The second day of the 2022 Skull and Roses Festival dawned bright and sunny. By mid-afternoon, the festival grounds swelled with a much larger crowd than the first day, with many day-trippers arriving for the first time. The temperature soared into the mid-'80s, a near-record for the day, but luckily a stiff breeze from the ocean cooled things off in the late afternoon. Kitesurfers began to replace the small army of surfers who had dominated surfers' point earlier in the day. Wetsuits could be seen hanging in the sun all around the campgrounds.
The Los Angeles-based band Jerry’s Middle Finger had the crowd dancing to JGB cover songs in the afternoon sun. Lead vocalist and guitarist Garrett Deloian did his best to channel the spirit of Jerry Garcia, much to the delight of the colorfully dressed crowd. Drummer Rodney Newman kept a funky beat. The band also featured two backing vocalists, Halina Janusz and Lisa Maltsberger, and veteran pianist Jon Gold. The group tore through a 75-minute set of JGB covers with a sprinkling of related covers thrown in. These included Bob Dylan, Jimmy Cliff, The Band, and Aretha Franklin songs. The swelling crowd danced their approval in the hot sun.
The revolving stage turned to reveal Pink Talking Fish in a nearly seamless musical transition in the late afternoon. The band took the audience in a new musical direction with a fusion of the music of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish. The current band features Eric Gould on bass, Richard James on keyboards, Zack Burwick on drums, and Cal Kehoe on guitar. The band’s fusion of the well-known tunes captured the rapt attention of the ever-growing audience in a searing 75-minute set.
The revolving stage turned again just after 6 pm in the evening to reveal one of the most original performers of the festival Jackie Greene. The veteran performer is a master chameleon of American rock music. He is often compared to Bob Dylan but with an eloquent singing voice. In addition, he looks right at home with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. He also plays keyboards, but his quiver of electric guitars brings out the true brilliance of his musicianship. As the 41-year-old prolific singer-songwriter approaches middle age, it is astounding to look back at his vast catalog of music and musical credits amassed in the last 22 years. From bluesy roots rock to his psychedelic jam band work with Phil Lesh and friends, the huge scope of his material allows Greene to offer up an incredible performance. Backed up by a band of veteran musicians, the bright-eyed singer tore through a 75-minute set of mostly original material. From acoustic guitar and harmonica to searing electric guitar battles with his bandmates, the master musician exhibited his fantastic array of skills. Beginning with his iconic song “Shaken,” Greene did a set featuring his keyboard skills. Then, alternating effortlessly from electric piano to organ, he led the band through some of his most thought-provoking tunes. The vast crowd composed almost entirely of Deadheads warmly embraced the set by the masterful songwriter from Salinas.
The first break in the day's music came, allowing for the setup of a marathon double set by Dark Star Orchestra. Music fans wandered the festival grounds during the break, enjoying the festive atmosphere. Well-known Grateful Dead documentarian, Jay Blakesberg had an exhibit of some of his most iconic photos of the band. Blakesberg could be seen all about the festival interacting with music fans and performers alike. There was also a popular tent exhibit called the DUSTY STRINGS exhibit featuring ten stage-played GRATEFUL DEAD Guitars together for the very first time.
As evening fell, Dark Star Orchestra took the stage for the first of two much-anticipated sets. The concert was a tribute and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Grateful Dead Europe ‘72 Wembley Empire Pool show from London, England, which took place 50 years to the day. One of the crowd's favorites of the entire festival, the band performed the first hour set flawlessly bathed in a psychedelic light show. Then, after a 30-minute break, the group returned for a two-hour marathon set to complete the tribute. The performance so fired up the audience that many joined the late-night drum circle to continue dancing until the 3 am curfew.