Review by Richard Brody
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
The shouts of “Jorma!” that came from the near-capacity crowd were an indication that there were few, if any, first time Hot Tuna fans in The Egg’s Hart Theatre. Accompanying Jorma Kaukonen and co-founding bass man Jack Casady was frequent Tuna member mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff, as well as a trio of the band’s Woodstock family – drummer Justin Guip, vocalist Teresa Williams and her husband/string master Larry Campbell on fiddle, pedal steel and guitar.
The band kicked off the show with one of their staples, Kaukonen’s “True Religion,” that was highlighted by Mitterhoff’s sweet mandolin solo and Campbell’s shimmering slide guitar that brought the song to its conclusion.
Hot Tuna has always been about the country blues that howl about the sins of Saturday night and the gospel-flavored songs that ask for forgiveness in church on Sunday morning. Casady strutted, pogoed and drove the band on Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied.” His bass anchored and pushed both Kaukonen’s vocals and the guitar solos from Kaukonen and Campbell. As fine a guitarist as Kaukonen is, his voice would not fit in a church choir. Enter Williams, who brought the “amen” to Reverend Gary Davis’ “Children of Zion” that included great supporting solos from Mitterhoff’s mandolin, Kaukonen’s guitar and Campbell’s slide. They stayed in church for the next number, a roof-raising rendition of “Wade in the Water” that was once again led by Williams’ powerhouse vocals.