Photos by Dino Perrucci

Last night, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead concluded their celebration of 10 years together as one of the most respected and in-demand Grateful Dead cover bands in the world. The reverie kicked off on Thursday, Jan. 26, at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl and continued for a three-night stay at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. The final performance in their historic milestone run saw several live debuts by the ensemble and an opening set that was almost entirely acoustic. Notably, before the event’s encore, The Capitol Theatre and Brooklyn Bowl’s proprietor Peter Shapiro came on stage to share that in celebration of “10 Cosmic Years,” a star at the astronomic position of RA 20.392 and Declination of -11.45 has officially been named “JRAD10.”

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead opened their set with an electric pairing of “Lost Sailor” and “Saint of Circumstance,” followed by “St. Stephen,” before a surprise acoustic set of instruments were brought on stage, ready to show the band’s raw ability – without any bells, whistles, or pedals.

The seated acoustic portion of the frame began with Jim Alley’s “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” a song that Jerry Garcia played with the New Riders Of The Purple Sages in the early 1970s. From there, they played “Dire Wolf,” marking the song’s first acoustic rendition since New Year’s Eve of 2015, before a jam of “Uncle John’s Band” into “King Solomon’s Marbles” back into a reprise of “Uncle John’s Band.” Well into the set, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead agreed to make the set even more special by throwing out a pristine live debut of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” before closing the frame out with “Wharf Rat” followed by the beloved traditional “Jack-A-Roe” which had not been heard in its acoustic form since Oct. 7, 2016.

With three shows behind them and just one final full set left in their celebration, one would think Joe Russo’s Almost Dead would have little to prove, but after fully locking into the spirit of the Grateful Dead on their acoustic opening set and plugging into their amps they yet again showed why so many came from so far to enjoy their unique interpretations of the Grateful Dead’s songbook.

They opened the set with a volcanic “Fire on the Mountain” and kept the audience within the halls of the beloved institution moving with “Samson and Delilah.” They then looked to Garcia once again for a rendition of “Mission in the Rain.” Joe Russo’s Almost Dead continued to keep grooving Grateful Dead favorites rolling with “Dancing in the Street,” which contained “New Speedway Boogie” before it returned to a reprise of the adored live staple and cover of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Next came “West L.A. Fadeaway” before they shared the second live debut of the evening: one of the Grateful Dead’s most adored covers, Traffic’s iconic “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” They rounded the frame out with a penultimate cover of Henry Whitter’s “Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad” before closing with a “And We Bid You Goodnight” jam.

With the band covered in sweat and gleaming, Shapiro came on stage to give them their star’s Certificate of Registration, likely the one thing he felt would represent the true significance of their impact on the scene and the only thing that could shine quite as bright. In line with the rest of the shows and their new astronomic namesake Joe Russo’s Almost Dead returned to their spots on the stage, for a dense, bright and high-octane closing rendition of “Bertha,” condescending their incredible run and their decade together into one last ball of life – the perfect conclusion.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead
The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, N.Y.
Jan. 29, 2023

Set I: Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance, St. Stephen, Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line (Jim Alley cover), Dire Wolf, Uncle John’s Band > King Solomon’s Marbles > Uncle John’s Band (reprise), It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Live debut), Wharf Rat, Jack-A-Roe

Set II: Fire on the Mountain, Samson and Delilah ([traditional] cover), Mission in the Rain Dancing in the Street > New Speedway Boogie > Dancing in the Street (Reprise), West L.A. Fadeaway > Dear Mr. Fantasy (Live debut), Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad, And We Bid You Goodnight Jam

Enc.: Bertha

Notes: Final Show of JRAD’s 10th Anniversary Run. Following St. Stephen, an Acoustic Set was brought on stage and used for the remainder of Set 1.

After the conclusion of Set 2, Capitol Theater owner Peter Shapiro came on stage to congratulate the band and dedicate a star, “JRAD10” in honor of their