Joe Russo's Almost Dead | The Rooftop at Pier 17 | 7/27/2023

Article Contributed by Jamie Huenefeld | Published on Friday, August 4, 2023

One of the greatest venues in Manhattan is the seasonal Pier 17 Rooftop. Located on the water in the Financial District, this venue boasts stunning views of Midtown behind the stage. Seeing one of your favorite bands there is truly special, and that was certainly the case for New York City's own Joe Russo's Almost Dead. This all-star quintet and Grateful Dead cover band delivered two incredible sets before Mother Nature intervened.

Pier 17 Rooftop | New York, NY

The show began with partly cloudy skies and 90-degree temperatures, as the venue was shaded by the buildings in the Financial District. The band walked out onto the stage, and drummer Joe Russo thanked the crowd, as well as reminded everyone to keep drinking water. The show started with an energized "Playing in the Band," that got the crowd dancing early. The improvisation rolled on with "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo," followed by "The Music Never Stopped."

Joe Russo | Joe Russo's Almost Dead

Guitarist Tom Hamilton contributed soulful vocals to fiery "Bertha," as well as some tasty guitar licks. Bob Dylan's "Tell Me Momma" proceeded. The set ended on a high note with "Scarlet Begonias" > "Touch of Grey." Clouds were blissfully transitioning through the sky as the sun set behind the skyscrapers. Unbeknownst to the fans, the weather was beginning to go south.

Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Pier 17 Rooftop

Set two brought more surprises as well as deep jams, starting with Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle." Guitarist Scott Metzger sang this classic blues funk tune. The melodic "Here Comes Sunshine" was up next, and clocked in at sixteen minutes. The psychedelic jam raced into a monster "Throwing Stones," which also went along with a nineteen-minute jam. Bassist Dave Dreiwitz held down the bass thumping for this face-melting sequence, along with Russo's on-point drumming.

Pier 17 Rooftop | New York, NY

A mellow "Wharf Rat" followed, and provided a much-needed chill moment. The jam built as the band slowly moved into a raging "Truckin'." The song turned into a singalong for the crowd, as they enjoyed this rendition. A layered jam ensued during "St. Stephen," as Hamilton unleashed his fury on the electric guitar.

Fans loved the show | Joe Russo's Almost Dead

JRAD then surprised the crowd with Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1 - 4)," last played on December 3, 2022, in Chicago, Il. They tapped friend and frequent collaborator Stuart Bogie to play the saxophone. The song began as the skies darkened, and Bogie appeared as almost a silhouette off to the side. He added a distinctively jazzy element to this classic rock tune.

Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Pier 17 Rooftop

The skies continued to darken as the band rolled into "Not Fade Away." Part of the way through the tune, the music stopped, and the venue instructed all persons to exit immediately. The weather had hit a breaking point, and everyone had to go. "Weirdest end to a show of all time," as summed up appropriately by Russo. However, no one left without their collective memories of this beautiful performance on top of the Pier 17 Rooftop. On the way out, we were told the encore was supposed to be "Rosalie."

Guitarist Tom Hamilton | Joe Russo's Almost Dead

Joe Russo's Almost Dead is back in action tonight at the sold-out Newport Folk Festival, and tomorrow in Hampton, NH. Hop on over to their tour page for more dates in your neck of the woods.

Check out more photos from the show!

Set One: Playing in the Band, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, The Music Never Stopped, Bertha, Tell Me Momma, Scarlet Begonias > Touch of Grey
Set Two: Hard to Handle, Here Comes Sunshine > Throwing Stones, Wharf Rat, Truckin', St. Stephen, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1 - 4), Not Fade Away

Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Pier 17 Rooftop

Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Pier 17 Rooftop

Keyboardist Marco Benevento | Joe Russo's Almost Dead