McDonald Theatre

Hot Tuna is not just a concert but also an event.  Folks can categorize their music as Blues, Folk, Psychedelic, Americana, or Blues Rock and they would all be right. I have been fortunate to have been listening to Hot Tuna since I was a youth. I have seen Jorma and Jack play electric, acoustic, and with the Jefferson Airplane reunion. They have been part of the soundtrack of so many friends’ lives as well as mine.

Veteran midwestern rockers, Umphrey’s McGee returned to Eugene (Ore.) for the first time in five years and unleashed a torrent of heavy, metallic, guitar-driven jams on a packed, Friday night crowd at the McDonald Theater. Combining a taste for crunching, head-banging riffs with mind-melting prog-rock fusion, Umphrey’s are an intriguing musical complexity.

Progressive bluegrass pioneers, the Infamous Stringdusters rolled into Eugene (Ore.), January 20, and lit-up the McDonald Theater with a typically brilliant performance. This fire-breathing, five-piece combo’s relentless determination to Dust damn near every town in the country has honed their live show into one of the most reliably “hot” tickets on the thriving jam-band circuit. Every set is a high-flying adventure.

Iconic architects of San Francisco’s celebrated psychedelic sound, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, brought their enduring roots-infused mélange, Hot Tuna, to Eugene’s (Ore.) McDonald Theater on Sept. 1st and suitably verified their vaunted rock-and-roll credentials. Though not as widely known as their seminal 60’s group Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna have been playing searing, head-spinning shows for nearly five decades.

East-coast jam masters, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead brought their inventive interpretation of Grateful Dead music to a sold-out, typically relaxed but receptive crowd at Eugene’s (Ore.) McDonald Theater, August 11. Many locals were getting their first look at the heavily hyped combo from New York.

Dark Star Orchestra came “high-stepping” into Eugene (Ore.) last Monday night and fulfilled their bold promise to “continue the Grateful Dead concert experience” which is no easy feat. A substantial, multi-generational crowd of familiar faces gathered to glow wild and celebrate the reawakening.

The Nashville-based Wood Brothers fashioned an alternatively raucous and introspective set last month (1/29) at the McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR), displaying both their folksy, acoustic-blues roots and some expansive new growth. 

The Infamous Stringdusters put the spurs to their spring tour with a fret-blazing, shape-shifting show featuring special guest Keller Williams at Eugene’s McDonald Theatre (March 5th).   The ‘Dusters delivered a convincing account of their distinctive “high country” sound while Williams complimented nicely, both with an impressive opening set and later, playing alongside the headliners.  The pairing made for an entertaining combination of Nashville polish and free-spirited, festival charm.

The Wood Brothers brought their traveling, musical tent show to Eugene’s McDonald Theatre (Jan. 21) and held a genuine revival meeting, awakening the yearning spirits of the devout, as well as the newly converted.

“Do your work, but do your thing,” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The String Cheese Incident concluded a two-night stand at Eugene’s McDonald Theatre (Jan. 19), leaving little doubt about whether they had done their work, but had they done their thing?

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