reCAP :: Melvin Seals & JGB :: 2014.03.08
"Walk together little children, You don't ever have to worry, Through this world of trouble, We gotta love one another"
Since it reopened its doors a year and a half ago, The Cap has housed some stellar configurations sharing the joyous music celebrating the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia. Furthur, Ratdog, Phil and Friends have now been joined on the illustrious list by Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band. On March 3rd, the sextet delivered an infectious and euphoric set of tunes made famous while Garcia fronted the band from 1975 until his passing in 1995.Professional musicians Melvin Seals (keys), Dave Hebert (guitar/vocals), Pete Lavezzoli (drums), Shirley Starks (vocals), Cheryl Rucker (vocals), and John-Paul McLean (bass) know the right chords to hit to induce a frenzy from the rabid fan base. Led by Melvin Seals on the B-6 organ and keyboards, the only remaining member from the original outfit and who played with Garcia for 15 years which is the 3rd longest tenure in the band, JG effectively shares varied selections from the vast catalog. In addition to the often played staples, the band has recently been exploring the back catalog and performing a ton of super rare tunes, some of which The Jerry Garcia Band played only a few times over all those years including "Roadrunner." This tour sees popular bassist, Jimmy Teabeau, replaced while he faces legal challenges.
The night started in apropos fashion with a 10 minute jam session, "The Harder They Come" complete with consistent examples of Seals' funky wizardry on the ivories. The big man delivered eloquent and nuanced fills during the spacy jams. Hebert led the up-tempo and energetic attempt at "Rueben and Cherise" and enunciated the words with notable passion, which fueled the crowd to become more part of the show. "Russian Lullaby" was shared with the eloquence and nuance it deserves as Hebert begins to look like Garcia ala 1972 with flowing hair and dark beard. "Second That Emotion" exuded the most crowd adulation as the popular and incendiary number sparked many to sing along with authority.
The surreal and trippy crowd projections added an effective adrenaline as it created atmosphere and an escape. Kudos go to the background singers for performing so well that one was reminded of the formidable founding singers during the proceedings. The beauty of JGB is that it offers the most exemplary option for dancing exclusively to the music of Jerry Garcia Band which is different than the Grateful Dead's repertoire.
Jerry was a lover of Motown, soul, R&B, classic gospel, jazz and reggae. JGB offers a sanctuary to bask in Jerry's preferences and affections. There is no one more suited to carry on Garcia's legacy in this sphere more than his long-time good friend, Melvin Seals. JGB is relentlessly touring throughout the country well into the summer including a myriad of festival stops.
Set List: The Harder They Come, What a Wonderful World, Roadrunner, Sitting in Limbo, Waiting for a Miracle, Russian Lullabye, Rueben and Cherise, Think, That's What Love Will Make You Do, Second that Emotion, Tears of Rage, I'll be With Thee, Sisters and Brothers, Mighty High
Encore: Midnight Moonlight