Posts Tagged ‘ Almost Dead ’

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead: January 26, 2013 Brooklyn Bowl – Flac/MP3/Streaming

January 28, 2013

Almost Dead BK Bowl
[photo by nyctaper]

If you have any interest at all, even passing, in the music of the Grateful Dead, then what happened at Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday night was an important milestone in the post-Dead era. I do not exaggerate, this was a big deal. In the seventeen years since the death of Jerry Garcia and the dissolution of the Grateful Dead as an active band, there has been a steady and sometimes tiresome parade of bands attempting to “capture the magic”. In 2009, such a group even went as far as to tour as “The Dead”. One band plays complete setlists from historical Dead shows. Invariably those bands offer some connection to the band, often an original member or two, and some excellent musicianship — but there is always something lacking. Those bands can mimic the sound and usually feature a wiz guitarist with the ability to ape Garcia’s original sound. But the inherent problem is that it all seems so canned and knock-off-ish, lacking in originality and ultimately devoid of any magic at all. Sure, there are moments, or sets, or even complete shows that are rewarding in the short term. Phil Lesh and Friends has perhaps the best track record in terms of sustained performance quality. But as a whole the entire post-Dead era seems to be just a steady beat of disappointment.

On Saturday night, I saw the first post-Dead band that truly offered music that rivaled the original band at its peak. But what separated Joe Russo’s “Almost Dead” from the others was their approach to the music. This was not a mimic or an imitation, but a quintet of supremely talented musicians interpreting the music in their own unique manner. The two guitarists, Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton, have carved out excellent careers on their own merit. And thankfully neither sounded really anything like Garcia. Marco Benevento used his many talents on an assortment of keyboards to play in his own style, not like Godchaux or Constanten or Mydland. Dave Dreiwitz played an Alembic bass, but his style is nothing like Phil Lesh. And Russo, sure he plays for “Furthur”, but with Almost Dead his drums were a lead instrument — he was able to stretch out and play in a way that the restrictions of a “tribute” band don’t allow. And play they did. Over three hours in two lengthy sets. The highlights were bountiful, but it was the little moments that captured the night for me — a space jam in the middle of Althea, a blazing Shakedown Street (streaming below) that literally began on the last note of Tennessee Jed and continued into a very original jam, the 1973-era “Stronger than Dirt” instrumental post-Eyes jam, multiple teases of Caution in and out of The Other One, and an incredibly huge and energetic Viola Lee Blues (streaming below) that pushed the show to over three hours.

Given the incredible results of this show from a musical unit that only plays occasionally, its hard to fathom that “Almost Dead” might be a one-off or a once a year event. Maybe in the post-Dead era, that’s also the right approach to this music. Get it right, and then let it go. We always have the tapes. If Joe and friends decide to do it again, however, I’ll be there. It may not be like the first time, but it won’t be a disappointment.

I recorded this set with the four mic rig from the right side of the venue, about 30 feet from the stage. The sound in the Bowl on this night was perhaps the best its ever been, and I’m really pleased with the outstanding results of this recording. Enjoy!

Stream “Viola Lee Blues”:

Stream “Shakedown Street”:

This Recording is now Available for Download in FLAC and MP3 and for Streaming at [HERE].

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Joe Russo Almost Dead
Brooklyn Bowl
New York, NY USA

FOB Four-Track Audience Recording

Sennheiser MKH-8040 Cardioids + Neumann KM-150s > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > 2x 24bit 48kHz wav file > Soundforge (level adjustments, mixdown, set fades) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Joe Russo – Drums and Vocals
Marco Benevento – Keyboards
Scott Metzger – Guitar and Vocals
Tom Hamilton – Guitar and Vocals
Dave Dreiwitz – Bass

Set 1
[Total Time 1:24:31]
01 Bertha
02 Althea
03 Jack Straw
04 Deal
05 Mr Charlie
06 [band introductions]
07 Brown-Eyed Women
08 Tennesee Jed
09 Shakedown Street
10 Jam
11 China Cat Sunflower
12 I Know You Rider

Set 2
[Total Time 1:42:58]
13 Estimated Prophet
14 Eyes Of The World
15 Help On The Way
16 Slipknot
17 Franklins Tower
18 St Stephen
19 The Eleven
20 Caution Jam
21 The Other One
22 Viola Lee Blues
23 [encore break]
24 US Blues

If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you’ll please support these artists, visit their websites and purchase their office merchancise. Benevento-Russo Duo [HERE], Marco Benevento [HERE], Tom Hamilton [HERE], Scott Metzger [HERE], and Dave Dreiwitz [HERE].

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