[photo by Erin]
At this point, it is apparent that Joe Russo’s Almost Dead has achieved its mission of providing a fresh approach to the task of covering Grateful Dead songs. And at a Festival that has thrived on ability to provide a reliable recreation of the classic rock genre, JRAD were an easy stand-in for the greatest improvisational rock band of its era. The Grateful Dead made a one stab at the massive task of performing the band’s ultimate rock opus “Terrapin Station” in its entirety, but the performance failed to capture the majesty of the suite that owns the entire second site of the Terrapin Station album. “Terrapin” is perhaps the Grateful Dead’s crowning achievement in musical composition, but the complexity of the last half of the suite was not a task that the band had the fortitude to undertake at a live show and so it was only the first two sections that were performed consistently since its 1977 debut.
JRAD opened their set at Mountain Jam in the pouring rain with a jam that seamlessly merged with “Lady With A Fan”, the opening section of the Terrapin suite. When the band concluded the first section of the main theme and proceeded to the “Terrapin Transit” portion, it was a moment to smile. JRAD consistently takes this music to places where the original band never trod, and this was just another example — and the fun had just begun. Lead by the stunning keyboard work of Marco Benevento, JRAD took each section of the suite and transformed them into complete songs of their own. It was a breathtaking thirty-two minutes and this is a recording I’ve already sampled thoroughly four times and undoubtedly will experience many more times. The balance of this set consisted of meaty and committed versions of three more songs but the take away from this short JRAD experience was undoubtedly the complete Terrapin suite.
I recorded this set with the Neumann large diaphragm cardioids in a very advantageous location up the hill in front of the soundboard area. Considering the elements at the time of this performance, overall this is an outstanding recording. Enjoy!
Our soundboard/audience matrix recording of JRAD at the Capitol Theatre is still available here.
Download or Stream the Complete Concert at Archive.org [HERE].
Stream the Complete Show:
Joe Russo Almost Dead
Digital Master Recording
Neumann TLM 102s > Grace Designs Lunatec V3 > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)
Recorded and Produced by nyctaper
[Total Time 1:12:59]
01 Terrapin Station
02 The Wheel
03 Greatest Story Ever Told
04 Cumberland Blues
If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you’ll please support these artists, visit the JRAD website, visit the JRAD Facebook page, and visit their individual websites and purchase their official merchandise. Benevento-Russo Duo [HERE], Marco Benevento [HERE], Tom Hamilton [HERE], Scott Metzger [HERE], and Dave Dreiwitz [HERE].