Saratoga’s The Garcia Project has been regarded as an authority on the re-creation of the sounds of the Jerry Garcia Band. On Oct. 24, the band continued to celebrate their fifth anniversary at Paramount Hudson Valley in Peekskill, nearing the end of their fall tour.
Nestled close to the front of the stage rather than claiming a stake of real estate, The Garcia Project got cozy with the theater, easing into the set with “I’ll Take A Melody.” The efforts the band has put in to re-creating the performance of the Jerry Garcia Band was clear at the first note, particularly from the intonation and timbre of Mik Bondy’s guitar. To geek out on the band’s gear, check out a detailed rundown of their setups. The band’s presence was cohesive with an agility to build the performance of the songs in the same embodiment as Jerry’s band. Solos were traded between Greg Marshall (keys) and Bondy as if a conversation rather than it just being the next guy’s turn to play. Overall, the first set whetted the audience’s Garcia appetite despite being on the tame side.
On the contrary, the second set took the prize. The setbreak met a mix of conversation and praise for the authenticity of the performance, mostly from first-timers to The Garcia Project. Perhaps that was enough to re-charge the audience as plenty more were on their feet finding their own grooves during the set; although sometimes Jerry Garcia Band shows are a bit more mellow in the first set. Bondy’s guitar work was more noodley, and it was hard to tell that it wasn’t Jerry signing on “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Throughout both sets, Kat Walkerson’s backing vocals and blithe stage presence enriched the songs as a compliment to Bondy’s vocals.
Like most of The Garcia Project’s shows, this one was a re-recreation of Dec. 3, 1977 at Hartwick College. At the start of the second set, it was announced that the performance was a re-creation of a complete show but which show wouldn’t be revealed until the encore. Hinting at clues about the era of the Jerry Garcia Band based on the stage setup, it turned into a fun, curious guessing game for the audience.
The Garcia Project gave a thoroughly enjoyable performance and experience for the crowd. Though there were a few minor differences between them and the Jerry Garcia Band, inherent to any tribute band, The Garcia Project’s attention to detail on intonation and performance structure does set them apart as an authority on Jerry Garcia.
Set 1: I’ll Take A Melody, Mystery Train, Mission In The Rain, Lonesome And A Long Way From Home, Catfish John, The Way You Do The Things You Do
Set 2: Let It Rock, Harder They Come, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Don’t Let Go, Tore Up Over You
Encore: (not part of the 1977 JGB set): Ramble On Rose, Cats Under the Stars, Talking About You