With the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary year under way, there is no shortage of events taking place to celebrate the jam pioneers catalogue. Steve Kimock brough an outstanding cast of musicians with him last night to the Highline Ballroom in New York City as part of a Jerry Garcia Tribute.
The band, comprised of Bobby Vega (Zero, KVHW), Jeff Chimenti (Furthur, Ratdog), Bill Vitt (Jerry Garcia Band), Dan Lebowitz (ALO) and his John Morgan Kimock. Two generations of Kimocks on stage is a testament to the Grateful Dead’s music in itself. As a 23-year-old, I was never able to see the Grateful Dead, but my father attended quite a few shows in the 80s. John Kimock, at age 26, probably doesn’t remember seeing the Dead either, but he put every bit of passion in to his drumming.
The band kicked things off with an hour and a half first set that contained awesome renditions of “Bertha” and “Deal” sung by Lebowitz and taken to a higher level by Chimenti and Kimock’s dueling solos. Chimenti, best known for his stint in Furthur, is an extraordinary supporting player who can also take the reins on a killer solo himself. He’s the greatest co-pilot you could ask for on stage, and a true LISTENER as well as a great player. Most of the greats will tell you listening on stage is even more important than playing itself.
The first set also delivered on instrumental versions of “Help On The Way / Slipknot!” straight in to “Franklin’s Tower,” just how it appeared on Blues for Allah. While it seems Lebowitz should have really sung the latter one, the crowd filled in for him, providing choir-like vocals of the Grateful Dead favorite.
Second set balanced rarities like “Money Honey” and “Black Muddy River” with favorites like “After Midnight” > “Eleanor Rigby.” The jams were phenomenal as Steve Kimock’s Jerry Garcia Tribute was an utter blast.