Live Dead 69′ Performing ‘Skull and Roses 71’

Saturday 3rd February 2018

Under The Bridge, London, United Kingdom

Photo Supplied By Venue

Back in London for two nights at Under The Bridge, the Live Dead ensemble led by one-time Grateful Dead keyboard genius Tom Constanten, the group is featuring different album programmes over the Friday and Saturday nights.

It would be hard to pick a better or more able crew to do justice to the compositions and version choices of the legendary San Francisco free-thinking outfit. Tom’s keyboards sparkle throughout the set and these day she bears a striking facial resemblance to Joe Walsh …or maybe it’s the other way around? The UK/Europe touring rhythm section is Tony Morley on the bass, nimbly running up the neck for occasional emphasis plus tough-but-agile drummer Richard Newman who plays like Tony with Jefferson Starship and Paul Rodgers and also Rhino’s Revenge, the Quo spin-off trio. The core of the Live Dead though is the remarkable Stratocaster pairing of JS axeman Slick Aguilar and Ratdog’s Mark Karan. Newcomers are justifiably astounded at the way these two excellent guitarist play off each other, weave, harmonise and generally wring the dynamics out of their instruments. The duo also sing well, individually and together, creating a classic West Coast fresh-air vocal blend that so suits the breezy country-rock outings and the darker blues-soaked forays. And the rock’n’roll songs all in the flowing and heady mix tonight…

The crystal-clear UTB sound set-up and graphic facilities are used well, as projections of Jerry and Pigpen light up the backstage. Every word of every selection is clear. The screens throughout the venue give closer views of solo’s and vocal outings.

The set included ‘Bertha’, Playing In The Band’ the killer driving track ‘Me and My Uncle’, ‘Turn On Your Love Light’ and the cool ‘Friend of The Devil’.

Earlier a folky set by singer Auburn plus her guitarist, bassist and backing vocals provided a jaunty interlude before the headliners, leaving room for the Live Dead’s over-two-hours show and time to head home, with those wonderful guitar melodies running through heads.

Pete Sargeant


(Many thanks to Grace and Joe; kudos to Tom and associates)

Photo Supplied By Venue

Live Dead 69'