Date: Friday May 13th 2016
The first show at Bethel Woods (at least the first for us!) of 2016 fell on a particularly wet evening (the rain fell hard and cold as we arrived) Thankfully Rusted Root were not playing an outdoor show but in the warm, welcoming and cozy atmosphere of the Events gallery at Bethel Woods. The Events gallery is an intimate part of Bethel Woods, located just across from the museum (another must-visit location).
The first thing that became apparent when we got inside the gallery and warmed up with a libation was that this was not a sold out show, it wasn’t a nearly sold out show, it wasn’t even an almost, nearly kind of sold out show (you get the picture). Yes, attendance was poor, but it mattered not, as a decent enough number of Rusted Root fans made their way out to see them, regardless of the weather.
The lights dimmed and the crowd that were scattered around the room made their way closer to the stage as the band themselves approached the stage casually strolling through the crowd. Lead singer Michael Glabicki strapped on his acoustic guitar, tipped his cowboy hat to the audience, and off they went.
They started off with “Martyr” and the jamming seemed to go on forever. Admittedly, I am not typically a fan of the “jam-band” but I do appreciate good music and good musicianship and this was definitely that. With that said though, the energy just did not seem to be there with Rusted Root tonight. They played slower versions of their songs and I couldn’t help feel that they were calling it in to a degree. From the energy (or lack of) of the performance to the lack of between song banter; they just didn’t seem like they were particularly happy to be there. The energy levels DID pick up considerably when the band went into a cover version of the David Bowie hit “Rebel Rebel,” it was a pretty safe bet to say everyone in the room recognized it straight away and loved it.
This was the 2nd cover of the night, earlier in the evening they also covered the Elvis classic “Suspicious Minds” which got the crowd moving.
Not surprisingly, they saved their big hit “Send Me On My Way” for the last song before they came back for an encore. This song is a hit for a good reason, it’s an excellent tune, and very catchy to boot! That definitely pleased the crowd who all sang (and danced) along for the duration. They took a short break and came back and played another 2 songs before wrapping it up with “Back to The Earth.”
Overall, it was a fairly okay-ish show, it definitely could have used a shot in the arm. I’d be willing to see them again, maybe it was just an off night for them, i’m sure they’ll get to the “root” of their issue and will come back re-energized next time.