Furthur, led by rhythm guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil Lesh, returned to Nippertown for their second show in just four months, and unlike their appearance at SPAC this past July, there were some sparks coming from the stage this time.
Weir and Lesh have never been traditional rhythmic components of a band, but at their best they provide unexpected accents, fills, and phrasing that were and are critical to the “Grateful Dead” sense of musical improvisation. In order for Furthur to live up to their name, the other band mates have to be given opportunity and space to step up.
And step up they did; the star of the evening was drummer Joe Russo. He provided a foundation for the ballads, propelled the up-tempo numbers, but most importantly provided rhythmic direction whenever an improvised section of a song started to stumble a little.