With no opening act needed, the Mickey Hart Band took the stage at the Jefferson Theater last Thursday to a roaring crowd. Mickey looked out, smiled, and said, “Let’s go somewhere together.” Just like that, we were off.
It was a back-to-the-music sort of feel, with very little of the smoke and mirrors associated with a lot of modern concerts. A friend turned to me at one point and said, “Thanks for bringing me and reminding me what real, good music is.”
Vocal talent Crystal Monee Hall hugely supported the instrumental jams coming from the stage. The whole performance struck a good balance between the eight musicians on display, with one rarely outshining the other.
As someone less familiar with Mickey’s solo work, I heard some fabulous new songs as well as some well-loved favorites. The second the band started playing “Friend of the Devil,” the energy in the crowd was undeniable. The songs from Mysterium Tremendum, Hart’s new album, have a great cosmic feel that comes from the blend of science and music that went into their creation.
The best part of the show was not a structured set list of well-known jam classics but the improvisational style of musicians like Mickey and bassist Dave Schools. The open communication between everyone on stage made the crowd feel as if they were a part of a special experience happening there and then. The spontaneity associated with jamming might make those who crave structure, like me, nervous. But the confidence resonating from the musicians allowed the crowd to, for a night, be as spontaneous as Mickey himself.
Mickey’s entire section of the stage was a percussionist’s dream. He looked like the leader of the band on at least two occasions when the other band members stopped playing and turned to him. He would jam and jam until the band would pick up on what song he was headed for and they would jump into it. The audience clearly couldn’t get enough of what was happening on stage. Looking straight out of Bonnaroo, the dreads and skirts were twirling and weaving and dancing in tune with the electrifying music.
The tickets invited people in for ‘An Evening With the Mickey Hart Band,’ and that description was apt. The audience spent the evening with eight talented artists, enjoying their own and each other’s music, while inviting those below to take a journey with them.