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Published: 2013/02/04
by Vernon Webb

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC – 1/26

Photo by Vernon Webb

I am a huge fan of the Grateful Dead. I’ve seen them more times than any band I’ve ever seen (stopped counting after 200 shows.) Since Jerry’s passing there have been innumerable bands that have covered them. Well last night, what is essentially Bustle In Your Hedgerow plus Tom Hamilton of American Babies took on the task. Bustle, who is no stranger to doing a single band’s work (Led Zeppelin). Honestly, in my humble opinion this is a natural progression especially considering one of its members is already doing just that in Furthur.

Being a Deadhead myself, and one who was very critical of even The Grateful Dead, and am typically even more so with such bands. Ok, I know, I was spoiled with having the privileged of experiencing the real deal.

My biggest complaint has been the loss of “magic,” that at indescribable moment that was felt at many a Dead shows, however this was not the case last night’s show at The Brooklyn Bowl, as this band was truly on fire. Joe Russo, who is certainly making strides with Furthur, but often times appears to be like a deer in head lights, was obviously at home with these guys, as indeed he should as his relationship with them predates Furthur, for sure. No one seemed to be trying to emulate anyone, being themselves and yet still honoring the music of The Grateful Dead. Scott Metzger was an animal on lead guitar switching back and forth with Tom on both leads & vocal. Dave Dreiwitz laying down the backbone along with Joe’s drumming more than did Phil Lesh justice. Marco Benevento simply killed it on the keyboards adding his flavor to the music and yet still honoring it enough as not to stray too far from what anyone would expect, most especially this critical Deadhead. I do not know if this is the only time they will ever do this and if so, man if you weren’t there you truly missed out. I for one pray that this configuration continues and hones what I would describe as well-oiled wheel.

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