There’s no getting around the fact that livestream concerts are a pallid substitute for live shows. However Jackie Greene and his band made an effort to make up for the format’s shortcomings Saturday during a livestream show from the Downtown Theatre in Fairfield.
Greene’s band, including guitarist Nathan Dale, bassist Jon Cornell and drummer Fitz Harris, opened the 14-song set with “Till the Light Comes,” the title track from Greene’s 2010 album. There was a short technical holdup leading into the second song, and first Grateful Dead cover of the evening, “Bertha,” but the band was unfazed and executed the song beautifully.
The livestream included a chat feature where most listeners proclaimed their love and excitement for Greene. Some listeners complained about audio quality, with one noting that it “sounds like I’m in line for the bathroom.” Others experienced technical difficulties with their stream cutting in and out, but most found the platform worked seamlessly.
The group made an effort to keep things interesting. The backdrop on the stage featured projected images ranging from shifting kaleidoscope patterns to static leaves, and the camera crew made the show slightly more dynamic with shifting camera angles and interspersed closeups of Greene.
On the third song, “Medicine,” Greene made his first guitar switch of the evening. He then switched to a resonator guitar on the following song, “I Don’t Live in a Dream,” which he played during “Don’t Let the Devil Take Your Mind” and “Tupelo.”
On “Sugaree” (another Grateful Dead cover), Greene switched back to an electric guitar that he put to good use on an extended solo, and then immediately traded in his Danelectro for an acoustic guitar and harmonica for the blue grassy “Gone Wanderin.’” After “Walking Away,” Greene abandoned the guitar and harmonica for the keyboard to play “Shaken” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”
Jackie Greene then returned to the electric guitar for the remaining songs of the evening. Some fans seemed to become slightly disgruntled when the band played its final Grateful Dead cover of the night: “New Speedway Boogie.”
The band closed the 90-minute set with “Like a Ball and Chain” from Greene’s 2008 album, Giving Up the Ghost. While fans called for an encore in the chat, they had to make do with a five minute meet and greet with the star. Greene was charming as he answered questions about his band’s plans to tour, a creativity-dampening effect of parenthood, and the variety of tomatoes Greene plans on planting this summer.
Before signing off, Greene told fans that he can’t wait to see them in person. Judging by the flood of praise in the chat, the feeling was mutual.
Follow photographer Nathan McKinley at Instagram.com/memories.by.mckinley.