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  • Rich Kassirer

Concert Review: Jackie Greene at the Paradise, 10-9-10

Jackie Greene
Jackie Greene

“You guys are so rad. I’d forgotten just how rad you guys are!”

That’s what Jackie Greene told the pumped-up crowd at the Paradise last weekend. His last visit, in February, must have made as good an impression on him as it did us. Greene, for those who have not heard of him, flat out rocks. He is an amazing guitar player who can also play the keys, the harmonica and I’m guessing a bunch of instruments we haven’t seen him play.  He’s got a soulful, strong voice and a bunch of really thoughtful songs. He can rock, he can play acoustically, oh yeah, and he’s played with members of the Grateful Dead, so he’s got a following there as well.

  On this night he opened with an acoustic set featuring just him and his fellow guitar player. After opening with darkly confessional  “I Don’t Live in a Dream” he asked the crowd for requests. As he tuned his guitar, enthusiastic shout-outs from the crowd had him chuckling and saying “yeah, we can do that,” and initiated his “rad” statement. Among the requests honored was a Merle Haggard-inflected “Mama Tried” and his oldest song “Georgia.” He also performed a beautiful “Spanish Harlem,” the Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” and dug deep for the set ending “Gone Wondering.”

  A 15-minute break was enough time to catch your breath before the blistering electric set. Now sporting his full band, Greene opened with “I’m So Gone,” “Medicine” and “A Moment of Temporary Color,” the latter two from his new album, “Till the Light Comes.” His own funky version of the Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” got the crowd juiced for what was to follow.   He asked if anyone knew who’s birthday it was today… but the crowd was way ahead of him, shouting out John Lennon songs he should play. A touching “Don’t Let Me Down” was the perfect choice, a great crowd singalong and a great guitar solo. (See my video below).   After that, he returned to earth with his tunes “Shaken” and “Shaky Ground” and then back to the stratosphere with his own “Hollywood” bleeding into the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” full of swirling feedback, and an out-and-out rocking “Taxman,” something we heard him do the last time he was in Boston. He finished up with the Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias” to the thrill of the crowd and encored with his fan-favorite “Ball and Chain.”

This is the third time I’ve seen Jackie Greene live and he seems to gain confidence and has become more comfortable as a lead performer each time I see him. If you get a chance to take in his show, I highly recommend you check him out.

One more note: This was my first time in the newly refurbished Paradise. Any worries that it would lose any of its gritty club atmosphere was quickly dispelled. It has been slightly reconfigured to make more room in front of the stage, but other than that it really is same great space.

THE SETLIST Set One (acoustic): I Don’t Live In A Dream Judgement Day Mama Tried Don’t Let The Devil Take Your Mind Another Love Gone Bad Friend of the Devil Prayer For Spanish Harlem Georgia One Bad Love Gone Wanderin’

Set Two (electric): I’m So Gone Medicine A Moment Of Temporary Color New Speedway Boogie Don’t Let Me Down Shaky Ground Shaken Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right Hollywood > Tomorrow Never Knows > Taxman Scarlet Begonias —– Like A Ball And Chain

To download the entire set, click HERE

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