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Published: 2012/04/27

Phil Lesh’s Quintet Reunites, Pays Tribute to Levon Helm

Phil Lesh’s classic Quintet reunited last night for a performance at San Rafael, CA’s Terrapin Crossroads. The classic Phil Lesh & Friends lineup—which Lesh referred to as the Quintet in interviews—toured together from 2000-2003 but has not performed for almost nine years. In addition to Lesh on bass, the group features Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes, Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring, Moonalice drummer John Molo and Dark Star Orchestra keyboardist Rob Barraco.

The Quintet were known for their deep jams and last night’s performance featured several pockets of heavy improvisation. As they did in their heyday, the group opened their second set with a freeform jam that morphed into the set’s first song, “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion).” Later, the Quintet moved into a loose “Viola Lee Blues” and followed that song throughout the set. The group also paid tribute to Band drummer Levon Helm, whose wake took place yesterday afternoon, at a few points during the show. During their first set, the group busted into a cover of The Band’s “Acadian Driftwood.” Phil Lesh & Friends also nodded to Helm with a cover of Elton John’s “Levon” that led into “I Know You Rider,” a song whose chorus includes the lines “I know you, rider, gonna miss me when I’m gone.” At the end of the show, Lesh remarked that the show was “the most run he’s had with music in years.”

The Quintet will return to Terrapin Crossroads this evening.

Here’s a look at last night’s setlist via

Thursday, April 26, Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael,CA

Set 1:

Shakedown Street>
Pride of Cucamonga
Doin’ That Rag
Acadian Driftwood
Here Comes Sunshine>
Into The Mystic>
Cumberland Blues

Set 2:
Golden Road>
Viola Lee Blues(v1)>
Sicknesss Jam>
Viola Lee Blues (bluesy v2)>
She Said She Said>
Sickness Jam 2>
Viola Lee Blues (uptempo v3)
Levon> Jam>
I Know You Rider
Help On The Way
King Solomon’s Marbles… > Jam>
Franklin’s Tower
Donor Rap

Midnight Hour


There are 14 comments associated with this post

Ben April 27, 2012, 10:58:24

My brother flew from Athens, GA to see these shows. Long Live Levon Hem

peter from Humboldt April 27, 2012, 11:29:59

About last night and the ‘‘Q”... I agree with Phil, “It was the most fun I’ve had with music in years!”. FANTASTIC show, way powerful in that small venue.

lovejahlive April 27, 2012, 11:35:46

“The Dead” also played ‘Into the Mystic’

Dan April 27, 2012, 11:41:08

The Q played both Mystic and Marbles back in the day. Glad to see them back in action.

Will April 27, 2012, 11:46:26

I think there should be a rule that all Grateful Dead related offshoots are required to kick off multi-night runs with Shakedown Street. Is there a better opener? (Except maybe Cold Rain & Snow on a blustery winter night).

mike April 27, 2012, 12:11:19

The Q has played Into the Mystic before

Lamar April 27, 2012, 12:51:12

Yes, I am that brother. What’s up, Ben? I do wish you were here (he has an unhealthy obsession with Levon; I think the family was looking into getting a restraining order). Long live Levon helm, indeed. The research on the end of this article was poor. Relix needs to find a writer who is still current on the Grateful Dead and its many incantations. Phil & Friends have definitely played both’ Into the Mystic’ and ‘King Solomon’s Marbles’ lots and lots. Seen them both several times.
It was great seeing these guys back together again. The show was nothing less than Epic. That being said, Warren unquestionably butchered the second verse of Viola Lee Blues; it was a train wreck. And before a bunch of people jump on my back… let me just say that “I love Warren Haynes!!”. My heart goes out to the man who played in no less than 4 other bands during the past ten days. I have always been astonished at how he remembers the words/chords to all of these songs. Last night’s show was worth every penny i have spent on this trip. I agree with Phil, the most exciting show I have seen in a long time. Very excited about the next 3 nights. They are going to kill it again and again and again!

Lamar April 27, 2012, 14:30:59

Correction. Relix did not write the article.

Irie Monkey April 27, 2012, 15:09:20

The music was outstanding, and the glow of pure joy on Phil’s face was priceless.

Dennis April 27, 2012, 16:50:46

I’m so glad I flew in from Denver, because that was an EPIC night! The Q was on fire from the get go, and what a venue to catch them at. It was worth every penny. The Levon was perfect.

joe April 27, 2012, 17:02:50

i never liked the Q back in the day when they were touring reg., now though i see that they did rock. im glad to see the is lineup back.
i dig furthur, but i think phil has more fun with the Q, so he should do that(if he can still the rest of the band to sign on)

JT April 29, 2012, 00:16:22

I would LOVE to see the Q play together again—maybe even a little tour!? Saw Jer and the boys a bunch; I’ve seen close to 20 Furthur shows now (and love them), but the Q has a special place in my heart. Some of the best shows I’ve ever seen were Q shows! The improvisational spontaneity of this line up is amazing. Enjoy these shows!

Jeff R May 4, 2012, 09:48:44

So bummed I couldn’t make the show, we knew how powerful this line-up would be. Does anyone know how we can get the music from these 4 shows???

Jim Busch May 8, 2012, 15:49:09

Flew in from DC for the Triumphant Return of the Q! Hung with good buddy Wesman from Cotati for all four shows. Could not be happier with the results, musically spectacular and aesthetically pleasing in such a small venue to watch the eye contact and gestures that go back between the players. Phil was absolutely Beaming! Several times during the second sets I found myself in a deep trance state, totally tansfixed into the musical universe. Nice run to add to hundreds of GD and P&F shows and really encouraging to see how well Phil performs at 72.

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