Elvis Costello Joins Furthur for Band’s Final New York Blowout.
He fronts the band on classics like 'Tennessee Jed' and 'Friend of the Devil
Rolling Stone : By Patrick Doyle March 28, 2011
When Furthur hit the stage for their third consecutive headlining show
at Radio City Music Hall last night (and their eighth show in New York
City this month), surprises were expected. But it's safe to say everyone
was shocked when, after two songs, Elvis Costello sprinted out wearing a
navy checkerboard suit, silver hat and thick-rimmed glasses strapped on
an acoustic guitar and fronted the band on a stomping, joyous rendition
of "Tennessee Jed," trading verses with guest guitarist Larry Campbell
in front of vintage psychedelic visuals. Afterwards, he waved to the
crowd, appearing he was leaving the stage, but simply took a sip of
water and headed back to the mic, where he stayed for the majority of
the first set.
Costello and the Dead may sound like a weird pairing, but
they have some history; Costello and Jerry Garcia sang country songs
together at a 1989 show in Mill Valley, California. Last night, Costello
easily adapted to the band's loose sensibilities. He delivered an
uplifting "Friend of the Devil" and then turned into a balladeer on a
13-minute jam of 1973’s "Ship of Fools," which shifted into the boozy
sing-along "It Must Have Been the Roses," with Larry Campbell adding
soaring fiddle – and then seamlessly moved back to "Ship of Fools."
Costello covered the two songs acoustically on 2000’s Stolen Roses
tribute disc, but hearing him belt over Lesh and Weir’s wall-of-sound
sounded otherworldly. Costello capped the set duetting with wife Diana
Krall on a gorgeous "Ripple."
The 10-song set two was performed without Costello, and included
impassioned performances of "St. Stephen," "UncleJohn’s Band" and
"Morning Dew," delivered excellently by guitarist John Kadlecik. Weir
and Lesh have been playing some of the songs for four decades, but it
was amazing how aggressively they are still willing to break the mold of
the studio recordings. For the encore, about three hours after first
emerging, Costello emerged with Krall and sang the blues classic
"Fever," Costello jabbing screeching high notes out of his black Les
Paul next to Weir. To close out the night, they invited Teresa Williams
out and all harmonized American Beauty’s prayer "Attics of my Life."