The Sco-Mule tour closer took place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY this past Saturday. With plenty of improv and a plethora of covers, Gov’t Mule and John Scofield proved to be jam champions (jampions!??!) in their craft.
The show was packed with a Saturday night crowd, ready to let loose at the entertainment of an excited Warren Haynes. He hyped the crowd up early by chanting, “It’s so good to see you!” Judging by the reaction, the crowd was glad to see him too.
The first set had highlights-a-plenty. Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” was teased during “Unring The Bell,” marking the first hint of somebody else’s music in a night where there would be plenty of tribute to be paid. “Patchwork Quilt,” a Warren-written classic, made an appearance before the four-piece band jumped right in to “Loser,” the Hunter-Garcia classic. It was a phenomenal moment as the crowd was time-warped back to February 19, 1971 when the Grateful Dead played it in the very same room.
John Scofield joined after the Dead tribute for 48 monstrous minutes of music that would prove exactly why this jazz guitarist is a perfect fit alongside the Mule. Let it be known that Sco-Mule, the album, band name, and the tour, is a result of a two-night stint where Scofield sat in with Gov’t Mule in September of 1999. The crowd, and band alike, were enthralled to see the collaboration take place in the “Original Rock Palace.”
Second set kept the energy up by bringing Scofield out from the get-go. “Boogie Stupid,” a John Scofield original, kicked off the party before the quintet jumped in to “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” by Duke Ellington. Hearing Gov’t Mule cover a jazz legend alongside another jazz great was certainly a treat.
“Stratus,” by Billy Cobham followed before Scofield exited the stage. The feel-good moment of the show was “Soulshine,” which featured every couple in the room ironically holding each other to a song where the lyrics say, “Sometimes a man can feel this emptiness / Like a woman has robbed him of his very soul.” No one seemed to mind the irony, and it was certainly a memorable track for all in attendance.
The second set was capped off with the Van Morrison tune “Tupelo Honey” followed by Al Green’s “I’m A Ram.” Gov’t Mule didn’t play a single original during the course of the second set, but they do manage to make many of their covers their own. “Stratus,” “Soulshine,” and “I’m A Ram,” are all staples of the Mule’s shows.
John Scofield was invited back to the stage to end things properly. “Free Wing Jam” was jammed shortly before diving in to the more extensive “Freeway Jam,” originally by Jeff Beck. The five-piece band impressed with a variety of improv, lick-trading, and versatility in night 2 of their Capitol Theatre run. Sadly, it was the last show scheduled on the Sco-Mule tour, but something tells us we’ll see this collaboration take place sooner than the 16 years it took them to hook back up this time around.