Review: JRAD at Brooklyn Bowl 3/9
Looking back at a JRAD show and trying to write a recap can always be a fun project, as most JRAD shows that I’ve seen (easily over 20) has a standout performer from that night. The standout performer, in this one writer’s humble opinion, from the 3/8 show was Scott Metzger, as he was given many of the lead guitar solos. When re-examining the 3/9 show, it would be hard to pick one particular member of the band that stood out, but rather a combination of the boys. However, last night, in my mind, Dave Dreiwitz on bass and Marco on keys particularly shone. And I’d say that that was a rarity for me, as I oftentimes cannot pick up on specific major moments from Dave. But he was driving the train last night, and man was that train raging!!
It is an extremely difficult task to rank any one JRAD set or show versus any others, but I would have to consider last night’s set one as quite possibly the best JRAD set that I’ve seen. It opened with two songs that lasted nearly an hour, and at times had some of us in the VIP section wondering if they might do a two- or three-song set. The show opened with a slow, subtle build into an intense Eyes Of The World jam, with Marco tearing the keys up. By the time of Metzger’s first guitar solo, everyone in the VIP section was smiling at each other ear to ear! To my memory, it had to be a 35 minute Eyes, with Joey pounding away on the drums, Marco providing some bubbly piano jams, I even think I caught a Led Zeppelin No Quarter tease and a Pink Floyd Run Like Hell tease. Tommy got into the act, with a guitar solo that achieved liftoff for the night!!
By the time the dust had settled from that epic Eyes of the World, the band was really just getting started. The funktastic jam that led into Dancing In The Streets was perhaps the funkiest 7 or 8 minutes that I’ve seen JRAD produce. The crowd was getting DOWN so hard it’s nearly impossible to even describe how much fun everyone was having. Dave Dreiwitz ripped off a bass solo that was so groovy and wild. From there, the band went into what in my opinion was the theme of the run and the weekend: The Music Never Stopped! It might’ve been me reaching for a way to connect the three shows for a coherent theme, but I heard little riffs or teases of TMNS all weekend. During this Music, Marco let loose on some tripped-out psychedelic jams on his keys, and Metzger and Dave just battling it out on rhythm and bass. I believe I heard a Mustang Sally tease in there somewhere. TMNS led into a soft and smooth Tennessee Jed, that had both moments of upbeat rage and slowed down fusion. During Tennessee Jed, Victor lowered the lights over the crowd to allow everyone to catch their breath for a moment. The fifth and final song of the first set was Next Time You See Me, with Marco taking some time on a beautiful organ jam. All the boys got in on a huge raging full-band jam to close out possibly my favorite JRAD set ever!
The second set opened with a Dead staple, Iko Iko, and Marco and Scotty battling each other for supremacy. From there, the band dipped into Black Throated Wind, which included a Jack Straw reprise/finished the version from night one. The amount of fun that the band was having on stage was infectious, and obvious to the crowd, as everyone was dancing and smiling. There wasn’t a body not moving on Friday night. They then dropped into Feel Like A Stranger, which had a dark, driving bass line provided by Dave. This version of Stranger was so super groovy, and some of the funkiest sh*t I’ve ever heard! Marco cruised in some loungy funky keys playing layered on top of some wild Tommy guitar licks. Peggy-O began with what felt like Friend Of The Deveil and opened with a super low lead-in, and was one of the few “slow” moments of the night. This particular version of Peggy-O felt like church. The six-song second set closed out with Playing In The Band, with Russo providing some phenomenal drum fills. Marco provided a dark piano solo, with Victor focusing the spotlight on him. It was a truly beautiful moment. As the band finally finished out an amazing night two, Marco jogged over to Joey and the two shared a special embrace on-stage. The band wrapped up with an It’s All Over Now encore that sounded a little like Mr. Charlie. It was an epic night indeed!!!
Photo by Dino Perrucci Photography