way back to the stage, as the familiar riff of “Terrapin” emerged.This show is going to be remembered for many things, and most will likely point to the horns first. I believe that the test of time is going to remember this show for this version of “Terrapin Station,” which was as outstanding and fervent as any song I have ever heard any band play. The verses started off light and sharp, with everyone singing along but allowing the band to make the space between lyrics even more meaningful. At the end of the “Lady with a Fan” section is when things really started to swell. The horns started to lift the room, building everyone closer to the peak, so that by the time we reached the “Inspiration!,” there was not a person in the room who wasn’t rapt in a feeling of positivity and admiration for what was coming. The ending coda of “Terrapin” allowed for the crowd to participate in the singing and the band with the horns to provide a mattress for landing on.[Video by Jordan Zelniker]To keep everyone moving, “Terrapin” eventually went into “Dancing In The Streets,” complete with another breakdown in the opening for the horns to introduce the song. Dave Dreiwitz on the bass got a chance to solo and really set the groove for the song. His playing is fluid and confident, and it is easy to understand why he is such a part of the foundation of the music this band is playing. The jam out of “Dancing” had a country feel to it, which made sense, as they used that shuffle to take them into the set closing “Cumberland Blues.” This standout version had Marco Benevento and Tommy Hamilton dueling with each other, with Hamilton throwing in China Cat Sunflower teases over the shuffling beat. A closing solo from Scott Metzger landed this set as one that many will never forget.The encore of “Sugar Magnolia” kept everyone moving, as Tommy Hamilton took a chance to rip a solo. As they got to “Sunshine Daydream,” the horn section got one more chance to break it down, and this time Dixie style. The crowd sang the ending lyrics with the band, and the show ended with everyone exhausted, stunned, and elated. High fives and hugs were all around, because we all went through the same thing together- and it was great.One last note- this is two nights now that Joe Russo’s giant Wuhan gong was set up on the stage where it was unplayed. Saturday is the last night of the run. Mr. Russo- HIT THAT GONG!Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY – 3/25/16Set 1: Jam (Dancin)> Hard to Handle*> Franklin’s Tower*> Feel Like a Stranger*, Help on the Way*> Slipknot!*> Althea*> The Other One*Set 2: Cream Puff War> I Need a Miracle* > Lady with Fan* > Dancin’ In The Streets* > Cumberland Blues (China tease etc etc)Encore: Sugar Magnolia* With horns Stuart Bogie/Martin Perna/ Eric Biondo/ Ray MasonAll photos appear courtesy of Mark Dershowitz, and a full gallery can be seen below: Load remaining imageslast_img

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