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Published: 2002/07/16
by Dan Greenhaus

Phil & Friends, Jones Beach Ampitheater, Wantagh, NY

Jones Beach has, throughout my life, been the backdrop for some very happy
memories. While barely in high school, I was first playing my guitar in the
parking lot, while waiting to see the Allman Brothers. So every time I
return, I get fairly nostalgic (at the same time though, I’m far less
nostalgic about the amount of money I’ve thrown away over the years on
drinking tickets obtained in the parking lot from overzealous police
officers who seemed to take too much pride in punishing kids- although granted, we
were underage).

On to the show…the band took the stage around 7:50, with Mickey Hart in tow (as was the case the previous night), and off we went on
another musical journey, courtesy of Phil Lesh and Co…

The opening three song jam totaled nearly thirty five minutes and covered
several different ideas. Internet setlists are going to put "Jam" in-between
those songs simply because the basic progression of each song was completely
abandoned in favor of new ideas, that subsequently led into the new song.
"Roadrunner" was warmly received, even if few in attendance seemed familiar with the song, which also featured brief teases of "Drums"
from John Molo and Mickey Hart. At the other end of the spectrum, "NFA"
nearly caused a riot as the two-thirds filled Jones Beach The….......
excuse me, "Tommy Hillfiger at Jones Beach Theater" sung every
word with unparalleled enthusiasm (along with the band). Mickey’s percussion-playing with a
highlight of this jam, and it was certainly fun to watch Phil and Mickey
staring at each other for lengthy periods of time with huge smiles on their
faces. Reid Genauer came out for "Friend of the Devil" and nailed the vocals while
also allowing for some cool guitar interplay. When Phil introduced Reid, I thought
he’d come out, play a song and leave for fear overcrowding a jam, however he
hung around any played his part perfectly. His rhythm playing was very
clean, and enabled Jimmy Herring and Warren to engage in one of their many
guitar duels. Reid left the stage to a huge ovation, one I’m sure he won’t
soon forget. "Dupree’s" and "Soulshine" closed out the set nicely, however,
on the latter I would have liked to see more collective interplay rather than the (admittedly powerful) guitar solos from both Jimmy and Warren.

The second set featured some very fine jamming from the band as a whole.
The group’s energy was still in high gear, as was the crowd’s. Hearing the
crowd reaction to the opening notes of "St. Stephen" alone, is worth getting
the disks. "Mason’s Children—>No More Do I" was a great set opener with
some ripping lead playing from Jimmy. The "Cryptical" jam was a little to slow
for my tastes, however "The Other One" featured some soaring basslines from
Phil, as the standard bassline was tossed out after four measures, in
exchange for a much bouncier, flowing bassline that meshed perfectly with
Rob Barracco’s piano playing. However, despite the strong start to the set,
the end didn’t live up. After "St. Stephen", the band briefly went back
into "Cryptical" which lagged until segueing into "Unbroken Chain", which
was one of the weaker versions I’ve heard. "GDTRFB" was standard but fun,
another guitar solo song, and "We bid you Goodnight" was a nice cap on a
nice set.

The "1000 Stars" encore was standard, but its always nice to hear Warren’s
voice on this beautiful song. With the uncertainty hanging over the band’s
future with respect to the apparent reunion of The Other Ones, it’s nice to
see them having fun and taking chances on this tour.

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