Entertainment is on the rebound in the Arkansas River Valley after the pandemic and the entertainment is top-notch. Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band (JGB) are returning to The Ivy Ballroom at the Surf Hotel in Buena Vista with a star-studded lineup this Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10 for a not-to-miss show.
Melvin Seals made a name for himself as the star keyboardist and organist in the Jerry Garcia Band for the last three decades. Originally joining the band in 1980, Seals’ Hammond B-3 organ was a tour de force that drove JGB into the rock annals as one of the greatest touring jam bands of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Originally started by Jerry Garcia, legendary guitarist and frontman of the Grateful Dead, JGB explored all of the music Garcia didn’t have time to include in his main band. Gospel, country, blistering blues, jazz, funk, and rock ‘n’ roll are only some of the genres that would grace the setlist of JGB shows over the decades.
“Jerry’s legacy just gets stronger and stronger every year. I thought it might eventually fizzle after five to six years, but man, the crowds are getting younger and I can really see that this will never die!”, Seals once remarked on the official Jerry Garcia website.
In fact, Seals’ transcendent keyboard and organ playing eventually earned him the nickname “Master of the Universe” from Garcia himself, and rightfully so.
However, Seals is not the only gifted Grateful Dead-affiliated musician that’s going to be on stage this weekend at The Ivy Ballroom. Joining Seals is legendary co-founder of Dark Star Orchestra and Furthur lead guitarist John Kadlecik.
Kadlecik is perhaps the most prolific lead guitarist to play alongside original members of the Grateful Dead beside Warren Haynes and has been playing improvisational music and touring nationally since 1980. A singer, songwriter, and extremely gifted lead guitarist, Kadlecik has all but become synonymous with the lead work and songs that Garcia (and Bob Weir) would perform live.
A recent spotlight feature in Rolling Stones Magazine takes Kadlecik down memory lane and recalls his journey from avid Grateful Dead fan in the late 1980s and early 90s to forming Dark Star Orchestra. He was eventually recruited into Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s band Furthur. Kadlecik’s ability to keep the Grateful Dead’s music relevant and fresh, while still pushing the boundaries of Garcia’s playing, is the hallmark reason he’s at the helm of JGB.
Seals and Kadlecik are also accompanied by John-Paul McLean on bass guitar and Jeremy Hoenig on drums.
Melvin Seals and JGB continue to keep the spirit of the Grateful Dead alive and well with each performance touching the magic and mystery of Garcia in ways no other band is able to. Whether and old Deadhead or a new fan, Melvin Seals and JGB at the Ivy Ballroom will take you on a long, strange trip you won’t soon forget.
Tickets are $70 for one night or $125 for both nights and can be purchased here.