A Mini-Dead Reunion at Gathering of the Vibes
Over the weekend, the eleventh annual Gathering of the Vibes took place in Mariaville, NY for the fifth year in a row. A Deadheads dream, the four day gathering featured a number of Grateful Dead members and longtime Dead-family associates, including Bob Weir and Ratdog, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmanns Rhythm Devils, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Hot Tuna, David Gans, and Kettle Joe’s Psychedelic Swamp Revue, as well as younger acts like G. Love, Keller Williams, Yonder Mountain String Band and North Mississippi Allstars. While scattered showers put a damper on Saturdays evening festivities, 99% of the weekends music took place as planned.
As in years past, collaboration played a key part in the weekends festivities. During Keller Williams set, Bob Weir emerged for versions of Dark Hollow and On the Road Again, later joining Hot Tuna for an acoustic version of Walkin Blues. Soon after, Hart and Kreutzman offered a set of African/groove laced music with the Rhythm Devils, leading an expanded group with included Mike Gordon and Steve Kimock. Weir helped close out the ensembles set, playing guitar on The Other One and Fire on the Mountain. Weir later returned for the Rhythm Devils encore of Goin Down the Road Feeling Bad along with Donna Jean Godchaux, marking the first time the four Grateful Dead members have performed together since last Septembers Rex Foundation benefit. Godchaux also provided auxiliary vocals for much of Ratdogs headlining set, including Jack Straw, Bird Song and One More Saturday Night. Saturday afternoon, the Zen Tricksters backed David Gans during his performance, while Godchaux, keyboardist Mookie Siegel, Wendy Lanter and the Zen Tricksters Jeff Mattson augmented the New Riders of the Purple Sage during their set.
Other highlights included performances by longtime Gathering of the Vibes veterans Deep Banana Blackout, Strangefolk, Assembly of Dust and Ryan Montbleau Band, the latter of whom invited Fuzz out for a cover of Thomas Dolbys She Blinded Me With Science. Sunday, the Juggling Suns Mark Diomede also offered an acoustic set with David Gans in the Vibes non-profit village.