Golden Gate Wingmen
Sherman Theater Stroudsburg PA
February 25 2017
by Ryan O’Malley

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Check out the full gallery of photos from this show here.

Taped by Nick Blockus

In a short time with only brief touring periods (due to availability), the Golden Gate Wingmen have become a sought after refuge for Deadheads looking for new life being breathed into the music of a legendary band. The all star lineup – guitarist John Kadlecik (Furthur, Dark Star Orchestra, Phil and Friends), bassist Reed Mathis (Billy and The Kids, Electric Beethoven), keyboardist Jeff Chimenti (Dead and Company, Fare Thee Well, RatDog, Furthur, The Dead, Phil and Friends), and drummer Jay Lane (RatDog, Furthur, Primus, Electric Beethoven) – has recently wrapped up a brief Northeast run at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, Pa. on February 25, to a solid crowd who danced and sang along for nearly three hours.

Taking the stager around 8:45, the quartet broke into the familiar jazzy opening of the Dead staple “Eyes of the World,” which proved to be the perfect opener as it set the pace for a solid first set. Following a Kadlecik led run through the bluesy “Tin Roof Shack,” Mathis took over lead vocals on the Jerry Garcia Band favorite “Rubin and Cherise.” Although Mathis handled the vocal duties just fine, if anyone has ever heard Kadlecik sing the tender number, it’s hard to fully appreciate someone else lead the band.

The spacey end of “Rubin and Cherise” meshed flawlessly into the upbeat “Scarlet Begonias,” which saw one of the most unique parts of the night. During the middle jam, Mathis – whose Electric Beethoven project has some of the most experimental music on the scene today – took the lead for a bass solo which included the use of some sort of octave control which made the bass take on a high pitched watery sound reminiscent of a regular guitar. It was something that was done numerous times throughout the evening, and something that shows the uniqueness of the outfit.

The first set highlight followed with Bob Dylan’s “Love Sick.” Mathis, a self-proclaimed Dylan enthusiast, handled the vocals on the dark, bluesy number, with Lane providing a tight groove and Chimenti with a low but effective B3 organ fill. The set then closed with a lively take on the Dead classic “U.S. Blues,” including some loud singing from the large crowd, a significant increase since the last time the outfit hit the Sherman Theater last year.

After a short break, the second set kicked off with the funky “Shakedown Street.” Sticking true to reinterpreting the music, rather than have the Mutron silence guitar countdown to the opening chord, the four piece locked in and hit the familiar note without giving the crowd a clue as to what was coming. It was something small, but defines the approach of Golden Gate Wingmen. It’s songs that you are familiar with, but not the standard run through them. Sometimes the improvisation is so far off course that you forget what song they were in, and almost seems to cause the band members themselves to lose track of what’s next. When it looks like they’re about to fall apart, they bring it right back together like nothing happened.

And it works.

In another homage to Bob Dylan, Mathis mentioned that the 2007 movie “I’m Not There” – a Dylan biopic where numerous actors and actresses play Dylan – introduced him to a never released Dylan track that quickly became Mathis’ favorite, a shuffling “Keep it With Mine.” After the number, Mathis pointed out that the performance might have been one of “like five times that’s ever been performed.” In a way, it’s a fun experience to hear one of Dylan’s unreleased older tracks finally start to see the light of day in 2017.

Easily the longest segment of the night occurred with a 26 minute run through the 1977 Dead opus “Terrapin Station,” which found the ending jam morph into a frenzied jazz/swing adventure. Wrapping up the second set was a Mathis led “Estimated Prophet.” It’s a song Mathis has become accustomed to leading through his involvement with Billy and The Kids, and the Sherman Theater version proved how comfortable he is with the material. The song also featured some of the best guitar from Kadlecik, a staple among the Dead community through his involvement with founding Dead tribute act Dark Star Orchestra, and his founding of Furthur, a now-defunct band featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh.

With the show being the last of their brief run, many thought a “Ripple” or “Brokedown Palace” was coming for the encore, but in once again proving the unpredictability of Golden Gate Wingmen, a thumping “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” a final tribute to Dylan, brought the evening to a close. As most of their set that evening, and the other three shows of the tour proved, the Golden Gate Wingmen are doing more with the music of the Grateful Dead than most other acts of the current jam scene. While all four members may be busy with various other projects, hopefully they will find the time to continue this still new project, as it is a welcome addition to the modern Dead community.

Eyes of the World
Tin Roof Shack
Rubin and Cherise
Scarlet Begonias
Love Sick
U.S. Blues
Shakedown Street
Sister Smiles
I’ll Keep It With Mine
Lady With a Fan
Terrapin Station
Rising Sun
Estimated Prophet
When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob Dylan)

From the Philadelphia show a few days before this night, from the video channel of LiquidSilverStream

Check out the full gallery of photos from this show here.

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