Matt Kelly - harmonica, guitar, vocals; Robbie Hoddinott - lead guitar; Bob Weir - rhythm guitar, vocals; Dave Torbert - bass, vocals; Chris Herold - drums
With great covers like show opener "Battle Of New Orleans" and a steady mix of country, rock, and blues, this classic Kingfish show is proof positive why this band was so special. Even though it included Grateful Dead singer/guitarist Bob Weir, the band already had a record deal before Weir 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, a regular in the Jerry Garcia solo shows.
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.
This show was recorded in the winter of 1976 and features a purely enjoyable mix of material. Originals like "Asia Minor" (written by Tolbert) and cool covers such as "Roadrunner," the New Orleans R&B staple, "I Hear You Knockin'," and the Chuck Berry classic, "Around & Around," Kingfish keep it hot throughout the hour-long set. Weir takes the lead vocals on an old Gospel song, "Bye And Bye," which is recreated 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.
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.