Melvin Seals, Oteil Burbridge, John Kadlecik Host ‘A Merry Jerry Christmas’ Holiday Concert [Audio]

first_imgJerry Garcia departed from this world a little more than twenty-three years ago, but his music still brings people from all walks of life out to dance and enjoy. The historic Fox Theater was the latest channel of Garcia’s music on Sunday night in Pomona, California, hosting “A Merry Jerry Christmas”, a benefit show for Story Book Adventures, a program dedicated to bringing music and literacy to children in the Inland Empire region east of Los Angeles.The night started with a rocking set of originals from the LA-based jam band The Higgs. Their set put everyone in a great mood as the venue filled with tie-dye and the unmistakable aura of a Grateful Dead crowd.Up next came a group that fans of the post-Jerry iterations of the Dead would consider a super group. Current Golden Gate Wingmen and former Dark Star Orchestra and Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik captained the band on guitar and lead vocals. Dead & Company and former Allman Brothers and Aquarium Rescue Unit bassist Oteil Burbridge continued to demonstrate his mastery of the Dead catalogue. Original Jerry Garcia Band keyboardist Melvin Seals laid down his soulful organ sound to truly authenticate the music.They kicked things off with the classic JGB cover of Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet it is (To Be Loved By You)”. Seals’ deep electric organ chords immediately took everyone into a different universe as Kadlecik perfectly imitated Garcia’s sound for the opening licks. After a jaunty “Run For The Roses”, Burbridge took lead vocals on the JGB cover of Peter Tosh’s “Stop That Train”. A man wearing a “Let Oteil Sing” shirt went particularly crazy as Burbridge nailed the lilting reggae classic.Kadlecik then bit into the funky intro of a crunchy “After Midnight”. The band really showed off their chops on this JJ Cale tune. Seals ripped an organ solo that caused pandemonium among the crowd before the lights went down and Burbridge dropped an incredibly jazzy bass solo complimented by him scat singing along with the notes he was playing.Seals took the reigns on lead vocals for the only time of the evening during an upstroked reggae-style version of the Bob Dylan classic “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”. After working through an awesome “Cats Under The Stars”, Oteil stole the show providing lead vocals on a haunting “Stella Blue”.The outfit brought the tempo back up with a rowdy “Shakedown Street”, a Dead staple, but not typically part of Jerry Garcia Band repertoire. Burbridge rocked some crazy Victor Wooten-esque bass fills and the background singers wailed a powerful harmony.Next, they worked through an emotional “Mission In The Rain” before delivering a positively raucous take on “That’s What Love Will Make You Do”, originally released by Little Milton. This song might have been the biggest party of the night, and they carried that energy into The Beatles‘ “Dear Prudence”.Oteil took the lead for the last time on a bouncy “Gomorrah” before they rocked the Garcia staple “Don’t Let Go”, a cover of a Roy Hamilton tune. The set was culminated by a rocking jam-filled Peter Rowan classic “Midnight Moonlight”.For Jerry Garcia Band fans, this show was as good as it gets. From the all-absorbing organ sounds to the emotionally progressing Garcia ballads to the classic R&B sound, this group nailed down the energy that Garcia sought to express in his side project.Many people thought that the show was over after hours of JGB music from legendary musicians, but Cubensis still had an awesome set of classic Grateful Dead music in store. The R&B sounds gave way to more typical rock n’ roll as the LA-based band kicked things off with the fan-favorite “Bertha”. They weaved through a few Garcia tunes in “Tennessee Jed” and “Friend of the Devil” until they came to the lone Bob Weir song of the night “Feel Like a Stranger”, which featured perhaps the deepest jam of the set.After playing the classic pairing of “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider”, the outfit welcomed on their usual guitarist and singer Craig Marshall who is currently dealing with a health issue. Marshall helped lead the group through “The Wheel”, “Terrapin Station”, and “Not Fade Away” to put a cap on an incredible evening of music.The crowd slowly filed out in smiles after getting more than their money’s worth with three long sets of great music. The spirit of Mr. Garcia certainly lives on in southern California where Cubensis is based. Their next show is on 12/21 at Harvelle’s Night Club in Long Beach, CA. Burbridge, Kadlecik, and Seals will be performing in a similar group labeled Oteil & Friends at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on December 29 and then at Brooklyn Bowl in New York City for performances on December 30 and 31.[Video: benderman11]last_img

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