On Thursday night, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead hit New York City’s Prospect Park as a part of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, marking the Grateful Dead tribute’s final 2018 appearance in the New York City area. With thousands of people in attendance, New York showed up in droves to see the band off before they inevitably return in 2019, coming close to selling out the massive outdoor venue.
For the group’s first set, the band threw out a non-stop run of fan-favorites, opening with an energized rendition of “Bertha”—which recalled elements of Pink Floyd‘s “Fearless” throughout— to get the audience moving as the rest of the crowd trickled in from the long lines winding outside the venue. From there, the band slowed things down, offering a heartfelt and stirring “Throwing Stones” ahead of a rolling rendition of “Black Peter”. Picking things back up, JRAD moved into an electrifying take on “The Eleven”, which was modified to start and end with the intro portion of the tune. From there, the band hit a groovy, thoroughly jammed “Feel Like A Stranger” before the group’s set-closing, feel-good “Franklin’s Tower”.
For set two, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead picked up right where they had left off, with a jam eventually landing in the beloved classic “Truckin'” opening the frame. Notably, with the sun down and the stage dark, the entire second set featured “liquid light projection” by Mad Alchemy, which only augmented the psychedelia-drenched performance.
The group built “Truckin'” into a rumbling take on the other one, moving the tune into the traditional one-two hit of “Help On The Way” into “Slipknot!”, though inevitably giving the combination the JRAD treatment with innovative improvisations throughout, including a nod to the wildly popular pop-hit “Havana” by Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug. In a surprise twist that caused the crowd to go wild, the band next offered up their debut cover of Spacehog‘s “In The Meantime”. With the band firing on all cylinders, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead weaved a number of teases into the standout debut ’90s cover, including what seemed to be a tease of the Grammy Award-winning 1999 hit, “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty off the multi-platinum album, Supernatural.
“Slipknot!” > “In The Meantime” > “Terrapin Suite”
Keyboardist Marco Benevento, reunited with the group after Leftover Salmon‘s Erik Deutsch filled in during the group’s time in Colorado last weekend, was given the opportunity to shine as the group moved into their stellar, psychedelic, and triumphant rendition of “Terrapin Suite”. After thoroughly teasing Radiohead‘s Kid A classic “Everything In Its Right Place”, Benevento welcomed the suite with an extended piano intro, with the rest of the band eventually joining as the group flawlessly performing the beloved collection, in addition to adding teases of the Simon & Garfunkel hit, “The 59th Street Bridge Song”, also known as “Feelin’ Groovy”, and the Benevento/Russo Duo‘s own “Becky”.
“Walking Through The Park”
[Video: Evan Pragliola]
To close out the show in full, guitarist Scott Metzger opened the encore with a solo of his own. For the true meat of the encore, the group appropriately performed a standalone cover of Muddy Waters’ “Walking Through The Park”, marking Joe Russo’s Almost Dead’s first time ever performing the song, to close out the night.
Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Prospect Park | New York, NY | 7/19/2018
Set One: Bertha @ > Throwing Stones, Black Peter -> The Eleven # > Feel Like A Stranger > Franklin’s Tower
Set Two+: Jam -> Truckin’ -> The Other One Jam -> Truckin Reprise -> The Other One -> Help On The Way -> Slipknot! $ -> In The Meantime % -> Marco Solo ^ -> Lady With A Fan -> Terrapin Station -> Terrapin -> Terrapin Transit -> At a Siding & -> Terrapin Flyer & -> Refrain
Encore: SM Solo -> Walking Through The Park *
@ – With brief elements of “Fearless” (Pink Floyd)
# – Semi Flipped version – started & ended with the “intro”
$ – With “Havana” (Camila Cabello) Teases (Band)
% – Spacehog Cover, First Time Played By Almost Dead
^ – With a “Everything in Its Right Place” (Radiohead) Tease (MB)
& – With a “59th Street Bridge Song / Feelin’ Groovy” (Simon & Garfunkel) Jam and and elements of “Becky” (Benevento Russo Duo)
* – Muddy Waters Cover, First Time Played By Almost Dead
+ – Entire Second Set featured Liquid Light Projection by Mad Alchemy