Phil & Friends, Capitol Theatre, Port Chester NY, 5.31.14

Reposted from The Capitol Theatre

Written By: Meredith Berke

Photos By: Scott Harris


This past Friday night, Phil and Friends played for an almost sold out crowd, aged young and old alike, for close to three hours. There were many friendly faces in the crowd, who greeted me with smiles as I walked into the theater. I began to feel that I had “come home” to a place filled with love and acceptance, as is common with a Phil show, and I felt the stressful week fall from my shoulders as I settled in.

Phil Lesh was joined by fellow Furthur band mates John Kadlicek, guitar and Joe Russo, drums. John Medeski and John Scofield rounded out the band with special guests Ross James and Nels Cline.

Ross James came out for the first set, with upbeat Grateful Dead songs such as a rousing New Speedway Boogie, and Turn on Your Love Light. Also played was Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. It is worth noting that many people in the crowd commented that the first set felt like a typical second set. This set was high energy, filled with great jams, and Russo’s drum playing was off the hook.


Nels Cline from Wilco, joined the band for second set. They opened with Cold Rain and Snow, accentuated a fun jam with Cline leading an almost rock-a-billy kind of groove. They went into a heavy jam before going into Eyes of the World. Phil sang lead, and Cline plucked the guitar soft and sweet, technically perfect.

Scofield, Kadlicek and Cline led us next to The Wheel, where they answered each other with their guitar licks, heightening the song for the crowd. It seemed that everyone was singing along. Kadlicek sang on the next song, So Many Roads, and the trio went into a sweet harmony with each other.

Overall, Phil played steady, Medeski was on the side of the stage surrounded by his keys, piping in from the organ, and Russo is just a monster behind those drums. Cline was the lead guitarist of the night, with Scofield and Kadlicek supporting, each of them throwing down some great jams throughout the night.

They ended the second set with Help> Slip> Franklin’s where Scofield let loose and Kadlicek sang on Help. They encored with Ripple, and Phil stayed classy to the end, by introducing all the the musicians by name, and saying “Thank you for joining us.” No Phil, thank you, and can’t wait for the next run, hosted by The Cap.


Furthur Night 1, MCU Park, Brooklyn, 6.26.10

Download this show from Archive here.

Pre-show: An hour long subway ride to Coney Island from the City.  Approximately 20 stops.  Yeah, that how it goes.  Got off right on Surf Ave, one block from the boardwalk and the beach.  Nathan’s welcomed me to Brooklyn.  The venue was a ways down where I passed a band playin’ Sugaree.  I love it when deadheads are in droves, wearin’ our colors proudly.  Shakedown Street was next to the venue, but there were others near by on the other side of the street.  It has been a long time since I’ve been on a Shakedown in the city.  (Radio City and MSG don’t have lots to play in, funny enough.)  Found my friends in one of the adjacent lots and started our way in to Shakedown because it was beginning to drizzle and I was worried that I’d be cold.  (A totally unwarranted fear, by the way, since it was hot, humid, sticky and smelly.)  Found a beautiful shawl from some very kind folks and I was on my way.  We went in, we were on the field and I stayed to John K’s side.

First Set: Set 1:  China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Black Throated Wind, Muly Guly, High Time, Loose Lucy > Throwing Stones > One More Saturday Night

First Set Highlights: Jeff Chimenti kills those keys.  Good lordy lordy lord.  Right out of the gate with China Cat he played for us to be at attention.  Jeff and John Kadlecik are a great duo, they banter off each other.  Bobby was wearing his glasses, and was sans manpris.  Phil looked so happy, so wonderfully happy.  I have to admit, I didn’t know Muly Guly, but I didn’t feel too bad since my crew didn’t know that song off the top of their head (like the first 3 notes like they always do).  Loose Lucy always a fun time but I had not really felt the feeling yet.  First set was somewhat slow and what I really remember is how they actually slow down the songs to end.  After they would do a small jam they would consciously slow it down, beat by beat, until there was no more music.  I don’t like that, I want a long jam.  I guess I’m picky.  However, Throwing Stones was a foot stompin’ good ole time into One More Saturday Night. Funny, I had forgotten it was Saturday.

Set Break: Bathroom run. Seriously.  It was hot and sticky, I had gotten slimed by some sweaty wook and I was still smiling.  The sun was setting and it felt like we were all waiting for the lights to go down.  Indeed, we were waiting for the evening sky.

