Thousands made their way up the steep, hilly slopes of Montage Mountain in Scranton, Penn., from Aug. 13 – Aug. 16, for four days of water slides, ziplines, and live music at the fourth annual Peach Music Festival.
Since it was founded by the Allman Brothers Band in 2012, the Peach Music Festival has gotten bigger and better, with a growing line-up of musical acts and more than six different waterpark attractions, including a wave pool and a lazy river.
After pitching their tents in the hot summer sun, festival-goers rushed down to the Main Stage to catch two sets of Dark Star Orchestra. Unlike other cover bands, DSO has continued to re-create some of the most beloved Grateful Dead performances from their over 30-year history; and with a repertoire of more than 36,000 songs, DSO can really take their pick.
In a previous interview, Jeff Mattson, lead guitarist and vocalist with DSO, said that while they recreate past Grateful Dead sets, they do not play the same exact show note for note.
“We’re still improvising in real time,” Mattson said in an previous interview with LongIslandWeekly.com.
Mattson, a Long Island resident, said he first saw the Grateful Dead as a teenager in 1973 at Nassau Coliseum, and fell in love with how different everything was from the recordings.
“Jerry Garcia so influenced my life for so many years,” Mattson said. “It was like going to school for me… I was completely enamoured with his guitar playing.”
Despite the absence of the band’s keyboard player Rob Barraco, Mookie Siegel from New Riders of the Purple Sage would sit-in to perform the Grateful Dead’s April 27, 1977 performance at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, N.J.
Starting strong with “The Promised Land,” the set drifted into a fan-favorite, “Mississippi Halfstep Uptown Toodloo.” Following a beautiful rendition of “Sugaree” the band drifted into a sweet and sultry performance of “Row Jimmy.” The set ended with a rocking rendition of “The Music Never Stopped” that had the entire amphitheatre on it’s toes.
In the second set, DSO treated Deadheads to a rendition of “Scarlet Begonias” that transitioned into “Fire on the Mountain” and finished with a transition into “Good Lovin’.” Throwing in a version of “Not Fade Away” and “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad” as filler, the set ended with Jerry Garcia’s classic “Morning Dew” and a cover of Chuck Berry’s classic “Johnny B. Goode” as the encore.
Set I: Promised Land, Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodloo, Looks Like Rain, Sugaree, El Paso, Row Jimmy, New Minglewood Blues, Loser, The Music Never Stopped
Set II: Estimated Prophet, Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain>Good Lovin’, Ramble on Rose, Sampson & Delilah, Terrapin Station, Morning Dew
E: Johnny B. Goode, Not Fade Away, GDTRFB
Dancing and smiling the crowd shuffled over to the Mushroom Stage for an after-hours performance by Connecticut jazz funk group Deep Banana Blackout.
Day two really got cooking when Blues Traveler took the stage. Playing a variety of 90s chart-toppers, including a cover of Radiohead’s classic “Creep” and the Blues Traveler’s own hits “Run Around” and “…But Anyway,” the band put on an incredible performance.
Proving to still be relevant all these years later, lead singer/harmonica player John Popper plugged the band’s recently released album Blow Up The Moon with a few new tracks including one tune entitled “Hurricane.”
And things really got crazy when they brought out former Allman Bros. guitarist and Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes to perform the song “The Mountains Win Again,” a song that Popper said, “is and always was for Bobby,” referring to the band’s founding member and bassist Bobby Sheehan.
Over on the main stage, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead were just setting up. On the surface the aptly named Grateful Dead cover band sounds like one would expect it to, but at it’s core JRAD is a pseudo-jam band super group consisting of a range of different musicians, each from different backgrounds, who come together on stage and genuinely have a good time playing.
Set I: Jam, Lazy Lightning, Jam, Bertha, Viola Lee Blues, Let It Grow, Uncle John’s Band, Greatest Story Ever Told
Meanwhile, Twiddle was just wrapping up their performance on the Mushroom stage. The Vermont-based quartet are an all-around “feel good” jam rock group that enjoy exploring musical genres live on stage through lead guitarist/vocalist Mihali Savoulidis‘ thought-provoking lyrics and the modern synth/keyboard sound of pianist Ryan Dempsey.
The jam rock foursome would later bring John Popper of Blues Traveler back out to perform harmonica on their track “Lost in he Cold” and Adrian Tramontano from Kung Fu to play drums on their track “Apples.”
Set I: Polluted Beauty, Lost in the Cold feat. John Popper, Beehop, Apples feat. Adrian Tramontano, D’Yer Maker [Led Zeppelin cover], Carter Candlestick, Syncopated Healing
Over on the Grove Stage—which provided a much more intimate setting between the crowd and the band—electro-funk group Pigeons Playing Ping-Pong were having a grand ol’ time, bobbing their heads back-and-forth in unison as they strummed their guitars and jumped up and down.
After an incredible set from jamtronic outfit Papadosio, which included a beautiful performance of their tune “the Direction Song,” it was finally time for the first headline act… the Gregg Allman Band.
What would a Peach festival be without the Allman Bros. Band? After performing an incredible set, the lone Allman was joined onstage by bandmates Warren Haynes and “Jaimoe” Johanson for the encore, “One Way Out.”
Gregg Allman Set I: Statesboro Blues [Blind Willie McTell Cover], I’m No Angel, Hot ‘Lanta, Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday is Just As Bad), Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’, I Can’t Be Satisfied feat. Jack Pearson, Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More, Melissa, Jam, Don’t Want You No More, It’s Not My Cross To Bear, Midnight Rider, Love Like Kerosene, Whipping Post
E: One Way Out feat. Warren Haynes and Jaimoe Johanson
For the late-night act, the Australian Pink Floyd had everyone singing as they covered some of the classic Floyd favorites including, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Time,” “Another Brick In the Wall (Part II),” “Comfortably Numb” among others.
At one point, they had the entire crowd gasping as a giant inflatable kangaroo arose from the stage during their performance of “One of These Days.”
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