Words By: Brian Lynch
Photos by: Dino Perrucci and Scott Harris
reCAP :: Phil Lesh & Friends :: 2014.04.12
Apr 14 / Monday
Phil Lesh and his friends had set the bar very high with the previous outstanding seven shows on this run at The Cap. It seemed the run kept building and building getting better with each show. It was hard pressed to find anyone that did not share this view. The configuration of Jackie Greene, Bill Evans, Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, John Kadlecik and Phil seemed to just gel together so tightly like a band that had been together for years. Expectations were high and they were certainly met on Saturday night.
The Wheel opened the show just a couple of minutes after 8PM. This left some Shakedowners scrambling to get inside quickly. Jackie played some smooth slide guitar and there was a very spacey jam out of The Wheel that included a tease of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club track by George Harrison “Within Without You”. The crowd immediately got into serious dance mode when Deal was played as Jackie and John traded solos directly into a Bill Evans solo. The show was heating up.
Easy Wind had Jackie again on slide and then playing some tasty harp. Pigpen was in the room in spirit. There was a very funky groove as Bill did the first solo and then Marco, John and Jackie all took turns soloing. John sang a very authentic Althea while Jackie played his Gibson Les Paul. Marco played a terrific piano solo that built to a climax with the band all pushing it forward.
Jackie Greene played his blue Gibson SG on his song Prayer For Spanish Harlem. The lyrics are a hope for an afterlife where we can be together as kings. The John Barlow/Brent Mydland penned Just a Little Light was expressed with the instantly recognizable tones in the composition. John did Brent proud with his vocal delivery.
Not Fade Away closed the first set with Bill delivering a soaring solo. The audience clapped and sang long after the musicians finished the tune. The Grateful Dead movie space pinball cartoon was again projected on the walls during set break much to the audience's delight.
The band came out and went into Scarlet Begonias to open the second set. The crowd was ecstatic as the projections on the walls of the Cap appeared to melt away. As soon as Phil lead the band into Fire on the Mountain, the room exploded into everyone singing along and feverishly dancing. Jackie and Joe were on fire themselves. Marco took an organ lead while Phil was all over his frets like his hands were spiders. Jackie and Bill went back and forth and built to a huge musical crescendo and release to the audience’s delight. This was the treasured X factor.
The transition simmered into Dark Star which had a very spacey but aggressive jam going into the first verse. Bill really was worth his weight in gold providing the texture for a jazzy space jam going between the verses. The audience is elated as Let it Grow is delivered with a rip roaring rock and roll jam with everyone jamming as the room burst with the dancers all singing I AM, I AM, I AAAAAAM, I AM.
Eyes of the World is delivered with a beautiful vocal by Phil. Just knowing the path Phil has taken to reach this point, it is an honor to hear him sing this and feel love for the man. Bill and Marco thrill the crowd with solos and lead everyone into a very trippy jam.
The crowd eases into a sway as they listen and then Jackie launches the power chord intro to All Along the Watchtower and everyone hoots and hollers in glee. Jackie really brings the ROCK in rock and roll with this band. His Gibson guitars through a Marshall stack isn’t your usual Grateful Dead music but boy does he bring the goods with straight ahead rock here. As Jackie finishes the lyric “And the wind begins to HOWL”, John launches into a soaring solo and then Jackie goes into a solo and drops to his knees in the middle of it. By now everyone knows this show is off the charts.
John is given the spotlight to give us a beautiful take on China Doll. His vocal is pleading and pensive on the ballad. You can see he is giving everything he has to this vocal and his guitar here. He owns this moment. The three part harmony between Phil, Jackie and John for the la-la-la-la-la-la-la is beautiful. Jackie raves the crowd back up with Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper’s Midnight Hour. The set closes out and the crowd is a sweaty mass.
Phil reminds everyone during his organ donor speech of the importance of being a donor and how he would not be here if not for Cody. Box Of Rain is the perfect present for the fans to close this amazing run with. If you are even remotely on the fence about seeing Phil when you have the chance, you are missing out. Thank you Phil! What a great run!!!
The Capitol Theatre Photo Gallery
Photos by: Dino Perrucci and Scott Harris
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