Second Set:  Shakedown Street > Caution (Do Not Step On Tracks) > Jack Straw > Playing In The Band > Dark Star (v1) > St. Stephen > The Eleven > Dark Star(v2)> Lady with a Fan* > Terrapin Station* > At a Siding* > Terrapin Flyer*, Donor Rap, E: Brokedown Palace

Second Set Highlights: Caution was phenomenal.  John Kadlecik on guitar wails it… shredding had taken place.  I was psyched, it felt like the boys had just kicked it up a couple of notches.  Happy to say we were in for a different speed this second set.  I danced my little ass off in that jumpy hippie jig that comes out in places where Family comes together.  Jeff Chimenti on those keys made it sparkly, he raged out on those keys, holy smokes it was like fireworks on the stage.  We were on that train and we slid right into a Jack Straw. It’s fun to watch all the men in the crowd belt it, We can share the women, we can share the wine… Explosion jam at the end with Kadlecik going off, Chimenti off the hook with the keys.  Oh yeah.

Went off in search of a drink during Playing in the Band and I have to note that the beer situation on the field was RIDICULOUS at MCU.  The vendors walking through the crowd with $7.50 Bud Lights were far and few between.  You couldn’t find the food areas, but I found out later that they were in the 1st and 3rd dugouts. Found some new friends though, in the crowd.  Love that.

Dark Star.  St. Stephen.  The Eleven.  Dark Star into the whole Terrapin Suite. Oh my good lord really?  Seriously?  Um yeah.  Wow.  I have no notes.  Nope.  Danced my frikkin butt off.  Sang every song with my new stranger friends around me.  Smiles throughout the whole venue.  The place swayed together.  It was beautiful.  I could feel everyone shining.  Phil sang it nice this time – he extended some words in it, giving it another odd beat in the beautiful oddity that Dark Star is. 

St. Stephen brought the crowd back to their hippie jigs and John plays it solid.  Phil forgets a few lines and we all sing it for him, laughing.   During the jam, I felt the Fat Man around while John was playing.  There are times when John plucks that all I can think of is Jerry’s playing.  And the memories of the days on tour, the shows I’ve seen, the shows I don’t remember.  I smile and send love to the heavens.  I miss him too.

The Eleven came up and slapped me upside my head.  Woo boy, here we go.  Jammin front intro into Bobby belting This is the Season of… What Now? What Now???? 

Terrapin is What Now…  Kenny Brooks, from Ratdog, joins the stage with sax in hand.  So sweet!  He joins in on the end of Dark Star making it into a nice little jazz ditty before they went into Terrapin.  I couldn’t recognize the top of the song because it was so jazzy and musical firework-esque on the stage but I have to say that Terrapin with a sax sounds nice.  The sax with Bobby’s voice.  Really sweet.  The back up singers brought another level to the song, with the singers and the sax.  My one and only critique of this was that it wasn’t deep enough.  Maybe I wanted to hear Phil’s bass more, maybe Kenny’s sax made it lighter.  By deep I mean where it goes so low it hits you in the gut.  It was still beautiful, it was still an amazing treat to hear the whole Terrapin Suite.

Brokedown Palace was a nice cooler.  Couples arm in arm.  Man love all around me.  We were happy, we were sticky and we were psyched for tomorrow’s show.

Yep, sorry for the shaky photo, but you get the idea

We were treated to fireworks at the end of the show, about 11:30.  I thought it would be nice to forgo the fireworks for maybe another song.  But, alas… I had to deal with the fireworks.  Not so bad.  After the crowd I was ended up getting a ride into the city so no Shakedown Street for me.  I’d get more trinkets the next night, I justified it and I went home with Terrapin in my head, and slept like a baby.

The next night’s show blew my head off.  Stay tuned!

Furthur takeaways and Future shows

My notations from conversations I have had with other people on the latest Furthur shows.

  1. The jams are too short.
  2. They seem to rush from song to song.
  3. Phil Lesh sounds great.  First night Radio City I heard a great banter between he and John, but I’ve missed seeing the red, white and blue armband.  Did I miss it?
  4. John Kadlecik is spot on.
  5. Jeff Chimenti is twinkle fingers on those keys.
  6. Bobby (even with his man-pris) still can belt.
  7. Bobby’s beard reminds some people of a cat and it’s whiskers. Continue reading

Furthur, Radio City Music Hall, Post-Script (2.24.10)

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