After catching JGB with Melvin Seals at the Catskill Chill festival this year, I was not missing their show at the Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs on Saturday. Melvin Seals, one of the original Jerry Garcia Band members, leads the band JGB and together they play tribute to Jerry Garcia, playing his music around the country. I arrived to the venue to find the outside porch area lined with tables of people selling art pieces, pins and shirts, very similar to a shakedown scene you would find on any Phish lot or Deadhead scene.
A man with long dreads stepped on stage and started strumming a guitar, which at first I assumed he was doing a sound check but it turned out to be Jimmy Tebeau. The soft and familiar guitar melodies beckoned the crowd outside to the dance floor like mice to the Pied Piper and caused a gentle group sing along. Tebeau’s voice had everyone swaying to the music and energizing for the big band noise that was soon to come. Jimmy played some of my favorites like “Sugar Magnolia” into “Scarlet Begonias” into “Sunshine Daydream”.
After a quick set break, the entire JGB took the stage and the venue was packed. The band opened the night with “Cats Under the Stars”, the perfect song to wake up the audience and get grooving. The two female singers were incredible with their angelic harmonies, I couldn’t get enough. Melvin Seals is a true sight to be seen on his organ, I was in awe of his powerful key playing. The music melted over the crowd and everyone rejoiced. The familiar songs played with a rock and roll, gospel flair was guaranteed salvation from whatever the outside world had brought down on you. The entire night was rejuvenating.
My favorite song of the evening was “I Saw Her Standing There” when the band slowed down the tempo and you could really feel every note, it was a great build up. The JGB ended the night with a classic “One More Saturday Night” encore that shook the venue with a funky vibe that couldn’t be stopped.
JGB with Melvin Seals will end their East Coast touring in Fairfield, CT after playing at the Brooklyn Bowl on the 26th and 27th. They are set to play a 4 night run in Denver, CO for New Year’s Eve. For more information about touring, go to their website or like them on Facebook.
Set 1 (Jimmy Solo Acoustic) : Walkin’ Blues, Jack Straw>Box of Rain, Cumberland Blues>Maggie’s Farm>Cumberland reprise, New Speedway Boogie>Other One>New Speedway Boogie>Goin’ Down the Road, Looks Like Rain>Women Are Smarter, Ripple, Sugar Magnolia>Scarlet Begonias>Sunshine Daydream
Set 2 : Cats Under the Stars>And It Stoned Me, Evageline, I’ll Take a Melody, I Saw Her Standing There, Who Was John>After Midnight
Set 3 : Stop That Train>I Want to Tell You, Sitting In Limbo>Don’t Let Go>Waiting for a Miracle, I’ll Be With Thee>Breadbox
Encore : One More Saturday Night