reCAP :: Phil Lesh & Friends :: 2015.11.05
The spirit of legends were present more than ever as Phil Lesh & Friends re-created the Grateful Dead's iconic February 19, 1971 show, released on the celebrated live album Three from the Vault. This show marked the start of Mickey Hart's temporary departure from the band and included the first live performances of "Bird Song," and "Deal."
As Phil Lesh closes out his fall run at The Cap, this weekend of shows features Lesh, David Nelson, Barry Sless, Scott Law, Jason Crosby, and John Molo.
Providing an even more historical aspect to the evening, it was exactly 45 years ago that the Grateful Dead began a four-night long journey at The Cap, starting November 5, 1970. To top things off, joining for the new incarnation of "friends," was David Nelson, guitarist and singer of New Riders of the Purple Sage, who had also joined the Grateful Dead several times on The Capitol Theatre's stage, both opening for the band, and playing in between sets joined by Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar.
The show opened with "Truckin'," and the lyrics "what a long strange trip it's been," could not have been more appropriate for this night as it has been a long strange trip indeed, especially for Phil Lesh and David Nelson. David Nelson was in high spirits as he stopped to speak to the audience several times and reminisce about the days they had played together, recalling one iconic evening in which all the power went out but the band continued to play on. During Nelson's tale, the audience's cheers and screaming of "the music never stopped," resonated through the crowd.
Phil Lesh was all smiles throughout the evening as the band ripped through a 10-song first set that ended with a smoking hot "China > Rider." During that set, fans were treated to gems like "Smokestack Lighting," a blues tune that evoked the spirit of Pigpen, groove-oriented keyboardist whose legendary raspy vocals and charisma joined the Grateful Dead for all 18 shows The Capitol Theatre's walls ever experienced.
The second set started out strong with "Greatest Story Ever Told," and Phil Lesh & Friends played through another 11 songs. This set featured strong versions of "Greatest Story Ever Told," and it might be good to mention that the songs "Loser," "Bertha," "Playing in the Band," "Greatest Story Ever Told," and "Wharf Rat," were all performed for just the second time on this night in 1971. To close out the night, a swift "Casey Jones" left the eager crowd ready and willing for two more nights with Phil Lesh & Friends.