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Published: 2012/07/21

Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann Perform (Separately) at Gathering of the Vibes

Bridgeport, CT’s annual Gathering of the Vibes kicked off on Thursday night. The veteran Northeast festival started as a tribute to Jerry Garcia in 1996 and has become something of a second home for members of the Grateful Dead’s extended family over the past 15-plus years. This year’s lineup features all four “core” surviving members of the Grateful Dead as well as touring Dead keyboardist Bruce Hornsby. However, unlike some past years where Furthur and The Rhythm Devils have performed, this year’s lineup focused on the musicians’ solo projects.

After Dark Star Orchestra kicked off the Grateful Dead celebration on Thursday night, drummer Bill Kreutzmann took the stage on Friday afternoon with his 7 Walkers project. The quartet—which also features singer/guitarist Papa Mali, Meters bassist George Porter Jr. and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard—offered a mix of original songs and Dead world classics like “Sugaree” and “Bird Song.” Max Creek/Mike Gordon guitarist
Scott Murawski, who moonlights as a member of Kreutzmann’s B3, also sat in with the group.

Later in the day, Bob Weir returned to the Vibes for a set with Hornsby and saxophonist/occasional Grateful Dead guest Branford Marsalis (the trio debuted the project at All Good on Thursday). Like Thursday’s show, their setlist featured a mix of Hornsby originals and Dead catalog material. The three musicians started out acoustic, including a stripped down version of “Dark Star,” before members of Hornsby’s Noisemakers band took the stage to flesh out the songs. Of particular note, the ensemble performed Hornsby’s “Might As Well Be Me,” a number the piano player co-wrote with longtime Dead scribe Robert Hunter. Hornsby also led the group through his arrangement of “Standing in the Moon” and shared vocals with Weir on “Big Boss Man.”

In addition, Primus drummer Jay Lane—who will headline Vibes this evening—sat in on both “Me and My Uncle” and “Mexicali Blues.” Lane is a member of Weir’s RatDog and a former members of Furthur. His sit in has some historical ties: In 2000, Les Claypool and RatDog participated in a duel stage jam session at Gathering of the Vibes. The collaboration—along with his work with Oysterhead—helped usher Claypool into the jamband scene after Primus’ split.

Phil Lesh & Friends closed Friday night’s mainstage festivities with a full two-set show. Like his All Good set on Thursday, Lesh’s band included Jackie Greene (guitar/keyboards/vocals), longtime Levon Helm Band members Larry Campbell (guitar, vocals, string instruments) and Teresa Williams (vocals) and Furthur’s Joe Russo (drums) as well as the bassist’s sons Brian and Grahame Lesh (mandolin and vocals/guitar, respectively). The evening’s first set focused on the often sped-up,roots-leaning material that characterized Lesh’s recent Terrapin Crossroads rambles, including “Till The Morning Comes,” Greene’s “Gone Wanderin‘” and “Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right,” the day’s second take on “Bird Song,” The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek,” “Pride of Cucamonga,” “Tennessee Jed” and “Cumberland Blues.”

After a set break, Phil & Friends stretched out with a run from “St. Stephen” into “The Other One” and
“The Wheel” and “Uncle John’s Band.” The group offered another Band song, the Bib Dylan collaboration “This Wheel’s on Fire,” and then moved into “So Many Roads,” “Scarlet Begonias,” “Fire on the Mountain” and “I Know You Rider.” A high-energy take on “Shakedown Street” closed the show. During his donor rap, Lesh also admitted that Vibes was his favorite festival to play.

In other collaboration news, noted jazz percussionist Kenwood Dennard joined Greyboy Allstars for their mainstage set. Dennard, whose credits include everyone from Hornsby to Miles Davis, quietly performed near the back of the stage, including a cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Deep Bannana Blackout keyboardist Cyrus Madan also sat in with fellow Connecticut group Kung Fu, which features DBB’s Robert Somerville.

Here’s a look at Bob Weir/Bruce Hornsby/Branford Marsalis’ set via

Friday, July 20, Gathering of the Vibes, Bridgeport, CT

Monkey Business
Dark Star
Chicago Blues Jam
King of the Hill
Big Boss Man
Might As Well Be Me
Me and My Uncle(+)
Mexicali Blues(+)
Standing on the Moon
Other One
Playing’ in the Band

(+) with Jay Lane

Here’s a look at Phil & Friends’ setlist via

Friday, July 20, Gathering of the Vibes, Bridgeport, CT

Set I:
Till The Morning Comes
Gone Wanderin’
Bird Song
Up on Cripple Creek
Pride of Cucamonga
Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right
Tennessee Jed
Cumberland Blues

Set II:
St. Stephen>
The Other One>
The Wheel>
Uncle John’s Band
This Wheel’s on Fire
So Many Roads
Scarlet Begonias>
Fire on the Mountain
I Know You Rider

E: Shakedown Street

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