Joe Russo’s Almost Dead returned to Brooklyn Bowl for the second night of their March run at the venue that birthed them. The Friday night show saw the Grateful Dead tribute act throwing out teases left and right and included a couple of big JRAD debuts in addition to some moments of individual musical prowess.

JRAD jammed their way into “Eyes of the World” to kick off the show before working a few teases of Marvin Gaye‘s “What’s Going On” into the opening tune. Some improvisational back-and-forth from keyboardist Marco Benevento and guitarist Tom Hamilton then gave way to a lengthy “Dancing In The Streets” that turned up the energy level as Benevento and drummer Joe Russo sprinkled in a few teases of their Benevento/Russo Duo favorite “Becky”. Another deep dive into “The Music Never Stopped” followed, with the tune flowing seamlessly into a crowd-pleasing “Tennessee Jed”. The group then wrapped up the five-song set with a cover of Junior Parker‘s “Next Time You See Me”—yet another nod to original Grateful Dead keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, who often sang the tune during the band’s early years (Thursday marked the 45th anniversary of Pigpen’s death).

JRAD – “Eyes of the World” [Pro-Shot]


Joe Russo’s Almost Dead – “Dancing In The Streets”

[Video: monihampton]

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead – “Next Time You See Me”

[Video: monihampton]

JRAD kicked off the second stanza in style with a “Wild Thing” tease that opened the band’s first “Iko Iko” in over three years. The Mardi Gras standard set up an extended jam that included hints of Ornette Coleman‘s “Theme From A Symphony” before segueing right into a “Black Throated Wind” that zipped into “Bertha”. “Feel Like A Stranger” was a Grateful Dead mainstay through the 1980s, and the version that followed last night’s “Bertha” got taken into serious ’80s territory with prominent teases of Peter Gabriel‘s “Sledgehammer” and Bell Biv Devoe‘s new jack swing classic “Poison”.

JRAD – “Eyes of the World” [Pro-Shot]


One of the night’s more memorable moments came next as the band hit the opening notes of “Peggy – O”, a staple of the Grateful Dead repertoire that—somehow, surprisingly—has never gotten the JRAD treatment. Hamilton held down vocals on the debut, which eventually moved on to lengthy, energetic “Playing In The Band” that almost gave way to the “Terrapin Suite” (look out for that one at tonight’s Brooklyn Bowl closer, folks).

Finally, the spotlight fell on Benevento as he closed out the set with a solo jam built around Madonna‘s “Borderline”, which Russo later said was the first song the pair ever played together. After a quick encore break, the band returned for yet another debut, this time of the Bobby and Shirley Womack classic “It’s All Over Now” (which was an early hit for the Rolling Stones in 1964). Hamilton sand the tune, which included a few teases of “Cumberland Blues”.

JRAD will return to the Brooklyn Bowl tonight for the final show of their run at the venue. They will continue their March tour next week when they head to the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse on Thursday, March 15th. For a full list of upcoming dates, hit the band’s website.

You can check out a full gallery of photos from the performance below courtesy of photographer Andrew Blackstein.

Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Brooklyn Bowl | New York, NY | 3/9/2018 

Set One: Jam -> Eyes Of The World @ -> Dancing In The Streets # > The Music Never Stopped > Tennessee Jed > Next Time You See Me $

Set Two: Iko Iko %, Jam $$ -> Black Throated Wind -> Bertha > Feel Like A Stranger^, Peggy – O &, Jam * -> Playing in The Band + -> Marco Solo @@

Encore: It’s All Over Now##

@ – With a “What’s Going On” (Marvin Gaye) Tease (SM), a Marco Solo which evolved into a Marco / Tommy Duo & a DD Bass Solo
# – With numerous “Becky” (Benevento Russo Duo) Teases & Jams (MB & JR, then Band)
$ – Junior Parker cover (Sung by Pigpen when it was a part of the GD’s repertoire), First Time Played by Almost Dead, sung by SM
% – Not Played by Almost Dead since 2015-02-16 Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO a gap of 123 shows. Preceded by a “Wild Thing” (Tone Loc) Tease (JR)
$$ – With “Theme From A Symphony” (Ornette Coleman) Teases (DD)
^ – With “Sledgehammer” (Peter Gabriel) Teases (Band) and “Poison” (Bell Biv DeVoe) teases (JR)
& – First Time Played by Almost Dead, sung by TH
* – With a Dancing In The Streets Tease (Band) & maybe Dark Star Teases as well?
+ – With Terrapin Suite Teases (TH, MB & JR)
@@ – With a “Borderline” (Madonna) Jam
## – Bobby Womack and Shirley Womack/Rolling Stones Cover, (Sung by Bob Weir when it was a part of the GD’s repertoire) First Time Played by Almost Dead, sung by TH, with a Cumberland Blues Tease (MB)