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Published: 2012/11/16

Phil Lesh & Friends Enter the "Psychedelic Rock Palace"

Photos by Dino Perrucci

Phil Lesh & Friends made their debut at Port Chester, NY’s recently reopened Capitol Theatre last night. The performance marked the first time Lesh had appeared at the theater since the Grateful Dead’s final stop at the Cap on February 24, 1971. The Dead played 16 shows at the Cap from 1970-71, some of which were double-headers or part of multi-night runs. Jerry Garcia once stated that the venue was one of his personal favorites, and Bob Weir played the theater’s second show after reopening (longtime Dead friend Bob Dylan officially reopened the space in early September).

Like his recent New York shows, Lesh’s core band consisted of singer/songwriter Jackie Greene, Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik and Furthur/Duo drummer Joe Russo. For the third night in a row, Black Crowes/Chris Robinson Brotherhood member Adam MacDougall also played keys. The younger musicians sped up
the show’s tempo, which featured numerous songs from the Grateful Dead’s ‘70s era.

Partway through the night’s opening number, “Jack Straw,” the Cap turned on their high-definition projectors, which painted the theater’s walls with unique visuals at select points during the night. Cap proprietor—and Relix publisher—Peter Shapiro brought in the high-end projectors to cement the venue’s reputations as “a psychedelic rock palace.” The theater’s team has been working with artists to custom design projections for their shows and, during “He’s Gone,” the Dead’s Steal Your Face insignia was projected on the venue’s multi-story walls (the song includes the iconic “steal your face” lyrics).

The band kicked off their second set with a well-placed cover of Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and offered a full suite of songs, segueing from “Help on the Way” into “Viola Lee Blues,” “Alligator,” “The Eleven,” “Standing on the Moon,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Slipknot” and “Franklin’s Tower.”
Phil & Friends will return to the venue this evening. Their residency at the theater will close on Sunday.

*Here’s a look at the show’s setlist via

Thursday November 15, The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY

Set I: Jack Straw, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo > Crazy Fingers > He’s Gone, Cold Rain and Snow, Ship of Fools> Mason’s Children

Set II: Dear Mr. Fantasy > Help on the Way > Viola Lee Blues > Alligator > The Eleven, Standing on the Moon > Uncle John’s Band> Slipknot > Franklin’s Tower

E: Box of Rain


There are 2 comments associated with this post

woodstock950 November 22, 2012, 14:36:56

I wish I could have been there. I saw most of those Dead shows in Port Chester including the last night Mickey Hart appeared before he left the band. He was embarassed that his father, who was managing the band at the time, was stealing from them. I was also at the infamous ESP test shows. The Dead projected an image to the audience. We were supposed to try and project that image to a group of volunteers on the west coast to see if they could receive the image.

woodstock950 November 22, 2012, 14:41:35

By the way, the Capitol in Port Chester is not the “Rock Palace”. There was a venue in Brooklyn that was billed as the “46th Street Rock Palace”. It later became Bananafish Garden. The Grateful Dead did a run there probably in 1970. The Airplane were appearing at the Fillmore East at the same time. Jorma,Jack, and Papa John would head to Brooklyn to play with the Dead after their shows at the Fillmore East. Good times rolled!

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