On the fifth night of “Fall Ball,” Joe Russo’s Almost Dead welcomed a familiar face to the stage, the one and only John Mayer. Almost exactly a year after their first-ever collaboration, Joe RussoMarco BeneventoTom HamiltonDave Dreiwitz, and Scott Metzger welcomed the Dead & Company guitarist and vocalist to close the first set with an 18+ minute “Althea.” Appropriately, fans were giddy in shock and awe as the guitarists traded licks and smiles, but interestingly not vocals.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Busts Out Rare Radiohead Cover During A Wild Night 4 At Brooklyn Bowl

John Mayer returned to the stage for a scorching second set, joining the band in true jam fashion that eventually segued into “Here Comes Sunshine” and “New Minglewood Blues.” Watching the guest guitarist perform alongside the Grateful Dead reinventors brought true joy to those in attendance—as the band before the audience’s eyes is, by definition, a direct result of the music-loving souls in that very room. The Fall Ball is the Autumnal cousin of the annual Freak’s Ball, organized by the famous Freaks List of New York. The Almost Dead originally formed as a one-off band for the 2013 edition of the long-running Freaks Ball, and the band holds a special relationship with the group of fans who helped mold them. It’s only appropriate that the band still successfully exists, selling out show after show, welcoming an impressive roster of Grateful Dead, and company, members along the way—and that we get to celebrate the fact together at this semi-annual shindig.

The second set continued in high gear, with the rebirth of “Lazy Lightning,” which had not been played by the Almost Dead since Valentines Day of 2016 at Higher Ground, Winooski, VT. The quintet also debuted their version of “China Doll,” with teases of Led Zeppelin‘s “No Quarter” and Pink Floyd‘s “Run Like Hell.” The second set closed with an enormous “I Know You Rider,” before the band and their special guest returned for another satisfying encore. After a beautiful piano solo from Marco, the band and Mayer delivered a soul-stirring version of Dr. John‘s “Such A Night” before closing Friday night with a huge “Franklin’s Tower.” While John Mayer’s sit-in was certainly appreciated, JRAD fans agree that the core five are best influenced by their own synergy. Part of what makes the band so special is their intention to launch songs with surprise twists and turns, and their ability to do that is severely limited by an “other” on the stage. Despite that fact, we’ll welcome John Mayer’s May-RAD any time—or at the very least, once a year.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead returns to the stage tonight for their sixth and final sold-out night of Fall Ball at the Brooklyn Bowl.

Watch “Althea” below, courtesy of TimeZonerTV:

Thanks to Moni Hampton, you can watch “Here Comes Sunshine” and “Franklin’s Tower” below:

Watch “New Minglewood Blues,” thanks to LazyLightning55a:

Watch John Mayer’s guitar solo for “Such A Night” below, courtesy of Dianna Hank:

Check out the full gallery below, courtesy of Andrew Blackstein!

Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Brooklyn Bowl | NYC | 10/13/17

Set One (9:36PM – 11:30PM)
Jam @ ->
Greatest Story Ever Told # >
Feel Like A Stranger $
Loser % ->
Crazy Fingers
Cosmic Charlie (SM/JR) ^ ->
Jam ->
Althea &

Set Two (11:36PM – 1:24AM)
Jam * ->
Here Comes Sunshine + ->
New Minglewood Blues @@
Golden Road To Unlimited Devotion >
Jam ## ->
Lazy Lightning $$ ->
China Doll %% (TH) ->
Marco Solo ->
There is a Mountain ^^ ->
I Know You Rider

Marco Solo ->
Such A Night & ->
Franklin’s Tower &

@ – With The Wheel Teases (Band)
# – With an Unknown Tease (MB) and The Wheel Teases (TH)
$ – With a “Chameleon” (Herbie Hancock) Tease (either SM or TH)
% – With a “Nothing Else Matters” (Metallica) Tease (TH)
^ – First Time Played by Almost Dead
& – With John Mayer on Guitar
* – With “Serpentine Fire (Earth, Wind & Fire) Teases & China Cat Teases (Band). With John Mayer on Guitar
+ – With a Marco Solo that included a Cosmic Charlie Tease. With John Mayer on Guitar
@@ – With a West LA Fadeaway Tease (MB). With John Mayer on Guitar
## – With teases / jams of Uncle John’s, “Jolene” (American Babies), Ruben & Cerise, Playin in the Band & The Wheel if not more
$$ – Not played by Almost Dead since 2016.02.14 at Higher Ground, Winooski, VT, a gap of 57 shows
%% – First Time Played by Almost Dead, with teases of “No Quarter” (Led Zeppelin), “Run Like Hell” (Pink Floyd) & something else that I can’t read from my notes :/
^^ – Donovan cover, very short, just the Chorus