Friday night was cold and wet as a dog’s nose outside San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
The security is unfortunately getting proficient at hassling Shakedown vendors. The vendors are adapting. Many still managed to throw out blankets about an hour before the show. The scene was densely crowded in a relatively small area on the southwest corner of the plaza across from the venue. The Furthur designs and artwork are maybe better since New Years and it was damn good then.
The hippies were looking pretty miserable in the raw weather and at the same time hopeful as they absently held up a right index finger like a sad, unlit birthday candle wishing someone will come by and take it to the party.
You could feel the crowd was excited about Lesh celebrating 70 years on the planet.
Lesh was five hours on stage that night.
Age is just a number.
Set 1: Acoustic – Furthur, Jay Lane on drums and Steve Molitz adding additional keyboards plus Chris Robinson, Jackie Greene and very special guest Pigpen
The evening was a benefit for the Unbroken Chain Foundation with all proceeds going to Haiti earthquake relief
Lesh played the big brown bass
I’m on the floor in the center right in front of the tapers and the soundboard. The Bill Graham auditorium was even more full than on New Years – if that is possible. I guess you could say the place was crowded. I’ve had less contact playing in football games.
Ripple (Bob Weir)
Lazy River Road (John Kadlecik)
Peggy O (Chris Robinson)
Two Souls in Communion (Chris Robinson)
Broke Down Palace (Jackie Greene)
A Hard Rain’s (A-gonna Fall) (Bob Weir)
They Love Each Other (Chris Robinson)
Mountains of the Moon (Phil Lesh)
Attics of My Life (All)
Chris Robinson killed Two Souls in Communion. There was a time when the only way to hear that song was on bootleg tapes and bootleg albums. It never occurred to me we’d ever hear that song performed again. Nice surprise. Robinson just channeled Pigpen. I would pay another $50 just to hear Robinson sing Two Souls in Communion again.
Jackie Greene didn’t seem the least intimidated by taking the lead after Robinson’s incredible performance. Greene nailed Broke Down Palace and added the genius guitar. The man has the whole package – talent, writing, singing, playing.
If someone told me Chris Robinson and Jackie Greene had the same mama I wouldn’t call them a liar.
Attics of My Life was done in seven-part harmony. Stunning.
Just the song list on this acoustic first set should tell you to go get a copy of this show.
You can buy a copy of the show here:
Set 2: Russo and Lane on drums, Greene and Robinson remain on stage for the entire show. (Once in awhile – during jams – Robinson would walk off but he’d always come back on cue).
Scarlet Begonias (Jackie Greene)
Minglewood Blues (Bob Weir)
Easy Wind (Chris Robinson) ->
New Speedway Boogie (Jackie Greene) ->
Viola Lee Blues->
High Time (Chris Robinson) ->
Caution Jam ->
Viola Lee Blues ->
Hard to Handle (Chris Robinson)
Viola Lee Blues ->
Like a Rolling Stone (Chris Robinson) ->
Sugaree (Chris Robinson vocals, Jackie Greene, keyboards)
Two Souls in Communion, Easy Wind, and Hard to Handle – Welcome to the party, Pig.
I bet if Chris Robinson sang Good Morning Little School Girl it would make virgins weep, mothers sigh, and fathers go after their shotguns.
Robinson’s soulful vocals were right there with Van Morrison and Al Green.
Jackie Greene was a monster on Scarlet Begonias – vocals and guitar.
The Viola Lee Blues jam was a classic. The guys really tore it up and seemed to be having themselves a real good time. The Viola Lee Blues Jam is reason number two to go as quick as possible to find a recording of this show.
Set 3: Russo and John Molo on drums. Molitz again adding some keyboards.
Balloons crash down from the ceiling as Molo pounds the Buddy Holly beat for a Not Fade Away jam.
A curtain opens stage right and three floats roll out and track their way through the center of the audience.
Each float has a birthday cake theme.
The first float looks like a Mardis Gras birthday cake, the center float looks like a traditional birthday cake painted in blue icing and lettered in pink, and the third float is a cake topped by Redi Kilowatt with a six-string black bass.
The crowd sang Happy Birthday after the floats were in and then the jam continued as the floats went back out.
The balloons were still popping when the floats were gone.
Weir looked annoyed.
He announced the band was taking another break
Not Fade Away jam
(Happy Birthday, Phil)
Not Fade Away jam
Playing in the Band (Bob Weir) ->
The Other One jam ->
St. Stephen ->
The Other One (Bob Weir) ->
Unbroken Chain (Phil Lesh)
Comes A Time (Chris Robinson)
Cream Puff War
Franklin’s Tower (Phil Lesh)
Encore: Johnny B. Goode (Bob Weir)
At the end of the encore Lesh gave Robinson a big hug.
It looked like Robinson was leaving and the rest of the band was staying for another song or at least a bow.
It was about 2 a.m.
Slowly, kind of one-by-one, the band started to float off the stage.
Finally Weir threw up his hands in a “fuck it” gesture and stomped off.
The lights came up shortly after.