reCAP :: Melvin Seals & JGB w/ The John Kadlecik Band :: 2017.03.03
Melvin Seals and JGB were back at the Cap Friday night with their new lead guitarist, Zach Nugent. A How Sweet it is opener rolled into Cats Under the Stars. Lush swishing and swooshing organ sounds filled the theatre courtesy of Melvin. Zach had the Jerry mojo rolling—smooth guitar licks, heartfelt crooning. On centerstage all night, Ron Holloway played a hard boppin" sax. He was a superb addition to the JGB lineup.
Peter Rowan's Mississippi Moon was one of the early highlights of the show, bringing back memories of Melvin"s first year playing with Garcia back in 1981. The crowd roared as Melvin cut loose round after round of swampy soul. Another Rowan composition, Midnight Moonlight, set off a dancing frenzy, and closed out a gratifying first set.
Set two kicked off with I’m a Road Runner, the tale of Melvin’s life— “I love the life I live and I’m gonna live the life I love.” Melvin had a longer run playing with Jerry Garcia than any other keyboardist either with the Grateful Dead or Jerry Garcia Band, and his mission to propagate the music of the JGB is apparently eternal. Holloway’s Road Runner sax solo flowed long, and the exchanges between Ron, Melvin, and Zach, made for a seamless jam.
It wouldn’t be a Melvin/JGB Band show without a stretched out Dylan tune, and on this night, Positively 4th Street soared. Nugent sang with the right touch of headache, and his explosive guitar playing captured the bittersweet nature of 4th Street. By popular request, Melvin and his troupe played Dear Prudence. Holloway’s presence gave the music a Legion of Mary feel (Garcia’s band in ’74 and ’75). John Kadlecik’s band opened for Seals, and Johnny K joined Melvin’s group for Deal. The dueling Jerrys slammed into overdrive as Seals smiled wide. Melvin has been a regular visitor to Port Chester since the Grand Reopening of the Capitol Theatre in 2012, and he’s aging like fine wine as he finds new ways to put his soulful spin on this timeless music.