The Allman Brothers Band and Phil Lesh & Friends: 10/4/2008

This show was a jam-band fan’s dream. The Allmans and Phil Lesh. I was pretty psyched for this one. I made the drive from Asheville to Charlotte with my friend Greg, which took us a little over two hours. We had scored lawn tickets, which was fine. I felt no desire to be up close. Plus, the lawn tickets were only $16.50++, which was very reasonable for two great bands in 2008.

We staked out our little patch of grass at the Verizon Amphiteatre and waited for Phil. He came out and opened with “Cumberland Blues,” which was great. But the band didn’t seem able to sustain the energy for this particular show. There were a few high points, like “Golden Road” and “Cosmic Charlie,” but overall I was left with the impression that this was probably the weakest Phil & Friends show I had seen. It happens. As a musician, I know that you can’t be 100% all the time, and that any number of factors can affect a performance. Still, it was great seeing Phil, as always.

Then came the Allmans, and in comparison, they were stellar. Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes together on guitar were phenomenal. You could tell that they were feeding off of each other’s energy, seamlessly shifting between solos and augmenting and supporting each other like the seasoned veteran musicians they are. And Gregg Allman was in great form, belting out the tunes and making the hairs stand up on the back of the neck. By the time the last note of “Whipping Post” faded, I was completely rocked out.

My friend Greg and I wandered back to the car, only to discover to our dismay that the car would not start. One of the wires had come loose from the battery terminal. I tried not to panic, but the thought of spending the night in a parking lot in Charlotte was, shall we say, less than appealing. Thankfully, a friendly concert goer offered to help. We got the wire reattached, got the car started, and made it home without further incident.

Here are the setlists from the respective acts. Rock on!

Phil Lesh Setlist:

  • Cumberland Blues
  • Gone Wanderin’
  • Rock-n-Roll Blues
  • Minglewood Blues
  • Row Jimmy
  • The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • Dark Star
  • So Many Roads
  • Dark Star
  • In the Midnight Hour

Encore:

  • Cosmic Charlie

Allman Brothers Setlist:

  • Done Somebody Wrong
  • Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
  • The Same Thing
  • Gambler’s Roll
  • Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
  • Manic Depression
  • Come and Go Blues
  • Come On in My Kitchen
  • Into the Mystic
  • Dreams
  • Black Hearted Woman
  • Southbound

Encore:

  • Whipping Post

Warren Haynes 25th Christmas Jam – First Night: 12/13/2013

The 25th annual Christmas Jam to benefit Habitat for Humanity was a milestone event, and as such, was extended to two nights and featured an array of amazing musicians. I, of course, had to go both nights.

The first night featured a solid list of headliners:

  • Warren Haynes & Ray Sisk
  • Gov’t Mule
  • Love Canon
  • Keb’ Mo’
  • John Scofield and the Uberjam Band
  • Gregg Allman
  • Phil Lesh Quintet
  • Widespread Panic

In addition to the headline acts, the show also included the following special guests: Ike Stubblefield, Randall Bramblett, Birdland, Jay Bowman, Ron Holloway, Ron Johnson, Casey Driessen, and Jeff Sipe.

As a die-hard Grateful Dead fan, I was most excited to see Phil Lesh. And while he played a great set, I felt somewhat sad at the end. Basically, whenever Phil sang, he just seemed weary, like the years were finally catching up with him. It did not come as a surprise that he essentially stopped touring after this, only playing an occasional show on the East Coast and basically playing at Terrapin Crossroads, a club he owns in San Raphael. I guess that seeing Phil looking old made me feel old too.

I’m pretty sure that Gregg Allman played a short acoustic set with Warren during this first night, but I could not find a setlist to confirm that.

On to Widespread Panic. They are one of those bands who, like Primus, I feel that I should like, but I really am just not crazy about. And as the clock was nearing 2:00 am, my tolerance for them plummeted real fast. I ended up leaving the show about halfway through their set. I knew I would have another long night of music the next day, so I wasn’t going to wear myself out staying up for a band that I just wasn’t that interested in.

Anyway, here are the setlists that I was able to find online. Check back soon for my memories from the second night.

Setlists:

Warren Haynes & Ray Sisk

  • Glory Road

Keb’ Mo’

  • France
  • More Than One Way Home
  • Government Cheese
  • Every Morning (with John Scofield)
  • Perpetual Blues Machine (with John Scofield)
  • Shave Yo’ Legs

Phil Lesh Quintet

  • Celebration >
  • Playing in the Band >
  • China Cat Sunflower >
  • I Know You Rider
  • Night of 1000 Stars
  • Mountains of the Moon >
  • St. Stephen >
  • The Other One >
  • Over the Rainbow >
  • The Other One
  • Terrapin Station

Widespread Panic

  • Disco >
  • Papa’s Home (with Count M’Butu) >
  • Up All Night
  • Worry
  • None of Us Are Free
  • Surprise Valley >
  • Ride Me High (with Randall Bramblett) >
  • Drums >
  • Surprise Valley
  • Expiration Day
  • Angels on High (with Warren Haynes and Randall Bramblett)
  • Jesus Just Left Chicago (with Warren Haynes)
  • Ain’t Life Grand

