The Ranch Concert Hall & Saloon, Fort Myers, FL March 24th 2022 Review by Joel Shover
Have you ever woken up to your morning coffee while reading the news and saw that you missed a great concert? Well, if you were not one of the lucky fans at The Ranch Concert Hall & Saloon in beautiful Fort Myers, FL on Thursday night you missed on hell of a show!
The Garcia Project, the nation’s top touring tribute to The Jerry Garcia Band. Formed in the Lake George region of upstate New York with the intention of recreating actual Jerry Garcia Band concerts note for note and feel for feel. If you have ever been lucky enough to see The Jerry Garcia Band then, when you see The Garcia Project, these are the flashbacks you want to have!
Truly a solid band led by Mik Bondy and his fine-tuned equipment right to the recreation of Jerry’s actual guitar amps. Mik’s guitars were built identically to Garcia’s iconic “Tiger” and his Travis Bean guitars. The guitars are only a small piece of the puzzle, vocals are an important factor as well. Kat Walkerson offers her charismatic style and soul filled voice to this project and it its welcomed as she can sing all eras of the Garcia band from the seventies right into the Breadbox 90’s.
The late John Kahn was a driving force behind The Jerry Garcia Band with his theory, jazz style bass playing and thankfully Dan F Crea was listening, and he took that along with the bass style of Phil Lesh and added that to his knowledge and you have one very talented bass player with a heavy background in music. Jack Betzen was on the Yamaha drum kit taking on the role of the late Ron Tutt for the project as Jason Engleson mastered the keys for the evening.
Tonight, is my first time seeing The Garcia Project, oddly 28 years to the day from when I met Jerry Garcia for the first time in Long Island, NY. The band started off as “Acoustically Speaking” for a short opening set that included hits like “Althea” and “Friend of The Devil.” The full band took the stage with Smokey Robinson’s “Second That Emotion” from there the crowd was spinning and dancing to a lengthy first set that include songs like JJ Cale’s” After Midnight” and Jesse Stone’s “Don’t let go” and my personal favorite “Who Was John” written by Mitchell’s Christian Singers.
The Second set started off with a rocking “Sugaree” written by the late Robert Hunter and included other hits as well including “Catfish John” written by Bob McDill and Allen Reynolds. “Knocking on Heavens Door” written by Bob Dylan. The fun thing about the show is you do not know the one they are recreating until the end.
Tonight’s show was from Hempstead, New York at the great Calderone Theater on March 30th 1976. Now that you are finished with your coffee, get dressed and started heading to Florida because there are four more chances to see The Garcia Project in the sunshine state before they head back to New York.
See The Garcia project even if you have never seen Jerry Garcia himself, as these guys, and girl, will transform you to a place and time to enjoy the music that Jerry left us. If you get confused listen to the music play. Go See Live Music.
Till The Next Show…. Joel
“Babe it Ain’t No Lie”
“New Speedway Boogie”
“Friend of The Devil”
“Second that Emotion”
“They Love Each Other”
“Mission in The Rain”
“Who was John”
“Sitting Here in Limbo”
“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”
“Don’t Let Go”
“Tore Up Over You”
“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”
“A Strange Man”
“Sisters & Brothers”
“How Sweet it is”
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