Decorated bassist Oteil Burbridge gathered an impressive group of Friends this past weekend for a two-night séance with the musical spirits at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.
Flanked by Eric Krasno (guitar/vocals), Jason Crosby (keys/vocals), Tom Guarna (guitar), Pete Lavezzoli (drums), and the Trey Anastasio Band horn section—Jennifer Hartswick (trumpet/vocals), Natalie Cressman (trombone/vocals), James Casey (saxophone/vocals)—Oteil used the two-night engagement to channel the historic echoes of both the historic theater and his own eclectic career.
A reunion of long-separated friends all around, the weight of the weekend was magnified due to the stakes of James Casey’s involvement. On top of the baseline obstacles presented by the last two years, Casey spent the end of 2021 in treatment for colon cancer, causing him to miss TAB’s 2021 tour. While he briefly returned to the stage with Anastasio at the end of that 2021 trek, the Oteil & Friends shows at The Cap served as two of Casey’s first full live shows since his diagnosis last fall.
“You don’t know what show’s your last, pandemic or not,” Burbridge recently told Live For Live Music, “so to see him face this … to be walking through part of this with him as we work together, it’s serious, man. It’s heroic and inspiring, and it makes the shows mean more. It makes the moments mean more. You’ll feel it in the music at The Cap. There’s no doubt about it, man. There’s so much love going around.”
Burbridge’s forecast rang true throughout the two shows at The Capitol Theatre. Grateful Dead staples dotted the two nights’ setlists, from live favorites like “Eyes of the World”, “Weather Report Suite”, “Touch of Grey”, “Scarlet Begonias”, “Estimated Prophet”, “Terrapin Station” and “Shakedown Street” to deep cuts like “King Solomon’s Marbles”, “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)”, “Believe It or Not” and go-to covers like “Morning Dew” and “Turn On Your Love Light”. Oteil also peppered in a handful of his own originals like “Chasing”, “Too Many Times”, “No More Doubt”, and “Water In The Desert”, while Krasno got his licks in on a rousing “Unconditional Love”.
Occupying his characteristic place at the nexus of multiple beloved catalogs, Burbridge and company also integrated a number of Jerry Garcia Band staples on Friday and Saturday, from Grateful Dead crossovers like “Deal” and “They Love Each Other” to solo cuts like “Gomorrah” and “Cats Under The Stars” to gospel-inflected JGB covers like “Edward the Mad Shirt Grinder” (Nicky Hopkins), “Magnificent Sanctuary Band” (Dorsey Burnette), and “Mystery Train” (Parker Phillips). Burbridge’s Allman Brothers Band pedigree also got a few nods with renditions of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, “Blue Sky”, and “Hot ‘Lanta”.
Of course, that’s not to say that the Oteil & Friends shows at the Cap colored entirely inside Burbridge’s existing musical lines. Other notable highlights tucked into the two shows included Funkadelic‘s “Can You Get To That” and a tear-jerking rendition of the late Neal Casal‘s “Superhighway”, which he recorded for the tribute box set, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal.
Click below to watch a selection of pro-shot videos from the two-night Oteil & Friends run at The Capitol Theatre. Scroll down to check out photo galleries from David Gray/Gray Peak Images (Friday, 3/11) and Andrew Blackstein (Saturday, 3/12).
Oteil & Friends – “Water In The Desert” [Pro-Shot] – 3/11/22
Oteil & Friends – “Magnificent Sanctuary Band” (Dorsey Burnette), “King Solomon’s Marbles” (Grateful Dead) [Pro-Shot] – 3/11/22
Oteil & Friends – “Touch of Grey” (Grateful Dead), “Scarlet Begonias” (Grateful Dead), Estimated Prophet (Grateful Dead) [Pro-Shot] – 3/12/22
Oteil & Friends – “Hot ‘Lanta” (Allman Brothers Band) [Pro-Shot] – 3/12/22
Oteil will bring an adjusted group of Friends to Miami Beach, FL this weekend for a two-night stand at North Beach Bandshell (3/18, 3/19). For ticketing information and a full list of upcoming Oteil Burbridge tour dates, head here.
The Capitol Theatre will keep on truckin’ through the month of March with shows by Railroad Earth (3/19), Brothers Osborne (3/23), Tedeschi Trucks Band (3/24, 3/25, 3/26), Lewis Black (3/27), and The Disco Biscuits (3/31, 4/1, 4/2). For a full calendar of upcoming shows at The Cap, head here.
Setlist: Oteil & Friends | The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY | 3/11/22
Set One: Water in the Desert, They Love Each Other (Jerry Garcia), Cats Under the Stars (Jerry Garcia), Gomorrah (Jerry Garcia), Deal (Jerry Garcia), Too Many Times, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (The Allman Brothers Band)
Set Two: Magnificent Sanctuary Band (Dorsey Burnette), King Solomon’s Marbles (Grateful Dead), No More Doubt, Can You Get To That (Funkadelic), To Lay Me Down (Grateful Dead), Blue Sky (Allman Brothers Band), Eyes of the World (Grateful Dead), Morning Dew (Bonnie Dobson), The Golden Road (Grateful Dead), Edward the Mad Shirt Grinder (Nicky Hopkins)
Setlist: Oteil & Friends | The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY | 3/12/22
Set One: Touch of Grey (Grateful Dead), Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead), Estimated Prophet (Grateful Dead), Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob Dylan), Mystery Train (Little Junior’s Blue Flames), Chasing, Weather Report Suite (Grateful Dead)
Set Two: Hot ‘Lanta (Allman Brothers Band), Tough Mama (Bob Dylan), Believe It or Not (Grateful Dead), Unconditional Love (Eric Krasno), Superhighway (Neal Casal), New Potato Caboose (Grateful Dead), Terrapin Station (Grateful Dead), Shakedown Street (Grateful Dead)
Encore: Attics of My Life (Grateful Dead), Turn On Your Love Light (Bobby “Blue” Bland)