The Mickey Hart Band is currently on tour in support of their new album, Mysterium Tremendum, which was released on April 10. The band’s most recent effort is an interesting mix of cosmic sound waves from around our galaxy and Robert Hunter poetry. Most people know Mickey as half of the Grateful Dead’s drum section, but here he has put together a great new band, with Dave Schools, from Widespread Panic on bass; Tim Hockenberry, from Trans-Siberian Orchestra, on vocals, keys and trombone; Crystal Monee Hall on vocals; Ian Herman on drums; Ben Yonas on keys; guitarist Gawain Matthews; and Sikiru Adepoju on percussion.
The show started off with the familiar drum beat of Buddy Holly’s, Not Fade Away, which featured the rich vocals of Crystal Monee Hall. This segued into Let There Be Light, from the new album and an appropriate couple of tunes to start out the show considering history with the Grateful Dead and the cosmic, solar theme. Also, it’s how God started things off in the beginning of the book of Genesis, when he proclaimed, “Let There Be Light!” Djinn Djinn, a slow, chanting song with a tribal feel followed, also from Mysterium Tremendum, then the Motown standard, Papa Was a Rolling Stone. Next up was an all-time favorite Grateful Dead song, Franklin’s Tower, with its well-known chorus, “Roll Away the Dew.” Rounding out the first set were two more new songs, Time Never Ends and Who Stole the Show.
Introducing the second set, Mickey explained that the sounds he was using were developed by converting light waves from various celestial bodies into sound waves. The first song of this set was called Heartbeat of the Sun and actually used sounds derived from our Sun. This song was followed by a new tune, written by Mickey and Robert Hunter called Slow Joe Rain. While the first set was heavy on Crystal Hall’s vocals, the second set was really showing off Tim Hockenberry’s. Tim has a great voice, gritty and resonating. Progressing through a short instrumental called Train, they moved into the Dead’s Fire on the Mountain. Originally written by Mickey and Robert Hunter, it appeared on the Grateful Dead’s Shakedown Street album. Next was Supersonic Vision into The Other One, showcasing Dave School’s bass. This moved into another Mickey/Robert Hunter song called Cut the Deck, which is one of my favorites from the new album. The set wrapped up with the Dead’s Bertha. For the encore, we were treated to Brokedown Palace, which the Grateful Dead often closed their shows with.
The show was really fun! It was great to see some old Grateful Dead tunes performed and the new songs from Mysterium Tremendum were cool. They were spacey enough to get everyone dancing, but not too spacey to lose focus. The Granada was full of old Deadheads, which made me feel right at home.