According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2015 is the year of the goat. In the music industry, judging by the amount of tribute concerts and reunions, 2015 is the year of the Grateful Dead.
Whether or not that’s a fact, what’s for certain is that no one guitarist can play a three-plus hour tribute to Jerry Garcia better than Steve Kimock. His first set began as a blockbuster with “Tore Up Over You,” and it never let up, closing with “Ship of Fools” and “Deal.” In between, the sold-out crowd gave a warm welcome back to “My Favorite Things” (think Sound of Music), a song in Kimock’s repertoire that he hadn’t played in quite some time.
The show was an homage to Garcia’s r&b roots and the classic Garcia/Merl Saunders recordings, but it also gave Kimock the opportunity to layer his influences on top of all that history. A monster second set opener began with “How Sweet It Is,” then blended “After Midnight” into “Eleanor Rigby,” back into “After Midnight,” and finally into “Hillbillies On PCP.” In true Kimock style- feeling music rather than playing it- the jams were blissfully long and intricate, and that four song opener made up the majority of the set.
Kimock, always one to put together an elite band (though you can never predict exactly who will comprise that band), shared the stage of this tour with long-time collaborator Bobby Vega on bass, Ratdog bandmate Jeff Chimenti on keyboards, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz on guitar, his son John Morgan Kimock on drums and former member of the Keystone-era Garcia/Saunders Band, Bill Vitt, also on drums.
The only downside of this show was the fact that, due to a sound ordinance, Kimock and his stellar band weren’t able to play an encore. After nearly four hours of a ‘never-had-such-a-good-time’ time, though, nobody at The Met was complaining. Every fan left that venue feeling more than satisfied, and if anybody needed a reminder of why Steve Kimock is one of the best living guitarists, they got it in Providence.
– Mandy Pichler
Photos by Mandy Pichler