Jerry Garcia Tribute and Ominous Seapods Reunion Among Good Vibes Gathered in Mariaville, NY
Over the weekend The Gathering of the Vibes celebrated its first ten years in Mariaville, NY. Throughout the three-day gathering many of the festivals alumni returned to the stage including veteran performers the Zen Tricksters, Assembly of Dust, Deep Banana Blackout, the Rafter Bats, Stephen Kellogg and Windfalls, which features members of Vibes stalwarts Strangefolk. Medeski, Martin and Wood offered a rare A Go Go-heavy performance alongside old friend John Scofield while Solar Circus frontman Mark Diomede
made his first Vibes appearance since 1996 as a member of the Juggling Suns. Seminal jamband the Ominous Seapods also reunited boasting the triple guitar-attack of founding members Max Verna and Dana Monteith as well as later-day axe-man Todd Pasternack.
Originally created to celebrate the life of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, the Gathering of the Vibes returned to its roots to mark the tenth anniversary of Garcias passing. Friday night Bob Weir and RatDog made its second Vibes appearance playing a three-hour set amidst occasional showers and a lightning storm. Former Grateful Dead member Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay joined RatDog for much of its set, adding vocals to numbers like Bertha, Cassidy, Lazy River Road, Truckin, The Wheel and Franklin’s Tower. Saturday a Rob Barracco-bolstered version of the Dark Star Orchestra anchored the five-hour jam session which ran through a breadth of Jerry Garcia material. Boasting an impressive setlist written by Zen Tricksters guitarist Jeff Mattson A Tribute to Jerry Garcia & the Grateful Dead featured a revolving cast of Dead-associate including Godchaux-MacKay, Peter Rowan, David Nelson, Melvin Seals, Martin Fierro and Tom Constanten. First, Rowan, Nelson and historian David Gans reinterpreted numbers like ‘Oh, The Wind and Rain,’ Peggy-O and Panama Red with a stripped down version of Dark Star Orchestra serving as their backing band. Rowan also invited out Max Creek guitarist Scott Marwaski for a touching ‘Midnight Moonlight.’ Later, Fuzz supplied guitar and vocals for a bluesy version of Easy Wind, while Reid Genauer, Keller Williams, flutist Julee Avallone and Assembly of Dusts Terrell performed on Eyes of the World and Bird Song. In lieu of a set-break, Barracco invited out his former band, the Zen Tricksters, for a mini-set which featured former Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten and Legion of Mary saxophonist Martin Fierro on numbers like Its No Use and Favela. Dark Star Orchestra returned to the stage with the Jerry Garcia Bands Melvin Seals, Jaclyn LaBranch and Gloria Jones who recreated JGB covers such as Dont Let Go and The Harder They Come. Dark Star Orchestra closed out its set with inspired versions of Mission in the Rain and The Music Never Stopped, among other Grateful Dead numbers, before most of the evenings cast emerged for jams built around ‘My Brothers & Sisters’ and Ripple.
Dead tributes also dotted the weekends other setlists. On Friday the Zen Tricksters invited Godchaux-MacKay onstage for Beat It On Down the Line and I’ll Take a Melody, while Hope in Times Wendy Lanter added vocals to Shine Your Light. Avallone also added flute to both Shine Your Light and Fat Angel. The Tricksters trio of Mattson, Klyph Black and Tom Circosta, as well as Godchaux-MacKay and Dark Star Orchestra drummer Dino English, later joined Gans for Sing Me Back Home and Terrapin Station on the venues Jam Stage. The Jam Stage also hosted Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli who performed songs from throughout his career backed by Assembly of Dust keyboardist Nate Wilson and the Deep Banana Blackout rhythm section of Benj Lefevre and Eric Kalb. Near the end of his set Nocentelli declared the Meters are back.
A number of the weekends performers also offered special acoustic sets for Relix Magazines official podcast, Cold Turkey. Exclusive performances by Dark Star Orchestra featuring Rob Barracco, Ryan Montbleau and The Ominous Seapods Dana Monteith and Todd Pasternack will be available on Relix.com and Gathering of the Vibes.com in the coming days, along with a wealth of interviews, soundboard recordings and artist commentary. As a treat, both Montbleau and the Ominous Seapods recorded their Cold Turkey sets right in Relixs onsite booth for an intimate crowd of future subscribers.