Bob Weir & Phil Lesh Reunite on New Years
Bob Weir & RatDog and Phil Lesh & Friends closed the year on the same stage at San Franciscos Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Current Phil Lesh collaborator Jackie Greene opened the night with his solo band and nodded to the evenings collaborative spirit by inviting out his Phil & Friends bandmate Barry Sless to play pedal steel on both Closer To You and Shaken. Next up, Phil Lesh & Friends took the stage for a set that featured a number of the Grateful Deads best known songs and jam-vehicles, including The Golden Road, The Wheel, Eyes Of The World, The Eleven, Slipknot! and Franklins Tower, as well as the Beatles Don’t Let Me Down. Lesh keyboardist Steve Molitz also saluted his other band by offering Particles Elevator.
Lesh and Weir then offered a trio set for the second night in a row. Since the longtime friends’ December 30 performance featured RatDog drummer Jay Lane, Weir and Lesh recruited Phil & Friends drummer John Molo to round out their trio on New Years. The three musicians opened the set with Me and My Uncle, before offering El Paso, Tomorrow Never Knows, Maggies Farm, an instrumental continuation of the previous nights Dark Star and Cassidy. Weir later returned to the stage with RatDog for a performance that featured the likes of Mississippi Half-Step, Jus’ Like Mama Said, Playin in the Band, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, The Other One, Standing on the Moon, Terrapin Flyer and I Know You Rider, among others.
For many, the evenings highlight was a special Weir-Lesh band that took the stage at midnight and proceeded to offer a set of song from the Grateful Deads canon. In addition to Weir and Lesh, the all-star band featured Molitz, Molo, Greene and Sless, as well as RatDogs Jay Lane (drums), Mark Karan (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards) and Kenny Brooks (saxophone). The jam-packed set opened with a countdown that took place as a giant terrapin descended from above the stage and, eventually, segued into the anthematic ‘Sugar Magnolia.’ The rest of the night continued to flow as an extended suite that included selections like Uncle John’s Band, Wharf Rat, Good Lovin, Sugaree, Scarlet Begonias, a symbolic Come Together, Dark Star and Not Fade Away. The music continued to move, though a member or two would occasionally step away from the stage, and Greene even switched to drums for both Scarlet Begonias and Come Together. The band then closed the extended night of music with the sing-a-longs U.S. Blues and Ripple.
Shortly after the evening came to a close, the cyber world got word that Weir and Lesh will tour as part of the reformed Dead this spring. Please click here to see the latest in a series of videos from the group.