Old & In THe Grey

The jaunt to Burlington, from Montreal was a particularly short drive since I was looking forward to hearing a group of formidable musicians gathered for a special concert at the magnificent Flynn Theatre. Yes, "Old & in the Grey" reformed for an impromptu two hour gig yesterday. These old-timers played with more passion and soul then musicians a third of their age.  The respect for o­ne another was evident backstage and o­n stage. With their roots tightly wound around the blue grass genre, Old & in the Gray reunited David Grisman (mandolin/vocals), Peter Rowan (guitar/vocals), Vassar Clements (fiddle/vocals) and introduces Banjo picker and vocalist Herb Pedersen and Bryn Bright o­n upright bass; there job was to attempt to fill the huge void left by Jerry Garcia and John Kahn, who sadly left us too soon. An eclectic blend of folks packed the house for this sold out musical feast.  Most of the older folks sat in the first 15 rows and balcony; they listened intently as the ethereal sounds soothed them; the remainder of the crowd consisted of dead heads, granola heads and various other heads that were into a joyous musical meeting.  The high-lights of the show included: A "Pig in a Pen," opener.   Then the Quintet played "Wild Horses," for the broken legged head of All Points Booking, Jay. Another Rolling Stones tune would emerge later in the show in the form of "Honky Tonk Women." "Mule Skinner Blues" followed "Wild Horses". Grisman announced that o­ne of Jerry Garcia's favorite country bands were "The New Country Gentlemen,"…" they were the creators of New-Grass."  The tight Quintet chugged into an up-tempo version of "Two Little Boys."   As the show progressed the jams and solos became more open and experimental.  "Rainmaker" led into Vassar Clements' memorable "Lonesome Fiddle Blues" a short bass solo wove itself into the song. The gaps between songs were apparent, probably because "there isn't o­ne electronic tuner up here," Grisman proclaimed. As a matter of fact the stage was bare, with o­nly four monitors, the musicians and their instruments.  A rollicking "Old and in the Way" went into several solos and extended jams and finally wound into "Land of the Navajo." Peter Rowan's "The High Lonesome Sound" signaled the eventual end of the show.  Backstage, after the show the band felt inspired and even considered future shows, let's keep our fingers crossed. Old & in the Grey ranks as my favorite concert of the year (yes I know it's o­nly March), musical events don't get much better than this.

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