JGB at Blockley for Headspace Magazine One Year Anniversary Party
Words: Kelly Washinger :: Photos: Steven Philips
The Jerry Garcia Band had a two night run at The Blockley on March 14th and 15th, a long awaited visit by all Dead fans and followers in Philadelphia.
On the first night, Psychadelphia opened for JGB, playing an incredible set and setting a positive and uplifting mood for the crowd by performing some Dead tunes and jamming out. For those of you who haven’t heard Psychadelphia, they are a progressive rock/jam four piece that some say sound like Phish. The members include: Adam Pasquel (percussion/vocals), Scott Coulter (keys/vocals), Kenn Mogel (guitar/vocals), and John Olsen (bass/vocals). They have a keen ability to create music without boundaries. Even though they are considered a progressive funk/rock/jam band, their music extends beyond genre boundaries and they keep their audience coming back for more with their talent for improvisation and musical surprises.
The Blockley was buzzing with excitement as Melvin Seals and JGB entered the stage for a tantalizing two set performance. The band was originally created as a side project by the late and great Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead in 1975. They have continued his legacy since his death in 1995 with members Dave Herbert (guitar/singer), Melvin Seals (Hammond B-3/keyboard), Jimmy Tebeau (bass/guitar), Pete Lavezzoll (drums), and two female vocalists.
Although the group has gone through many transformations with changing members since its creation, they have set the bar for jam bands today because of their strong emphasis on improvisation. Melvin Seals has been apart of the JGB experience for 18 years, working with Jerry Garcia who nicknamed him “Master of the Universe,” an appropriate name considering his innate talent for putting a gospel and soulful spin on any song he performs. Seals also seems to have a very intimate connection with the music he makes and the crowd, flashing smiles at people as they approached him to take pictures and making the point to gaze out into the crowd during songs. His attitude really made a powerful impact on the vibe of the show as a whole.
The band definitely showcased the legacy of Jerry Garcia and his mission to bring soulful and meaningful music to people through their performance. During their sets, they played a memorable version of “After Midnight” with an enthralling instrumental improv of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” The group also performed a wonderful Dead original, “Reuben and Cerise.” Seals jammed on his Hammond putting a very soulful spin on “Get Out of My Life,” and Herbert also chimed in with a jam on his guitar during the performance.
This show was truly a treat for Philadelphia and its Dead fans, and we hope to see JGB back around here soon!