Touch of Grey at Comes A Time
The Comes A Time Tribute show took place on Saturday at Berkeleys Greek Theater. The Rex Foundation Benefit featured a climactic two hour set led by Bob Weir joined by numerous other musicians, including Garcias Grateful Dead bandmates Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. The evening began with a nod to Garcias early years, with collaborators David Nelson and Sandy Rothman leading a run through some bluegrass numbers. An acoustic incarnation of The String Cheese Incident followed, joined by Scott Law on guitar for five songs including Friend of the Devil, Catfish John and Ripple. Alumni of the Jerry Garcia Band followed as Melvin Seals, Gloria Jones, Jackie LaBranch and others focused on that body of material through such selections as Cats Down Under The Stars, My Sisters & My Brothers and a closing Deal with guests Kreutzmann, Warren Haynes and Merl Saunders (a rare public appearance from the ailing keyboard player to honor his longtime collaborator and friend). RatDog then performed four tunes that Garcia had sung with the Grateful Dead (starting with Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo and concluding with Big Railroad Blues).
Following some comments from Rex Executive Director Sandy Sohcot, Annabelle Garcia and others, Hamza El Din, Mickey Hart and two dozen percussionists (including Bill Walton) took the stage. These white-robed participants then yielded to Weir and the All-Star collective. The guitar players included Trey Anastasio, Jimmy Herring, Mark Karan and Haynes. Jeff Chimenti and Bruce Hornsby shared keyboard duties. Jay Lane began on drums, with Kreutzmann and Hart taking over half-way through the set. RatDogs Robin Sylvester supplied bass, as did JV Collier. Other participants included Michael Kang, Kenny Brooks, Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay, Jones and LaBranch. Vocal duties were shared by the various players, with Anastasio singing on the opening Help On the Way and as well as the Franklins Tower that bookended the set. Hornsby later contributed on Loser and Scarlet Begonias, while Haynes stepped up for Bertha and a particularly powerful Stella Blue. The encores were the apt Brokedown Palace and a second verse of Dark Star sung by Bob Weir (he had delivered the first verse earlier in the night) followed by a group sing-along on a rousing yet poignant Touch of Grey.