Dead On Live Revives
Classic Era Dead at the bergenPAC
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Fifty years after the founding of the jam band scene the Grateful Dead and their music still lives on in various incarnations. One includes Dead On Live a group known for note for note recreations of the Grateful Dead's recordings. On September 18, 2015 at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey Dead On Live presented Dead classics from the early 1970's.


Dead On Live recreates classic era Dead at the bergenPAC in 2015.

Dead On Live is multi-instrumentalist, touring and recording veteran, Marc Muller (Shania Twain, Tommy Shaw, Bruce Springsteen) with a cast of world class musicians featuring Zen Trickster and Bob Weir "Ace" Tom Circosta, Keith clone John Pittas, and Paul Avrutin in the Phil Zone. Dead On Live's debut at the bergenPAC featured favorites from Scull and Roses, Jerry's solo record Garcia, Weir's Ace album along with highlights from Europe 72. Since Dead On Live were performing songs from live recordings they were able to add experimental elements to their interpretations.

"Welcome to Englewood, New Jersey-1971," greeted Marc. The stage set up was simple with lighting adding to the overall mood of the music. On this occasion there was only one drummer as was the case with the Grateful Dead when Mickey Hart left the band from 1971 through 1974. Dead On Live opened with a solid version of "Bertha" followed by the country flavored "Mama Tried" with extra jamming woven into "Me and My Uncle".


Multi-instrumentalist Marc Muller leads Dead On Live in their Bergen County debut.

Sandy Mack a musician from Asbury Park, New Jersey stepped in for the role of "Pigpen" to handle the bluesy harmonica and vocals needed for "Big Boss Man". We traveled down to the docks for a dark meandering "Wharf Rat" countered by an energetic and expansive "Playing in the Band". By this point lots of folks were "shaking their bones" to the good grooves of Dead On Live. We too got caught up in the moments glad to escape into the early 1970's for a night.

"This is so much fun, thanks for coming," enthused Muller. He shared that "I could not have guessed that back in 1971 when I was listening to these records that I would be playing this music with my daughter" who was on stage Friday night singing the Donna parts. Marc mentioned that Garcia played most of the instruments on Jerry's first solo record which was a good lead into a rousing "Deal" and the reflective "Bird Song". Next the drum solo showcased varied rolls and rhythms before the band returned for a winsome "The Wheel" to finish up the first set followed by a short break.

"Welcome to 1972," declared Marc as they moved into "He's Gone" and the classic "Jack Straw". "China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider" were crisp, clean, fun and dare we say flawless. Its interesting hearing Dead cover bands who do their best to present the music in the brightest light when even the Grateful Dead themselves could run the gamut from stellar to sloppy as they played numerous live shows over the course of their lengthy career. Dead On Live were Dead on.


Scenes from the Dead On Live concert at the bergenPAC.

Dead On Live presented more memorable moments from Europe 72 with a point on "Ramble on Rose". They closed on high with vibrant versions of "Tennessee Jed", "Cassidy" and "One More Saturday Night". Since some of these tunes were from live records Dead On Live was able to take some liberties with the songs. The encore featured "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad" and appropriately "We Bid You Goodnight". If you missed Dead On Live at the begenPAC they are returning to New Jersey on October 30, 2015 to present an orchestrated Terrapin Station. Based on what we saw on Friday night their Halloween Eve show will be an eventful evening sure to raise The Dead.

The bergenPAC located in the heart of Englewood's downtown hosts children events, plays and concerts such as Dead On Live. In addition they have a gallery that spotlights local artists. Upcoming events at the bergenPAC include Tommy Emmanuel, Dave Mason, Neil Berg, Art Rocks, The Wiggles and Laugh All Night.


More scenes from the Dead On Live concert at the bergenPAC.

Related Links: For more information on DEAD ON LIVE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Dead On Live | Bergen PAC

(Originally Published on September 20, 2015)

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