Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Westville Music Bowl - New Haven, CT 5/13/23
Once you have the songs of the Grateful Dead as part of you, they never really leave. You don't forget them, or what they meant to you. They may fall out of rotation, only to make you realize how much you missed them when they resurface
I wasn't sure what to expect coming into my first JRAD show. Showtime was 6 pm, requiring an early start in order to get a bit of tailgating in. As you would expect from a Dead show, there was a lively scene going on outside the venue.
The show took place on a gorgeous night, opening the season for the Westville Bowl. JRAD took the state around 6:15 and immediately broke into a furious jam which gave way to a beautiful "Eyes of the World". It really set the tone for the evening. The band does such an amazing job of not just covering Grateful Dead songs, but instilling the feeling of being at a Dead show. JRAD delivers a sort of greatest hits version of the Dead, with a setlist better than almost any Dead show. The result is a crowd of people who know every lyric, every note, every chorus and it gives the feel of a close family. Or at least a whole stadium full of your weirdest cousins.
Adding to those family vibes was the onstage presence of the daughters of Joe Russo (Set 1) and Marco Benevento (Set 2 - Scarlet Begonias)
The band plays two sets in true Dead fashion, with very few spacy jams like you might expect. Some of the highlights were "The Music Never Stopped", "The Wheel" "Scarlet -> Fire", the Beatles "Here Comes the Sun" (at sunset) and the encore "Good Lovin'". If the songs of the Grateful Dead are your thing, catch JRAD the next time they come around - it's a night of sure fun.
The wheel is turning and you can't slow down,
You can't let go and you can't hold on,
You can't go back and you can't stand still,
If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will.
As the crowd filtered into the parking lot, the party continued.