I have to admit I had not seen Melvin Seals since the last Garcia band tour back in the fall of '93, so this was way over due, although I don't know how regularly they tour the Northeast.
This was the first time I had been to the Warehouse, it is the old spagetti factory in the Parkville section of Hartford.The place inside was exposed wood beams and all brick so it was quite nice inside.
They opened the doors late, maybe 70 people were waiting to get in.
They had a mini shakedown inside the place with two tour vendors and one local guy. Lots of silver jewelry and hoodies, the kids love those hoodies. The opening band the Desolation Angles seemed to be a crowd favorite and they played mostly originals, with a heavy Phish influence, but did a moving version of Cortez the Killer.
I heard this band has a loyal following and many young tour heads/wookies were among the crowd, which swelled up to over 500 by the time the show started. I have to say this crowd loved to dance and there were plenty of women, young and old, who were also there so that was cool and refreshing.
They opened with a groovy Expressway to your Heart, with the two older ladies singing the lead.The band just built up the energy and Stu started to play some cool stuff, he was alittle low in the mix at this point, but it was a nice start. Melvin sounded really good and the bass player was hot.
Next Stu sang a ballad, maybe an original, about twilight and a soldier father/son thing. A little mellow, and patriotic, but he seemed to enjoy playing it.
Then Melvin sang a rousing " That is What Love Will Make You Do" He was quite good singing it and the crowd loved singing as well. it really got the place jumping. Stu stated playing louder at this point and that was perfect. Melvin played some wailing solos on.I ended up walking right up front and got some great shots.
Next up was a personal favorite, " Mississippi Moon" This was were the set really took off. I mean Stu handled the vocals really strong and this song just blew the roof off. Stu played some sweet solos and again Melvin raged on his rig.
Then they started " Dear Prudence" and this was easily the best song of the night so far, a classic Jerry interpretation, unlike the Furthur arrangement in Utica, so I was in heaven.
The band raged on this one and Stu! Man this guy can deliver the goods, he just wailed. I was right up front and hearing him just from his Fender stage amp, which sounded sweet.
Melvin was way into as well and the back up singers didn't even sing the chorus because everyone in the crowd just took over lol.
Then a rousing " Lonesome and a Long Way Home" , I only heard Jerry play this one once, actually in Hartford as well back in '89, man they were living it right now. This tune is so much fun and the place was jumping big time. Stu again did a excellent job on vocals and played some smokin' leads.
Set ended at this point.
Set II opened up with " There Ain't No Bread in the Breadbox" which was very high energy and warmly received, and sadly quite appropriate for our times, Stu and the ladies did a nice job on the vocals.
They followed with well played " Run for the Roses" then followed up with a scorching "Mystery Train" with Stu just being relentless and the bass player smoked on this one too.
I might be missing the next one, but I think it was "Don't Let Go" , which was fully extended and even got alittle jazzy at points, Stu played some sweet stuff in it, they brought it back around and then played " Sisters and Brothers" which always gets every one in sync and then it was getting late but a nice surprise to end the set with a great " Let's Spend the Nite Together" with a extended jam, Stu can swing with chords as well.
When they ended it was like 1:52 am and I thought they might not be able to squeeze in an encore, but the drummer was like we can do it and they can back and played a rollicking " Midnight Moonlight", played at the lightning fast tempo, which was a perfect end to a great night of music.
I would highly recommend seeking them out and this guy Stu is the real thing.
Some another general observations.
These kids have to work on their manners, they just plow through the crowd slamming into you with out even a hint of grace or a heads up or sorry man..not cool.
Also if you take pictures turn off your flash, man when you can get this close you don't need it and it is obnoxious for the band.
As for the bathroom, it was frakin' disgusting before the start of the second set man if you don't know how to shit and piss there is no hope for us.
That What Love Makes You Do
Let's Spend the Nite
Nice review Ted. Wish I had made it up there
melvin is the king. the warehouse is in a great old hartford nabe. i hope they both stay around