Joe Russo’s Almost Dead continued its Northeast weekend trek on Saturday night in Boston, and with it came the continuation of the band’s ongoing tributes to The Band guitarist/songwriter Robbie Robertson. Saturday’s show at Leader Bank Pavilion followed the run-opening, rare acoustic show in Atlantic City where JRAD covered the Bob Dylan and The Band Basement Tapes deep cut “Yazoo Street Scandal”.
In Beantown, the Grateful Dead-inspired tribute act went a little more conventional with its Robertson tribute. Closing out the first set, emerging from a cataclysmic “Uncle John’s Band”, JRAD rode the transition into the classic “Ophelia”. Guitarist Scott Metzger handled replicating Levon Helm‘s fiery vocals on this standout from North Lights – Southern Cross, the only The Band album with every song credited to Robertson. Like The Band, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead reveals itself to be a group greater than the sum of its parts. JRAD continued its tributes to Robertson the following night in Vermont with a “The Weight” encore.
After tossing out a bevy of debuts in A.C. the night prior, JRAD stuck pretty straight to the Dead script on Saturday, touching on eras throughout the band’s career, from the country roots of Workingman’s Dead‘s “Uncle John’s Band” and “New Speedway Boogie” to jazz-inspired “Eyes Of The World” on Wake Of The Flood into the bluesy bounce of “Stagger Lee” from Shakedown Street. The group also picked Dead-adjacent tracks like Jerry Garcia solo favorites “Mission In The Rain” and Smokey Robinson‘s “I Second That Emotion”. Of course, the only way to close out a show of that magnitude was with Bob Weir‘s customary “One More Saturday Night”.
Check out photos from Joe Russo’s Almost Dead on Saturday in Boston courtesy of photographer Andrew Blackstein, full-show video by 88PhilZone, and audio from taper Cam Keough. The group is off the road until September when it regroups for a weekend run through the Midwest with service to Pittsburgh (9/8), All IN Festival in Indianapolis (9/9), and The Miracle in Mundelein in Mundelein, IL (9/10). For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit JRAD’s website.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead – Leader Bank Pavilion – Boston, MA – 8/12/23 – Full Video
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead – Leader Bank Pavilion – Boston, MA – 8/12/23 – Full Audio
Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Leader Bank Pavilion | Boston, MA | 8/12/23
Set One: Stagger Lee (Grateful Dead) > Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line (Jim Alley), Eyes Of The World (Grateful Dead), Me And My Uncle (John Phillips), Mission In The Rain (Jerry Garcia)  > Uncle John’s Band (Grateful Dead) > Ophelia (The Band)
Set Two: New Speedway Boogie (Grateful Dead)  > Crazy Fingers (Grateful Dead) > Playing In The Band (Bob Weir), I Second That Emotion (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles), Let It Grow (Grateful Dead), Stella Blue (Grateful Dead)
Encore: One More Saturday Night (Bob Weir) w/ “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” tease  w/ “Roadhouse Blues” and “ Slippery People” teases in intro
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Leader Bank Pavilion | Boston, MA | 8/12/23 | Photos: Andrew Blackstein