Bob Weir Joins Phil Lesh for Warfield Finale
Phil Lesh bid farewell to San Francisco, CAs The Warfield last night with an extended three-set performance that featured special guests Bob Weir, Jeff Chimenti, Mark Karan and The Mother Hips Tim Bluhm, as well as a number of the Grateful Deads best known songs. The evening began with a trio performance by Lesh, Weir and drummer John Molo, consisting of The Beatles Come Together, Dark Star and Loose Lucy. RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and current Lesh collaborator Larry Campbell then joined the trio for West L.A. Fadeaway, The Wheel and Not Fade Away. In lieu of a traditional set break, Campbell and Jackie Greene offered an acoustic interlude, consisting of numbers like Sing Me Back Home, Deep Elem Blues and a fiddle-led instrumental introduced as the Warfield Waltz.
The current incarnation of Phil & Friends then took the stage for an extended set that opened with a mammoth Shakedown Street, which bled into Ball & Chain. After a take on Big River, RatDog guitarist Mark Karan stepped in for the rest of Leshs set which consisted of Mississippi Half-Step, Althea, Greenes Mexican Girl, an instrumental reading of Stella Blue, and Sugaree. Greene then offered a second acoustic interlude, this time with his Skinny Singers partner Tim Bluhm.
Leshs final set at The Warfield was a particularly festive affair, featuring a balloon drop and chestnuts like Sugar Magnolia, Unbroken Chain and I Know You Rider, among others. The quintet returned to the stage in the wee hours of the morning to close things out with Truckin’ and And We Bid You Goodnight.
The gig closed out Leshs five-show run at the venue, which found the bassist running through eight of the Grateful Deads classic albums. After moving through The Deads first four albums, on Friday Phil & Friends revisited Workingmans Dead with special guest, David Nelson (a veteran of the Workingmans Dead sessions), who supplied vocals on High Time and Easy Wind. Nelson returned for the majority of the groups second set and encore, which consisted of a complete version of American Beauty, this time supplying lead vocals on both Friend of the Devil and Ripple. Campbells wife Teresa Williams also lent her vocal skills to a set-closing version of Til the Morning Comes.
As expected, on Saturday the group revisited the live album Grateful Dead, a release referred to by most fans by its intended name Skullfuck, before skipping ahead ten years to 1981s Dead Set, which was partially recorded at the venue. In order to recreate _Dead Set_s Rhythm Devils segment at the start of Leshs third set, Mickey Hart collaborator Sikiru Adepoju joined Molo behind the kit, before Bay Area hero Henry Kaiser joined Lesh and his friends on guitar for selections like Fire On The Mountain, Greatest Story Ever Told and Brokedown Palace.
Leshs performances closed-out 28 years of Grateful Dead history at the historic Market Street room. In total, Phil Lesh & Friends performed at the venue 30 times, nine more than the Grateful Dead. Of course, the Jerry Garcia Band holds the record for most Warfield plays, having appeared at the room no less than 88 times, including a series of acoustic shows in 1987.