Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review: 7 Walkers @ Revolution Hall, Troy, NY 5-27-10

It's the last show ever at Revolution Hall in Troy, NY, and what a way to end the venue's seven year run with a performance by legendary Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann's new band, 7 Walkers.

It seems like any other night in the popular venue that has played host to some of the most diverse musical lineups in the Capital Region in recent years. That is until word of the venue's closing in order to turn the two-level concert space into a banquet hall becomes a harsh truth to those of us who were not sure what to think of the rumor earlier in the night. But if you are going to close a venue, who better to have than a member of the Grateful Dead, a band that had closed down some of music's most legendary concert halls including the Fillmore and Winterland, on hand to supply the patrons with a memorable last show.

Heads slowly roll in as The McLovins, a trio of teenage virtuosos, close their show with a high-energy performance of the Grateful Dead's legendary Disco tune, Shakedown Street. It's hard to believe as the kids exit the stage that they hardly old enough to drive a car but can rock out harder than most band's that have been doing it for decades.

The beer flows like a BP oil spill, dumping into my stomach and polluting my brain as I wait for the band to take the stage. Before I know it they are finishing off their opening jam and launching into the Pig Pen psychedelic-blues classic"Mister Charlie," before fading into the beautiful, yet tormented, Garcia/Hunter song, "Wharf Rat." 

"Half of my life / I spent doin' time for some other fucker's crime / Other half found me stumbling around
drunk on burgundy wine." The small crowd roars!

The remainder of the first set is made up of traditional blues jams, including a self-titled song off the band's soon to be released album, featuring new lyrics by legendary Dead-lyricist Robert Hunter. With such a great mixture of eclectic tunes, the highlight of the first set, and the night for that matter, was Papa Mali's jazzed-up rendition of "Death Don't Have No Mercy." The song, which helped solidify the Dead as a musical force in the 1960s, was transformed into a jazz-number on this night, complete with a trombone solo by keyboardist Matt Hubbard.

After a quick "smoke" break, we head back inside to a second set that is another great mix of Louisiana blues with songs like "New Orleans Crawl," including another original, "Angelina" - a slow ballad in classic Hunter form. The remainder of the set consisted of high-energy Dead classics - "The Deal" "Sugaree" "Bertha" - including the Pig Pen famed rant "Turn on Your Love Light."

My body is weary as the band exits the stage only to return and perform one of the Dead's best dance numbers "Going Down the Road feeling Bad." The first encore was not satisfactory enough for the Heads who knew this would most likely not be the last time they would see the 7 Walkers, but knew it would be their final show at Rev Hall. The band trickled back on stage to the excitement of the rambunctious crowd, closing with "Gone to the Dog" before saying good-bye to the venue with "We Bid You Good Night" - a song the Dead would perform on nights when they were too tired to play anymore, which was good because I was too tired to move another bone.

"Lay down my dear brothers, lay down and take your rest / Oh won't you lay your head upon your savior's breast / I love you, oh but Jesus loves you the best / And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight"

Goodnight Rev Hall! Thanks for all the good times! 

Set list:

Set 1
Jam
Mr. Charlie
Wharf Rat
Junco Partner
Death Don’t Have No Mercy
7 Walkers
I Know You Rider
Bottle Up and Go

Set 2
Honey child
New Orleans Crawl
The Deal
Angelina
Sugaree
Bertha
Turn on Your Lovelight

Encore 1
Going Down The Road Feeling Bad

Encore 2
Gone to the Dog
We Bid You Goodnight

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