July 17

God Street Wine Ends Run on High Note

I woke up this morning wondering if what I’d experienced over the last two weeks was real or just a dream like the eighth season of Dallas. Just as quickly as the God Street Wine reunion came, it’s over – for now – as the NYC-based quintet finished the four show run with a scorcher at Irving Plaza this past Saturday evening. These four shows were the rare case of reality living up to the lofty expectations thrust upon this reunion after nine long years of silence from the GSW camp.

[All pictures by Mike Wren]

Friday’s lack of jams was remedied by an improv-filled first set featuring lengthy versions of Driving West, Hellfire and Imogene which showed off the band’s impressive non-verbal communication that comes from playing hundreds of shows together during the ’90s. While last weekend’s minor-key Hellfire jam was on the dark and dirty side, the Irving version went the other direction: a major-key round of improv filled with light and beautiful melodies – a butter jam if you will. Both guitarists got equal time to shine during this most memorable jam of the run. The tight rhythm section of Dan Pifer (bass) and Tom “Tomo” Osander (drums) propelled their band mates to glory in the Hellfire jam like offensive linemen clearing the way for the star running backs.

Irving Plaza, NYC
July 17, 2010

Set One: Nightingale, Driving West, Better than You, Hellfire, The Ballroom -> 6:15, Feather, Straight Line, Imogene

Set Two: Good Dream, Snake Eyes, Princess Henrietta, Strange as it Seems, Tina’s Town -> Cheap Utah Blues -> Deep Drag, Diana, Borderline

Encore1: Ticket to Ride, Sweet Little Angel

Encore2: Other Shore -> Into The Sea

Seven sets into the action God Street Wine were still dusting off old songs they hadn’t played yet. Lots of lines hit home in the reggae-tinged Ballroom including “the dancing on the floor has begun,” “so many years have gone by since I looked into your eyes” and “I feel so old” – all of which received huge applause from the attentive crowd. Two of the first-time in ’10 tunes on this night were Feather and Diana off the quintet’s self-titled 1997 release. Feather, an anthemic rocker, was equal parts Tom Petty and Black Crowes and stood out on a night filled with stand outs. Diana also had that rootsy sound typical of songs on the self-titled LP and shined thanks to gorgeous harmonies, Jon Bevo’s electric piano work and Maxwell’s slide work.

When listening to some of GSW’s later material like Diana and Feather and comparing it to the early material such as the prog workout Deep Drag, it was crazy to hear how much the group’s sound had changed in just about seven years. You can only imagine how many different phases of evolution the band’s music would’ve gone through had the original lineup been able to stick together through the ’00s. Yet, this weekend wasn’t about focusing on what might’ve been and was more about enjoying what was.

READ ON for more on God Street Wine at Irving Plaza…

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