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Published: 2011/12/11

Phil Lesh Jams with Gov’t Mule, Jimmy Herring Joins Phil & Friends and Other Christmas Jam Highlights

Photos by Dino Perrucci

Phil Lesh joined Gov’t Mule onstage during Christmas Jam’s closing set last night. The all-star benefit show, which took place at Asheville, NC’s Civic Center, once again stretched late into the night. Lesh and saxophonist Bill Evans emerged partway through Mule’s set for a cover of Traffic’s “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys.” Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring then joined Gov’t Mule for a take on The Beatles classic “Dear Prudence.”
Though Gov’t Mule made an appearance at Warren Haynes’ annual Pre-Jam a night earlier, last night’s show was billed as Gov’t Mule’s official return after a year-long hiatus.

After Christmas Jam sold out in record time thanks in part to appearances by the reactivated Mule and the first Phil Lesh & Friends lineup since 2008, the event’s organizers booked less bands and let those acts play longer. Haynes opened the show with a solo take on Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me,” before Drivin’ N Cryin’s Kevn Kinney emerged with The Christmas Jam Family Band for a short set of covers that climaxed with a run from Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” into Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and The Beatles’ “I’ve Got a Feeling.” In addition to Kinney, the house band for this set included Christmas Jam regulars like former Black Crowes guitarist Audley Freed, guitarist Mike Barnes and Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Robert Kearns along with Ryan Adams & the Cardinals drummer Brad Pemberton and Jackie Greene on keys.

As they did at Pre-Jam, banjoist Bela Fleck and drummer Jeff Sipe led a special ensemble featuring saxophonist Bill Evans, bassist Taylor Lee and touring Flecktones fiddler Casey Driessen. But this time Sipe’s old Aquarium Rescue Unit guitarist Jimmy Herring also played throughout the set. The brief performance closed with a powerful version of “Soulgrass,” a song that also seemed to describe the set’s style and feel. Los Lobos, the evening’s first big draw, played next and invited Haynes out at the end of their set for a of cover “Bertha.”

Phil Lesh & Friends then took the stage for an extended set. Besides Friday’s brief Pre-Jam performance, last night’s set was the first Phil & Friends show since 2008. Lesh’s latest ensemble brings together former Phil & Friends members Haynes and Greene on guitar and the bassist’s current Furthur collaborators Jeff Chimenti and Joe Russo on keyboards and drums, respectively. The group opened their performance with “Shakedown Street” and offered a seamless, flowing set. Herring also emerged for a run from “Dark Star” into “She Said, She Said,” “Dark Star,” “Wharf Rat,” “The Other One” and “Sugaree.” Herring, who last played with Lesh in 2005, was a member of the classic Phil & Friends Quintet that last performed in 2003. Haynes was also a member of the esteemed ensemble.
Despite not closing the show, Phil Lesh & Friends were awarded an encore and returned for “Angel Band.”

Gov’t Mule’s extended single-set performance brought the night to a close.

Here’s a look at last night’s setlist via Mule.net

Warren Haynes
And It Stoned Me

Kevn Kinney & The Christmas Family Band
Never Gonna Change
Ain’t Waiting on Tomorrow
Breathe >
Rocket Man >
I’ve Got A Feeling

Bela Fleck/Jeff Sipe (with Jimmy Herring, Bill Evans, Taylor Lee & Casey Driessen)
Solo Improv >
Jed Clampett
Monkey See
Spanish Point
Scapegoat Blues
Soulgrass

Los Lobos
Neighborhood
Don’t Worry Baby
Revolution
Venganza de Los Pelados
Chuco’s Cumbia
I Walk Alone
Bertha with Warren Haynes

Phil Lesh & Friends (Warren Haynes, Jackie Greene, Jeff Chimenti & Joe Russo)
Shakedown Street >
Deal >
Viola Lee Blues >
Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) >
Viola Lee Blues >
China Cat Sunflower >
I Know You Rider
Dark Star > with Jimmy Herring
She Said, She Said > with Jimmy Herring
Dark Star > with Jimmy Herring
Wharf Rat > with Jimmy Herring
The Other One > with Jimmy Herring
Sugaree with Jimmy Herring

Encore
Angel Band

Gov’t Mule
Railroad Boy
Beautifully Broken
Thorazine Shuffle
Banks Of The Deep End
Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys with Bill Evans & Phil Lesh
Dear Prudence with Jimmy Herring
Inside Outside Woman Blues
When The Music’s Over

Comments

There are 15 comments associated with this post

Allston:Playin_Dead December 11, 2011, 19:02:03

Oh fuck yes. Please please please tour, Phil. Bring your Phriends

Emvibe December 12, 2011, 08:42:00

What an amazing night and some amazing shows! Warren is the man!

ben December 12, 2011, 09:05:14

Jimmy came out after I know you rider and stayed for the rest of the set. Twas epic

B December 12, 2011, 09:05:37

No offfense to Los Lobos, who I love, but about time they learn another Dead song besides Bertha?

Frinkazoid December 12, 2011, 09:45:56

Anybody know where to find the Bela Fleck/Jeff Sipe set? I saw quite a few tapers, but it hasn’t popped up on Archive yet…It was pretty stellar!

jerry December 12, 2011, 10:28:55

wow groovy cool happenend, Roc&Rollllllllled

Bassman December 12, 2011, 11:07:43

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDz3q4_p3AU

Bassman December 12, 2011, 11:09:29

That is a video of the Fleck/Sipe band playing monkey see

chris December 12, 2011, 13:52:00

Frink, check out panicstream for Sipe/Bela stream.

rayz December 15, 2011, 08:42:20

Any idea how much money was raised by the event ??

Steve December 15, 2011, 14:22:51

I must go next year. wow!!!

Goose December 17, 2011, 12:04:59

Phantastic show…. Phil, Warren and Jimmy…. Such a phenominal vibe on stage between these guys.

Dr. Paisley December 17, 2011, 16:15:42

Los Lobos recorded West LA Fadeaway on their last album Tin Can Trust (recommended). And Not Fade Away in the Dead style has been a live treat for years.

joe December 17, 2011, 20:58:04

los lobos have done a few other dead songs live.
i think bertha is overdone by everyone including the boys(i dont dig bertha obviously)

fil December 18, 2011, 19:55:15

sugaree as the closer was long, passionate n phenomenal !

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