Joe Russo’s Almost Dead returned to the Brooklyn Bowl stage last night for round two of three at the venue where they were formed back in 2013, and the band brought a few new cover tunes to the table throughout the night.
Set one leaned on some of the more jovial songs from the Grateful Dead catalog, opening with an “Eyes of the World” that featured some improvisational interplay between keyboardist Marco Benevento and guitarist Tom Hamilton and continuing with “Dancing in the Streets,” “The Music Never Stopped” and “Tennessee Jed” before a set-closing “Next Time You See Me,” the first debut of the night from the group. The Junior Parker song was one of the covers fronted by original Dead keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan when he was with the band. Almost Dead nodded to the anniversary of Pigpen’s death on Thursday night.
Set two continued the upbeat theme with a New Orleans staple, The Dixie Cups’ “Iko Iko,” which Almost Dead hadn’t played since early 2016. After “Black-Throated Wind,” “Bertha” and “Feel Like a Stranger,” the band brought out another debut, the Grateful Dead’s version of the traditional tune “Peggy-O.” The band then jammed into “Playing in the Band” and closed the set out with a solo spotlight on Benevento, who worked in a tease of Madonna’s “Borderline.” Russo noted to the crowd that the cover was the first song he and Benevento ever played together as the Benevento/Russo Duo when they first got together for a Madonna tribute at former Manhattan jam haven Wetlands. Last night ended with the final Almost Dead debut of the show, an encore cover of “It’s All Over Now,” originally written by Bobby and Shirley Womack and covered by The Rolling Stones for their first number-one hit.
See the full setlist below, along with pro-shot video of each set’s opener. Almost Dead return to Brooklyn Bowl tonight to round out their three-night stand at their home venue.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead
Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
Set I: Jam > Eyes of the World > Dancing in the Streets > The Music Never Stopped > Tennessee Jed > Next Time You See Me*
Set II: Iko Iko, Jam > Black-Throated Wind > Bertha > Feel Like a Stranger, Peggy-O*, Jam > Playing in the Band > Marco Solo
Enc: It’s All Over Now*
Notes: *Almost Dead debut