Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Stone Pony Summer Stage | 5/17/2024

Article Contributed by Jamie Huenefeld | Published on Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Stone Pony Summer Stage is back for the 2024 season and hosted Joe Russo's Almost Dead for a raging two-set heater on May 17, 2024, that featured a full set with friend and frequent collaborator, multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie. The band honored their Garden State roots, as eighty percent of the quintet are originally from New Jersey, with two tasty tunes by Bruce Springsteen along with their slate of Grateful Dead covers. The unpredictable May weather cooperated and meshed well with the ocean air, giving the fans a great outdoor show before Memorial Day weekend.

Drummer Joe Russo | Joe Russo's Almost Dead

The music began with a blues-filled "Good Morning, School Girl" by Sonny Boy Williamson, sung by guitarist Scott Metzger. The jam went deep early as the band stepped on stage ready to rock. The Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey" was up next. Guitarist Tom Hamilton experienced PA issues singing this song in the beginning, but the music went on unhinged. A stellar transition ensued into "Silvio" by Bob Dylan, and the energy continued to build as Hamilton elevated the jam. Incidentally, this was the first time "Silvio" was played in 2024.

Guitarist Tom Hamilton | Joe Russo's Almost Dead

The vibe mellowed before an incredibly smooth transition into "Fire on the Mountain." Marco Benevento uplifted the tune on the piano, and the band came together during the refrain. The band stopped for a moment to catch some air and dove back into another beautiful tune, "Eyes of the World," by the Grateful Dead. During the intro, a saxophone magically, albeit very quietly, jumped into the mix, operated by none other than Bogie. The interplay between the guitars and saxophone elevated the tune exquisitely.

Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Stone Pony Summer Stage

A jazzy transition ushered the musicians into a bumping "Dancing in the Street" by William Stevenson, Marvin Gaye, and Ivy Joe Hunter. This reminded the crowd that "all you need is music, sweet music." Bassist Dave Dreiwitz pulled the band together with a thumping bass line. A deconstructed jam followed, which slowly built into a face-melting sequence and ended the set with a bang.

Keyboardist Marco Benevento | Joe Russo's Almost Dead

After a quick break, the now-sextet returned by singing the chorus for "Dancing in the Street" before launching into a quick reprise. This flowed into "The Music Never Stopped" by the Grateful Dead. Bogie layered in the saxophone as Metzger rocked the lyrics. The band teased "St. Stephen" in the middle of the jam and skillfully returned to "The Music Never Stopped." This included multiple, complex tempo changes, all courtesy of Sir Joe Russo.

Bassist Dave Dreiwitz | Joe Russo's Almost Dead

"Help on the Way" by the Grateful Dead was up next, which gave way to a guitar-wailing "Slipknot!" The band did not come up for air and launched directly into a monster "St. Stephen." The jam took a decisively jazzy turn, flowing into a slower section before ramping up with vigor.

Multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie | Stone Pony Summer Stage

The melodic "Althea" proceeded and was played for only the second time in 2024. Benevento continued to dazzle on the keys, while Bogie added pizzazz on saxophone. The music rolled into "The Wheel." Thankfully, there was no inclement weather on this late spring evening. The jam morphed into a heated tension and release sequence, much to the delight of the crowd.

Stone Pony Summer Stage | Asbury Park, NJ

Another well-executed transition followed into "He's Gone," and there was "nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile." The euphonious jam migrated into an electric "Uncle John's Band" by the Grateful Dead. The crowd got in on the action and turned this into a joyful sing-along, ending set two on a bright note.

Guitarist Scott Metzger | Joe Russo's Almost Dead

The band returned for an encore, with Russo taking a few moments to honor his New Jersey roots and poke a little fun at Hamilton, who is from Philadelphia, PA. They showed their Jersey pride with "Rosalita" by Bruce Springsteen, who got his start many years ago at the Stone Pony. The sweet jam that followed would impress the Boss himself. JRAD was not quite done yet and quickly leapt into "Born to Run," another staple by Springsteen. Hamilton certainly impressed the Jersey crowd on vocals for these classics.

Fans loved the show | Joe Russo's Almost Dead


Joe Russo's Almost Dead consistently brings the heat in the form of wildly inventive Grateful Dead covers, and the Stone Pony show was no exception. They are one of the hottest acts in the jam scene and truly enjoy playing together as much as the crowd enjoys the music. They are back in action on May 31, 2024, in Vail, CO, at the Gerald R. Ford Music Center and June 1, 2024, at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO. Head on over to their tour page for more dates in your region.

Check out more photos from the show!

Set One: Good Morning, School Girl, Touch of Grey > Silvio > Fire on the Mountain, Eyes of the World1 > Fire on the Mountain > Dancing in the Street1
Set Two: Dancing in the Street Reprise1 > The Music Never Stopped1, Help on the Way1 > Slipknot!1 > St. Stephen1 > Althea1 > The Wheel1, He's Gone1, Uncle John's Band1
Encore: Rosalita1 (Come Out Tonight), Born to Run1
1. with Stuart Bogie

Multi-Instrumentalist Stuart Bogie | Stone Pony Summer Stage

Stone Pony Summer Stage | Asbury Park, NJ

Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Stone Pony Summer Stage

Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Stone Pony Summer Stage

Joe Russo's Almost Dead | Stone Pony Summmer Stage