I got the email Thursday at 3pm. Freaks Ball at the Brooklyn Bowl..Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds (I was sold right there), Marco Benevento, Joe Russo, Scott Metzger..and, just announced, Eric Krasno and Warren Haynes. Sick. I was so sold. Zoomed home, bought tics. Then I texted my buddies change of plans..and then I threw my Umphrey’s Tics up for sale on stubhub. Done. I was so psyched.
This was the 12th annual Freak’s ball, and for the first time, was expanded into a two day affair. Friday’s show was more focused on indie music and Saturday was the jammy nyc musicians. As I was not there..heres an excerpt from jambands.com, 1/23/12: “Like most of their recent shows, the group dotted their setlist with a mix of covers ranging from David Bowie’s “All the Young Dudes” to The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” (the latter song was particularly memorable since James passed away earlier in the day). Given the setting, Portugal. the Man played a particularly loose and groovy set; they also invited the members of Morning Teleportation—who are in New York working on an album—out to sit in on keyboards and percussion at various points during their show.” Definitely a cool start to the weekend, if Umphrey’s wasnt in town, I would have been there.
Saturday night was the heavy hitter’s..esp for the nyc metro area. It kicked off with guitarist Scott Metzger(RANA), drummer Joe Russo of Furthur, Keyboardist Eric Deutsch(Fat Mama, Charlie Hunter) and Hagar Ben-Ari (Dap Kings). The lineup got things rippin with a boogie style, instrumental set…Neil YOung’s “Dont Let it Bring You Down”, the Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” and the Beatles “Day Tripper.”
This was just a warmup as things got really hot and heavy for the second set. The big boys took the stage..Joe Russo returned, with Marco Benevento, bassist Ron Johnson (Warren Hayne’s Band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe) and guitarist Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds.) Rising soul singer Alecia Chakour got things rolling with a sexy rendition of the Freak’s Ball song..and then Eddie got the band fuckin’ rippin with a sick New Mastersounds tune. Eric Krasno joined and kept things going really strong. He was a huge element and kept the beats strong and tight.
This turned out to be a particularly awesome set..even though so many were greatly awaiting Mr. Haynes to approach the stage…”Becky”, “Mephisto” and “Scratchitti” were all impressive originals, thrown in with some covers such as Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”, The Beatles “Something” and Grant Green’s “Ain’t it Funky Now.” Love it. Awesome set. We danced hard for another hour and were in full jam mode. What a delight.
Warren Haynes approaches and the fans go wild. He has a presence here..a strong one. And, still, so graciously thanked everyone for the invitation, in that humble, but strong way, that he does things. He said he “hope he qualified for the night.” But we all found this funny and knew it was not egotistical. Warren did it like he does, with that deep resonating sound. We were lucky enough to hear “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love”, “D’Yer Maker”, “Fire on the Mountain” and the late great James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” The finisher was with the whole entire ensemble playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” A final finish was appropriately done with Shel Silverstein’s “Freaking at the Freaker’s Ball.” Perfect. One Helluva night. A sweet last minute treat for all who attended.