Concert Review: Furthur

The Pearl at the Palms, Oct. 1

Photo by Edison Graff

Photo by Edison Graff

The cosmic craziness that is the Deadhead scene blanketed the Palms for the first show of a sold-out two-night run at the Pearl, with dozens of fans inside and outside the casino “hoping for a miracle” to score a ticket. Grateful Dead founding members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir have used Furthur since 2009 as a vehicle to revisit their legendary band’s catalog, and the authenticity of the experience validates their fans’ fervor.

Having to substitute for Jerry Garcia is a helluva tough job, but John Kadlecik, formerly of Dead cover band Dark Star Orchestra, walked in the musical icon’s shoes without stumble, his vocal delivery and guitar tone spot-on, from the country boogie of “Bertha” to the storytelling swing of “Dupree’s Diamond Blues,” which featured a crowd-raising ragtime solo from keyboardist Jeff Chimenti on grand piano.

Although the Dead were the first band to really embrace private recordings of their shows, there was hardly a camera phone to be seen on the crowded standing-room-only floor, as fans instead embraced the moment, absorbing every note as they danced along. Following an hourlong set that included evergreens “Ramble On Rose” and “Hell in a Bucket,” and Dylan cover “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” the band broke for about 45 minutes.

Furthur returned refreshed, playing for another two hours, including without a moment’s pause for more than an hour, leading with staples “China Cat Sunflower,” “I Know You Rider” and “Truckin'” before flowing into more adventurous territory as Lesh’s meaty, unorthodox bass lines helped lead the way on “Cryptical Envelopment” and “King Solomon’s Marbles.”

In what could only be construed as Furthur’s nod to the finale of Breaking Bad, Weir gave a rich vocal turn on the Marty Robbins’ classic “El Paso” early in the show, before the band closed out the evening with Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” showing that Lesh and Weir are still living in the present even as they embrace their glorious past. ★★★★☆

Full set list

  • “New Minglewood Blues”
  • “Dupree’s Diamond Blues”
  • “El Paso”
  • “Ramble On Rose”
  • “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”
  • “Catfish John”
  • “Bertha”
  • “Hell In A Bucket”


  • “China Cat Sunflower”
  • “I Know You Rider”
  • “Truckin'”
  • “Deal”
  • “Cryptical Envelopment”
  • “The Other One”
  • “The Eleven”
  • “King Solomon’s Marbles”
  • “Standing on the Moon”
  • “Casey Jones”


  • “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”

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