Gov’t Mule

  • World Boss
  • Mother Earth
  • Opium (with Bill Evans and Ike Stubblefield)
  • Scared to Live
  • Game Face (with ‘Mountain Jam’ snippet)
  • Captured
  • Funny Little Tragedy (with ‘Message in a Bottle’ quote) >
  • Thorazine Shuffle (reprise)

Phil Lesh & Friends: 4/14/2001

Not a whole lot to say about this show, other than it was great. This was the second show of a two-night run at the Sunrise Musical Theatre, and my wife went with me the first night, which was an experience because she was late in her pregnancy. This night, I went without her and hung out with friends, which was fun. I had a lot of Deadhead friends in Florida at the time, and it was like one big party with my peeps. We all danced and sang along until late in the night.

Here’s the setlist. Although they didn’t play a lot of songs, they played a long time. It was just over three hours, if my memory serves me correct. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • Jam >
  • Comes A Time >
  • Eyes of the World >
  • Just a Little Light >
  • Help on the Way >
  • Slipknot! >
  • Franklin’s Tower

Set 2:

  • The Golden Road >
  • Viola Lee Blues >
  • Wharf Rat >
  • Viola Lee Blues >
  • I Know You Rider
  • Dark Star >
  • Night of 1000 Stars >
  • Dark Star

Encore:

  • Box of Rain

Phil Lesh & Friends: 4/13/2001

This was my first time seeing Phil Lesh and Friends. As a long-time Grateful Dead fan, I was pretty psyched. The Sunrise Musical Theatre was an intimate venue, so getting to see Phil there promised to be a treat.

This incarnation of the band consisted of:

  • Phil Lesh on bass and vocals
  • Warren Haynes on guitar and vocals
  • Jimmy Herring on guitar
  • Rob Barraco on keyboards and vocals
  • John Molo on drums

The band was playing two nights, and I of course was planning to attend both shows. My wife though, who was very pregnant at the time, was only up for going this first night. And when I say very pregnant, she was well into her third trimester and looked like she would go into labor at any minute.

We got to the theatre, and someone from either security or management must have seen my wife and become very concerned. From the moment we walked in, there was someone near us, with walkie talkie, making sure that nothing happened to her. We were basically ushered to our seats, if my wife needed to go to the bathroom, someone was right there to clear the way for her, and once, someone down the aisle from us spilled a drink, and a maintenance person with a mop was immediately dispatched to clean it up. It was a little surreal, but we just went with it and enjoyed the VIP treatment.

The first set began with a poetry reading, which was pretty cool. Here is the excerpt that Phil read:

“Invocation to the Sun, the Prologue to The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel” by Nikos Kazantzakis (part 1)

O Sun, great Oriental, my proud mind’s golden cap,
I love to wear you cocked askew, to play and burst
in song throughout our lives, and so rejoice our hearts.
Good is this earth, it suits us! Like the global grape
it hangs, dear God, in the blue air and sways in the gale,
nibbled by all the birds and spirits of the four winds.
Come, let’s start nibbling too, and so refresh our minds!
Between two throbbing temples in the mind’s great wine vats
I tread on the crisp grapes until the wild must boils
and my mind laughs and steams within the upright day.
Has the earth sprouted wings and sails, has my mind swayed
until black-eyed Necessity got drunk and burst in song?
Above me spreads the raging sky, below me swoops
my belly, a white gull that breasts the cooling waves;
my nostrils fill with salty spray, the billows burst
swiftly against my back, rush on, and I rush after.

After the poetic invocation, the music kicked off and the band performed “Celebration,” which the Dead archivists assert was the first time this was ever performed. Pretty cool! The first set also included “The Eleven,” possibly my favorite Grateful Dead song ever. I was ecstatic.

After the first set was over, my wife ran into a friend of hers, who had been up toward the front. This friend kept raving about “The sickness of the jams!” That became our catch-phrase for the evening.

After the break, the band took the stage again for the second set, which was stellar, and loooong. My wife was definitely hitting her limit by the end of the night. She said that while it was great, she was glad she was not going the next night.

I’ve often thought about our unborn child, exposed to that long night of music. I think the sickness of the jams must have penetrated into her being, because she has had a deep love of music her whole life, and has since become a multi-instrumentalist.

Anyway, here is the full setlist. Rock on, and may the sickness of the jams ever plague you! (ha ha)

Set 1:

  • Poetry Reading: Part 1
  • Celebration >
  • Jam >
  • The Eleven >
  • Space Jam >
  • Soulshine >
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Get Together >
  • Not Fade Away

Set 2:

  • Low Spark Jam >
  • China Cat Sunflower >
  • Uncle John’s Band Reprise >
  • St. Stephen >
  • Sugaree >
  • St. Stephen >
  • I Am The Walrus >
  • Taste Like Wine >
  • The Wheel >
  • Lovin’ Jam >
  • The Wheel >
  • The Other One >
  • Celebration Reprise

Encore:

  • Here Comes Sunshine