Jackie Greene Returns to the Stage for His First Socially Distanced Live Fan Filled Concert Series | JamBandsOnline.com

Jackie Greene Returns to the Stage for His First Socially Distanced Live Fan Filled Concert Series

April 9, 2021

Photos and Review by Linda Tulett

Jackie Greene Band, Sunday, April 4, 2021

Rescheduled from November 2020, Jackie Greene and Nathan Dale hit the stage at the Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Ballroom for his first (and theirs) live concert since the 2020 shutdown. Originally scheduled for his 40th birthday in late November 2020 (Happy Birthday Quarter Jackie!), the shows had been rescheduled for January and then rescheduled again for three SOLD OUT shows on April 2-4, 2021. The first two nights would bring back the Acoustic Duo, Jackie performing with long-time Jackie Greene Band guitarist Nathan Dale, while the final night of the three-night run would add Jeremy Plog on bass and Bruce Spencer on drums. 

I must first commend the Crystal Bay Casino and the incredible for handling the events with fine organization, keeping safety first, and always showing a smile. Tickets were sold in pods of two and four; all ticket holders in your group were provided an entry time in order to stagger the guest arrival and seating – 7:00, 7:15, 7:30 and 7:45 for a prompt 8:00 pm show start. Before entering, attendees were asked questions such as if they had exhibited certain symptoms, had been in contact with anyone with symptoms or known to be ill, or if they were awaiting the results of a recent test. Next, all quest temperatures were taken, and everyone given a greene, whoops, I mean green dot to show they were approved for entry. 

Nathan Dale and Jackie Greene, Friday, April 2, 2021

Seats were placed 6 feet apart and all guests had to remain in their pod with masks on. No pod mingling! I get it, they don’t want to be responsible. Dancing was not only approved but highly encouraged, as long as you danced in front of your seat and kept the isles clear. The bar was open for anyone who wanted to belly-up for a drink and promptly return to their seat, and the Crown Room also had wait staff circling the floor ensuring no one was left parched. Continuing with safety even after the shows ended, the staff escorted everyone out from the back to the front to prevent mingling and crowds. 

The anticipation on Thursday was palpable. Greeneheads gathered early to get in line, not sure what the process would be, what the venue set up would look like, or how seating would be arranged. The first night’s entry process took a bit longer than the second two, but for a first run, it all went along smoothly. As we entered, we were greeted with a warm smile and handed a long-stemmed rose before being taken to our selection of empty pods. Flowers lined the stage each night, roses and carnations in a rainbow of colors supported the colorful stage lights and provided a nice ambiance for the acoustic set the stage was set to offer.

Feeling the music on my skin, seeing fans all around me dancing, and having the musicians on stage in front of a crowd was pretty soul satisfying. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen live music. My last shows were actually catching Jackie Greene in February of 2020 at the Felton Music Hall, so to have these be my first live shows under the new restrictions is hopefully a sign that this shutdown is bookended and ready to be shelved. I know I felt safe, it was clear that Jackie and the CBC wanted to do this right. The music industry has taken such a hit and without each and every one of the music fans supporting musicians and venues through this bizzaro time in our lives, it wouldn’t have survived as it has (with some casualties as we’ve heard venues have made the hard decision to close doors permanently). Whether it was through a live stream donation, purchasing merch, or just sending in a thank you gift, it mattered; or maybe you helped press Congress to finally pass the Save Our Stages Act (did I say finally?), well, it worked. Without your constant support and attention, I might not be writing this article. 

Jackie Greene on stage at the Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room

So, thank you. Thank you to everyone who helped in any way, even if you just held your fingers crossed or wished upon a falling star for music to survive over the last year, thank you. Thank you to the musicians and venues, and the crews and the fans for hanging tough and for taking the leap to return to live music. I’d say, the jump was worth it.

Hitting the stage with a huge grin, Greene looked pumped and ready to go. “Oh my goodness! Look at you all! It’s so good to see you guys. It’s so good to see your beautiful eyes!” Yes, it is so good to see everyone live and in 3D. I’m sure he could see the anticipated sparkling excitement in everyone’s eyes for certain. “It’s good to see you guys. Let’s do this!” 

The three night run spanned decades of Jackie’s own music along with select covers from the Grateful Dead, Gary Davis, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen (The Boss!), The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Blind Willy Johnson, George Straight, and good ‘ole Merle Haggard. A little taste of everything gone greene I suppose. Greene also took some audience shout-outs, veering from the list of songs he’d picked for the shows (and from the handful of papers he held up, it looked like he had more than just a few ideas in mind). “We have tons of songs on here, were just gonna pick some. I kind of just figured that people were just stoked to go see music, so….” Yeah, you figured right! Play whatever you want, we’ll love every note. 

