David Nelson Band, Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael, CA- 2/16
Over Valentine’s weekend, the David Nelson Band (DNB) played a three pack at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California. On Sunday, keyboardist/vocalist Mookie Siegel celebrated his birthday and Mr. Phil Lesh even dropped by for a couple of tunes.
DNB opened with a warm and familiar “Deep Elem Blues” to a sold out crowd in the Grate Room of the celebrated Lesh family venue. The first set escalated with Nelson’s down home country rock “John Hardy’s Wedding” and then ramped up, guitars screaming, for “Where I Come From.” Next Sears gave the heartfelt gift “Every Grain of Sand” and then we all shifted to a “Coconut Wireless” dance party. One of the rewards of owning the place is you get to drop in whenever you want, and lucky for us, Phil decided to come by. David Nelson shared a funny memory of their first meeting, in 1962, wherein he recalled noticing that young Phil, fresh out of Berklee School of Music, had a copy of James Joyce’s experimental novel, “Finnegan’s Wake,” wrapped up in a plastic bag in the pocket of his overalls, and recanted that Phil said to him, “You should try it.” What’s great about this circle of musicians is that their personal and musical roots run deep, which makes watching them play together awesome. Phil took over bass patrol and the guys busted into “Iko-Iko” and then a smokin’ hot “Cumberland Blues.”
The second set picked up nicely with “Fable of a Chosen One,” into a thrilling “Snakebit” jam that Sless and Sears just ripped on. Seamlessly, they went into a rockin’ “Wicked Messenger” that I personally just love Nelson’s vocals on. Sears hit it hard with a killer “That’s Alright Mama,” while Mookie fired up them keys. They dropped into the bluesy “Cut & Run” next and gave it a really nice lengthy psychedelic jam that gave way to the ethereal “Into the Mystic,” which Mookie sang beautifully, accompanied by the band taking us all on the spiritual quest Morrison wrote the classic tune about in 1969. Sunday shows are always the best, and the boys held true to legend. They encored with “Sisters and Brothers,” Molo singing an exciting “White Lightnin’,” and “Ripple.” The David Nelson Band is celebrating their twenty-year anniversary so expect more special shows on the horizon.