Furthur, in preparation for Furthur Festival this weekend, did two public rehearsal sessions in San Rafael on Monday 5/24 and Tuesday 5/25.  Did they play anything that wasn’t in the repertoire so far? I don’t think so.

They did have to work out a new line-up.  With the departure of Jay Lane (who has returned to his post, after many years, as the drummer of Primus), Furthur is a one drummer band.  That drummer is power house Joe Russo.  Phil Lesh suggested a few months back that this phase of Furthur will be like the Bill Kreutzmann only period for the Grateful Dead. 

Zoe Ellis, who has been singing back up with Furthur since December of 2009, was also absent.  No details on her departure.  There was a new singer, Jeff Pehrson, who took the microphone beside Sunshine Garcia Becker. 

So some line-up switches, work out the arrangement etc.  But nothing new… Not that I am saying they shouldn’t rehearse!  Those there thought it was fab, but I would think they would need to work up some of the new things, songs they haven’t played!

First off, people on Phil Zone have been begging for “Gomorrah”.  Everyone on Ratdog dot org wants to hear “My Brother Esau”.  And everyone is waiting for the “Lazy Lightning/Supplication”.  Phil did say he would try to get to this one, after seeing the request in the Zone.

But seriously… this festival has already announced the music for the six Furthur sets.  They are performing six albums, American Beauty, Blues for Allah, Workingman’s Dead, Aoxomoxa, Terrapin Station, and Anthem of the Sun.

Um, there are some songs on these albums that Furthur has never done – I think they would want to have rehearsed those! 

From Terrapin Station there is “Sunrise” (I hope Sunshine steps out on this one! Unless Donna shows up…) as well as large chunks of the full “Terrapin Suite Part 1” (Ratdog, to their credit do “At A Siding” and  “Terrapin Flyer”).  Of course, only Robert Hunter does part 2.

They actually have played all of Anthem of the Sun, and most of Aoxomoxa – except for “Rosemary” and “What’s Become of the Baby”.  Phil has done those two songs with friends, and I imagine Theresa Campbell will be making a guest appearance, unless Sunshine is going to tackle it. 

On Workingman’s Dead they have done everything(!) and from American Beauty,  “Operator” is the only one undone.

On Blues for Allah they have to do “Sage and Spirit” as well as “Blues For Allah: Sand Castles And Glass Camels / Unusual Occurrences In The Desert”

Unless I missed something, that’s it – Furthur really does play most of these albums in their repertoire.  I’m still holding out for that “Lazy Lightning”.  Phil promised!

Regardless, I am looking forward to it, and my set list job will be easy!  What I am really wondering is what Friday’s sound check will be…

I’ll keep you posted.

Anthem of the Sun - Grateful Dead