The first two nights featured Jackie and Nathan together, for a mostly acoustic sound, each show lasting just shy of two hours, clear through, no set break. (Set breaks are for babies anyway, right?) Moving from acoustic to electric to banjo to keys, and tossing in harmonica in many combinations, Jackie played a little bit of everything over the span of the shows, with Nathan steady on the main scream with his warm and sometimes haunting electric. The stage was set with Nate to the left, Jackie in the middle with two guitar selections and a table for his hot harmonicas and cold beverages, and the piano far to the right. On the third night, Jackie and Nate would make space for the rhythm section with drums behind Nate and Jeremy tucked in behind Jackie with the keyboard to his side. It’s a tight squeeze, but we’re all friends, right? 

Nathan Dale and Jackie Greene, Friday, April 2, 2021

Early in first night, the “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” was hauntingly delivered, with echoes of Nathan’s guitar behind Jackie’s voice crying out the pain of feeling loss. Ugh, I’m not crying, you’re crying. I know I’m not the only one who can say it, but 2020 sure sucked for losses – my friend’s 13-year-old son in March, a dear friend of the family in April, my Uncle and Aunt on my Dad’s side leaving him the last man standing, and the sudden ripping loss of my dearest friend’s husband as they were camping with friends and celebrating their 7 year wedding anniversary. This song hit me; every word, every note, every deep breath he took before calling out no mercy. Seriously, death don’t have no mercy; none. 2020 can suck it. Big time. 

In a moment, I was brought back to the right place in time, present in the Crown Room, next to my friend, dancing to the music that I love to hear, the music that brings both pain and joy at the same time. Covering Bob Dylan’s, “Love Minus Zero/No Limits,” “I Shall Be Released,” and selecting “Cry Yourself Dry,” and “Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right,” from deep down on his list of not so frequently played tunes, my feet were back moving me and swaying me with all the other happy creatures in the room. The Van Morrison-Grateful Dead sandwich was delicious, with “Tupelo Honey,” surrounded by a gorgeous, “Peggy-O” and a light-hearted danceable, “Bertha,” I know I wasn’t the only one who ate it up. Mentioning the plethora of covers he’s practiced over the course of this shutdown, we got a little George Strait with, “When Did You Stop Loving Me?” and the oh so cool Merle Haggard with, “Big City.” The night ended with an audience request based on Jackie’s inquiry of what would be a good upbeat song to end the night with everyone dancing. You know it, the big radio hit, “Gone Wanderin’” which will never do ya wrong. 

Night two would bring the duo back to the stage for another near two hour long set of acoustically electric music from Jackie’s repertoire, with sprinkles of covers tossed in to mix it up a bit. He included a handful of Grateful Dead tunes with, “Bertha,” “Scarlet Begonias” and “Black Muddy River” a Jerry tune I love to hear Jackie perform, one of my favorites from The Boss with “Atlantic City,” and an old Blind Willy Johnson tune, “No Body’s Fault But Mine,” for which Jackie stayed with the banjo, after a rockin, “Tupelo.” 

Jackie Greene and guitarist Nathan Dale share a happy moment on stage in the Crown Room

There was something special about night two. Maybe it’s because Jackie and Nate were all super warmed up after night one; maybe it’s because I got a huge hug before the show, unexpectedly; maybe it’s because the wife was in the house and Jackie was all pumped for his belt and hat (mentioned he’d forgotten how to pack for a show, so his wife had to make a trip up the mountain to bring provisions); or maybe it’s because it’s just Jackie and Nate and how they do what they do so well. I dunno. Night one still is my favorite, well, because it was first, and by geezus look at the set list (I mean, seriously), but there was something in the air on night two that gave that extra oomph to the energy in the room. 

Sitting at the keys for three beautifully different songs, he gave a special shout out for his wife playing, “Victim of a Crime.” From the lyrics, seems a song about sticking it out for love. He writes how maybe he ignored what was in front of him, or chased things for the wrong reason, but has realized that life is more meaningful with someone who loves you back as madly as you love them. I’m fairly certain the encore, “Prayer for Spanish Harlem,” was also for her. Y’all know. 

