To support the speedy recovery of Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow, on December 14, rock entrepreneur Peter Shapiro hosted a benefit at his Brooklyn Bowl concert hall that blossomed into an evening of dancing and love. With the Terrapin Family Band serving as house musicians, familiar names in the jam band orbit got together and brought along some new faces to keep things fresh. Rob Barraco played keys and served as musical director, Joining Terrapin’s Grahame Lesh, Ross James, Scott Padden and Alex Koford, and kicking things off with lead vocals on “Mexicali Blues.” Next up was Brooklyn Bowl regular Eric Krasno, accompanied by Leslie Mendelson on lead vocals, for an appropriately moving cover of “Cassidy” featuring the Barlow-penned prayer: “Fare thee well now, let your life proceed by its own design.” Other first-set gems included “Black Throated Wind” with the incandescent Katie Jacoby on violin, and “Just a Little Light” with Amy Helm’s powerful voice in fine form. The set closer, “The Music Never Stopped,” again featured Helm and Jacoby ripping it up to the delight of the Brooklyn Bowl audience.
Between sets, Peter Shapiro thanked folks for coming out to support John Barlow and displayed the angelic D’Angelico guitar signed by Barlow and Bob Weir being auctioned off to raise funds for the cause. Shapiro was joined Amelia Barlow, who introduced a poignant video of her dad, John Perry himself, who thanked everyone for the love and support in response to the “medical accidents and incidents that have had me dead several times.”
Krasno was back for the second set, with Jackie Greene sitting in on Hammond organ for an extended “Feel Like a Stranger” jam. Leslie Mendelson returned for vocals on “Looks Like Rain,” highlighted by a titanic solo from Krasno, followed by an equally strong jam on the Jackie Greene-led “Hell in a Bucket.” Katie Jacoby’s violin was perhaps the star of the set closer, the great “Weather Report Suite.” Anyone who wants to see what a rising star looks like needs to check out Ms. Jacoby and her electric fiddle.
In all, it was an exceptional event — an evening that raised money, raised spirits and raised the roof of the Brooklyn Bowl for a worthy cause. Get well soon, John Barlow!