Jorma and his birthday cake
Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge, singer/songwriter Steve Earle and guitarist Michael Falzarano were among the musicians who joined Hot Tuna at New York’s Beacon Theater Saturday night. The two-set show marked the second night of Jorma Kaukonen’s 70th Birthday Bash and featured music that spanned the guitarist’s storied career.
Former Hot Tuna keyboardist Pete Sears kicked off the night’s parade of guests during “San Francisco Bay Blues” five songs into the group’s set. He was joined by longtime Tuna guitarist Michael Falzarano and Bob Weir for “Big Railroad Blues.” Falzarano, who helped orchestrate the show’s special guests, remained onstage with Sears for “How Long Blues.” After a guest-free take on “If This Is Love I Want My Money Back,” Weir, Oteil Burbridge and former Hot Tuna drummer Bob Steeler emerged for “Bowlegged Woman” and “Walking Blues.”
The group’s second set featured even more collaborations. Sears kicked things off by playing keyboards on “I See The Light” and “3rd Week In The Chelsea.” Soon after, Steve Earle took the stage for “Nothing Brings You Down Like Your Home Town” and “Brand New Companion” while Burbridge returned for “99 Year Blues.” Immediately after, Weir took the stage again for Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” with Sears on accordion. Steeler returned behind the kit for a segment consisting of “Talkin’ Bout You,” “Hesitation Blues” and “AK-47” (the latter of which featured Falzarano).
The show came to a close with Steeler, Sears and Burbridge onstage for “Funky # 7,” Weir, Burbridge, Falzarano and Earle performing together on “Come Back Baby” and most of the evening’s guests jamming on a show-closing “Baby What You Want Me To Do?”
“Jack and I certainly felt all the fire from the old days coming out of our fingers,” Jorma wrote on his blog. “Well, I don’t want to gush too much but we sure got to play some great songs with great people. After the show downstairs they broke out the cake they presented me on stage and it tasted just as good as it looked.
Hot Tuna is currently finishing its first studio album in several decades at Levon Helm’s Woodstock, NY-area studio. Larry Campbell is helping with production duties. Please click here for a look at Friday’s guest-heavy performance.
Here’s a look at Saturday’s setlist
Serpent Of Dreams
Been So Long
Ode To Billy Dean
I Wish You Would
San Francisco Bay Blues with Pete Sears
Big Railroad Blues with Pete Sears & Michael Falzarano & Bob Weir
How Long Blues with Pete Sears & Michael Falzarano
If This Is Love I Want My Money Back
Bowlegged Woman with Oteil Burbridge, Bob Weir & Bob Steeler
Walking Blues with Bob Weir and Oteil Burbridge & Bob Steeler
I See The Light with Pete Sears
3rd Week In The Chelsea with Pete Sears
Nothing Brings You Down Like Your Home Town with Steve Earle
Brand New Companion with Steve Earle
99 Year Blues with Oteil Burbridge
When I Paint My Masterpiece with Bob Weir, Pete Sears on accordion
Talkin’ Bout You with Bob Steeler
Hesitation Blues with Bob Steeler
AK-47 with Michael Falzarano and Bob Steeler
Funky # 7 Bob Steeler, Oteil Burbridge & Pete Sears
Come Back Baby with Steve Earle, Bob Weir, Oteil Burbridge, Michael Falzarano
Baby What You Want Me To Do? With the same cast of characters.