Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration

With Warren Haynes Wallingford, CT 2014

 

OAKDALE THEATER, WALLINGFORD, CONNECTICUT

May 15, 2014

View: 20 rows back

You could be forgiven for wondering whether Warren Haynes ever sleeps. The guitarist roams far and wide – Gov't Mule, the Allman Brothers, his own solo outfit, guesting with everyone, the mind boggles. But the thought of Haynes fronting an orchestra to play Jerry Garcia’s music was a bit of a head-scratcher, what's next, a Broadway salute? But the rave reviews of last year’s symphonic shows couldn't be ignored and he decided to revisit the concept

Suitably decked out in a black suit (no tie, let’s not push it), Haynes began with a smattering of Dark Star, then segued into Bird Song, an ode to Janis Joplin. There were times during China Cat Sunflower when crowd noise was a distraction, but Haynes didn’t need to holler to be heard on Morning Dew, given a breathtakingly beautiful arrangement.

Though back in 1995 Haynes’ star was ascending as Garcia's was fading out, having played on various projects with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, Warren is well-suited to interpret the late guitarist's music without resorting to mere pastiche. Being able to borrow Garcia’s famous “Wolf” guitar from its current owner for these shows was a nice touch and Haynes had the axe soaring on Scarlet Begonias. Haynes voice is at its best when there's an edge of darkness and desperation. And it doesn't get much darker than Days Between, made towards the tail end of Garcia’s life.

It was a bit odd for flutes to herald Uncle John’s Band, but it brought everyone up from their seats. The view of the dancing crowd from the orchestra must’ve been priceless, the smile on conductor Rich Daniel’s face could be seen twenty rows back. The show wrapped up with Haynes’ Garcia tribute, Patchwork Quilt and then segued into Ship Of Fools. One can imagine Jerry Garcia’s music presented this way fifty years from now and they’ll be dancing then too.

Published in Jambands Online