Matt Kelly - harmonica, guitar, vocals; Robbie Hoddinott - lead guitar; Bob Weir - rhythm guitar, vocals; Dave Torbert - bass, vocals; Chris Herold - drums
Kingfish had taken the place of the Grateful Dead as the premier jam band in the Bay Area after the Dead announced their touring retirement in 1974. The Dead, of course, was far from retired, but it did give singer/guitarist Bob Weir a chance to stretch out his musical chops with another band.
This show opens with the Elvis standard, "Mystery Train," which segues into "Mule Skinner Blues" and "Good-Bye Yer Honor." There are a number of other musical highlights, including the up-tempo "Juke," "Hypnotize," and the soulful, "All I Need Is Time." "Jump Back" and "New Minglewood Blues" lead into a remake of "I Hear You Knockin'" (a 1950s New Orleans classic, made famous in 1971 by Dave Edmunds). The group also does a fun version of the Johnny Horton classic, "The Battle Of New Orleans."
Weir takes center stage on an old Gospel song, "Bye And Bye," which is recreated here in a reggae format. He also sings the country jug-blues track "New Minglewood Blues," which can be found on the very first Grateful Dead LP. He then closes out the set by singing Chuck Berry's "Around and Around" and his solo hit, "One More Saturday Night."
Even though the band included Weir, the band already had a record deal before he came on board, and had a fair amount of pedigree with bassist Dave Torbert (from the New Riders of The Purple Sage) and Matthew Kelly, who had been playing ocassionally with both the Dead and NRPS. However, when Weir joined in late 1974 (after the touring "retirement" of the Grateful Dead), it began to look like Kingfish was just his backing band for a solo project. Although it was Weir's Dead association that brought the big crowds, in the end it caused the band to fall apart.
Kingfish would last for a few more tours before breaking up. Weir would go on to form Bobby & the Midnites with jazz drummer Billy Cobham, and he would also return full time to his gig with the Grateful Dead.