Jackie Greene sings, ‘Victim of a Crime’

“Never Satisfied,” brought me to tears as this song suddenly reminds me of a close friend who lost her husband suddenly and tragically. He had a thirst for life, lived it on the edge, never holding back, loving and living as if he knew his thirst would never be satisfied. Songs of a place in time, telling stories we all know for different reasons, connecting the lyrics to life and generating a soulful connection. There can even be a lighter connection, like to, “Motorhome,” played on the third night, which these days reminds me of my big sis and her hubby and their current life on wheels. 

Announced the night before, the final show of the three-fer would be all electric with the full band, putting some power and rhythm behind it all to close it out. Starting the night with the rhythmic beat of, “I’m So Gone,” the band really didn’t let up on the get up and move tunes, except for that oh so melancholy, “Moment of Temporary Color,” until we got “Uphill Mountain,” another one of those songs that just brings a smile to my heart as I remember someone in my life. 

The final night also included some covers that Greene has worked on and made his own over the years, with “New Speedway Boogie,” and “Sugaree,” from the Grateful Dead; “Loving Cup” from the Stones, and “Tomorrow Never Knows,” from The Beatles, that was sandwiched in-between Jackie’s “Animal,” a song with guitar screams and passionate lyrics that command humans wake and learn from the past. Oh man, I just got goosebumps thinking about that sandwich. I cannot forget and thank Poor Richard for showing up, for he is often absent in, “So Hard to Find My Way.” I’ve been a tad, um, cocky in the past, shouting out to Greene to not forget. This time, I kept quiet and he remembered. Yay!

Jackie Greene Band on stage Sunday, April 4, 2021

Getting to see Jackie and his mates through my computer screen each Sunday as he’s hosted his “Live from Back Stage” sessions has been nice, but it just isn’t the same. Streams can be caught on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Zoom for the fans who wish to show off their dance moves. Actually, Jackie and the CBC opted to stream all three nights for the fans who couldn’t get the coveted few tickets that the CBC could release. But this weekend, I FELT the music. It hit so powerfully, you know; your body vibrates with the sound from the speakers and suddenly, there you are, with goosebumps all over. Nathan’s guitar sounded warmer and more beautiful, the solos from Jackie and Nate were stronger and more powerful to my ears, and Jackie’s voice sounded smoother and sweeter than ever before. The keyboards, the harmonica, the banjo, the lights….. it felt so good to be in that familiar zone. To be honest, I’d fear it might not return for a long-long while yet. 

Well, it seems like maybe my fears can be subsided with the announcement of upcoming shows, both rescheduled and new. Jackie will be playing in June down in Felton, in the mountains of Roaring Camp Railroad, a rescheduled show at Sacramento’s The Sofia in September, and holding steady in October in Woodstock at The Barn. Fingers crossed. If you can’t catch any of the upcoming live and in person shows, I think he may continue his Live From Back Stage sessions on Sundays at 5:00 pm, PST. Never miss a Sunday show. 

Upcoming Jackie Greene Shows: http://www.jackiegreene.com/shows

Upcoming shows at the Crystal Bay Club: http://devildogshows.com/event-calendar/

Friday, April 2, 2021 – Jackie Greene/Nathan Dale, Acoustic Duo

Recession Proof
Honey I Been Thinking About You
Death Don’t Have No Mercy
Don’t Let the Devil Take Your Mind
Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Cry Yourself Dry
Shaken *
Grindstone *
Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right *
I Shall Be Released *
Trust Somebody *
Mexican Girl
When You’re Walking’ Away
When Did You Stop Loving Me
Big City 
Tupelo Honey
The Ballad of Sleepy John 

Encore: Gone Wanderin’

Saturday, April 3, 2021 – Jackie Greene/Nathan Dale, Acoustic Duo

I Don’t Live In a Dream
About Cell Block #9
Silver Lining
Another Love Gone Bad
Nobody’s Fault But Mine ^
Take Me Back in Time 
Atlantic City
When You Return *
Victim of the Crime *
Not Dark Yet *
Scarlet Begonias 
Black Muddy River 
Down in the Valley Woe 
Never Satisfied
Till the Light Comes

Encore: Prayer for Spanish Harlem

Sunday, April 4, 2021 – Jackie Greene Band, Electric

I’m So Gone
Modern Lives
A Moment of Temporary Color
New Speedway Boogie
Uphill Mountain
So Hard to Find My Way *
Hallelujah *
Loving Cup *
By the Side of the Road, Dressed to Kill
Animal>Tomorrow Never Knows >Animal
Spooky Tina
Like a Ball and Chain

Encore: Karma * (solo)

*Jackie on keys
^Jackie on banjo

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