The recently reopened Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York might be best known for all the legendary performances that took place in the room in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, but last night more history was made at the famed venue as members of the Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Phish and Grace Potter came together with The Roots to usher in a new era for The Cap at a benefit for HeadCount. For many in the room it was was their first visit to The Cap, which reopened on Tuesday with a performance from Bob Dylan, and it was hard not to be struck by the amazing renovation that brought the venue back to life. Impresario Peter Shapiro and his team put years worth of planning and construction into the historic venue which has left the area with a gem of a venue that features an arena-sized light rig, a state-of-the-art sound system and an unbelievable array of projectors.
[via RMikeW on Instagram]
The action started with a solo acoustic set from Grateful Dead / Furthur guitarist Bob Weir. Weir is in the midst of his second-ever solo tour and seemed comfortable on the stage as he delivered one Dead classic after another. After a few years when Bobby seemed to scream rather than sing, Weir’s voice currently sounds as good as it has since Jerry passed. Following a cover of Dear Prudence, Weir welcomed Warren Haynes, Grace Potter and Bobby Keys out as the evening’s first guests. Grace told the crowd she had never sang a Dead song before and that she wasn’t familiar with the tune they were about to play, Bird Song, and it showed. Potter scatted, be-bopped and wailed, leaving a texture behind the gorgeous version of Bird Song Warren and the Bobby’s laid down. Warren, Weir and Grace then combined forces for Jack Straw, a song Potter seemed to know, with Bobby and Haynes trading verses. Keys came back out for a raucous Jailhouse Rock.
Set 1 (Bob Weir, solo acoustic): The Music Never Stopped -> Me & My Uncle -> Friend of the Devil, Loose Lucy, Lost Sailor -> Saint of Circumstance, Peggy-O, Easy to Slip -> Dear Prudence, Bird Song*, Jack Straw**, Jailhouse Rock*
Warren Haynes and Grace Potter: Wild Horses, Gold Dust Woman
Set 2 (The Roots): Paul Revere, Proceed, The Fire, Quills, Swept Away, Next Movement, Dynamite, Mellow My Man, Break You Off, You Got Me, Get Busy, Thought @ Work, How I Got Over
Encore (All Star Jam): First Tube^, Bathtub Gin^, Pigtail&, Dancing in the Street@, Thrill is Gone@, Whipping Post@
*w/ Warren Haynes, Grace Potter, and Bobby Keys
** w/ Warren Haynes and Grace Potter
^ The Roots with Trey Anastasio
& The Roots, Trey Anastasio, and Grace Potter
@ The Roots, Trey Anastasio, Grace Potter, Bob Weir, Warren Haynes, and Bobby Keys
At the end of Jailhouse Rock Warren asked the crowd to give Weir a big hand and Bobby left Haynes, Potter and Keys on stage for a beautiful take on The Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses. As an example of the sheer awesomeness of The Cap’s projection system, images of psychedelic horses were painted on the venue’s walls during the Stones cover. The finale of the opening set found Warren and Grace teaming up for a scintillating cover of Gold Dust Woman off Fleetwood Mac’s famed Rumors album. The pair have been covering this song for over four years, with a particularly impressive version thrown down at the 2008 Jammy’s, and their familiarity showed.
After a relatively short intermission the curtain came up on The Roots who opened with Paul Revere – their tribute to the late Adam Yauch and Chuck Brown. Fallon’s house band showed off just how tight they’ve become over a power-packed hour set that saw them play The Fire from 2010′s How I Got Over, You Got Me and The Next Movement from 1999′s Things Fall Apart and Get Busy from 2008′s Rising Down, along with quick takes on Sweet Child of Mine and Born Under A Bad Sign. Each member of the ensemble was given time in the spotlight and there’s no doubt this band won itself a slew of new fans last night.
Once front man Black Thought said good night to the crowd and The Roots vacated the stage, an army of stagehands emerged to set up what would be a historic encore set. Black Thought invited Phish front man Trey Anastasio out and first up for the pairing was a romp through First Tube. This Phish/TAB original was right in The Roots’ wheelhouse and was the most suggested tune Phish fans offered up in response to yesterday’s YEMblog Friday Conversation. Questo pounded as Big Red wailed away to a massive peak. Bathtub Gin was up next and wasn’t quite as tight as First Tube. Once the ensemble reached Anastasio’s solo, The Roots provided a funk-heavy beat which Trey impressively soloed over. Then, Trey welcomed his “homegirl” Grace Potter to the stage and the duo talked about their Burlington roots. Big Red told the crowd they’d be playing a relatively new tune called Pigtail and off they went on the tune from Anastasio’s forthcoming Traveler LP.
[Photo by Jen Bernstein]
Next came the true “world’s colliding” moment when Weir, Keys and Haynes emerged leaving a member of Phish, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers and The Rolling Stones onstage together backed by The Roots. First up was Dancing In The Streets which featured five guitarists (The Roots’ Captain Kirk Douglas, Potter, Anastasio, Weir and Haynes). Anastasio made sure to get his licks in during this “guitarmeggedon” version of a tune the Dead graced the same stage with back in 1970. Then, the whole gang stayed out for the blues standard The Thrill Is Gone with Warren taking vocal duties. For the first time during this encore set, Black Thought emerged and offered a few raps in between all the solos. For the finale, all the players besides Potter remained out for a blistering Whipping Post, complete with Questlove crushing the drum parts. Trey took the first solo and delivered one blistering lick after another before giving way to Keys who showed off his immense talent on sax. Douglas and Haynes shared vocal duties on the Allman Brothers Band classic, with Warren using his solo to weave the melody of My Favorite Things into the mix. Black Thought introduced all the players and wished Capitol Theatre chief Peter Shapiro a happy birthday.
All in all, this outstanding “encore” won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Kudos to The Roots for nailing the majority of these tunes they never played before. As the crowd filed out of the building, looks of astonishment were on the faces of many who exchanged knowing glances. For the last few months the talk has been about The Capitol Theatre’s past, but with shows like last night the talk now turns to the present, the future and what appears to be a fantastic new chapter in the history of the legendary venue.
The Roots w/ Trey Anastasio – First Tube
The Roots w/ Trey, Grace, and Bobbys – Dancing In The Streets
The Roots w/ Trey Anastasio – Bathtub Gin
Bob Weir w/ Grace Potter, Bobby Keys and Warren Haynes – Jailhouse Rock
Grace Potter w/ Warren Haynes and Bobby Keys – Wild Horses
The Roots w/ Grace, Trey, Bobby, Bobby and Warren – Whipping Post
The Roots w/ Grace, Trey, Bobby, Bobby and Warren – Thrill Is Gone
The Roots w/ Trey and Grace – Pigtail