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4/17 Lesh and Friends Review

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Charles Dirksen

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Apr 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/18/99
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Saturday, April 17, 1999
THE WARFIELD
PHIL LESH & FRIENDS
(aka "The Better Ones" -- which appeared on a sticker being passed
out by an ecstatic fan outside the show)

Trey Anastasio (Phish): Languedoc Hollowbody
Page McConnell (Phish): Grand Piano & organ
John Molo (Other Ones): Drums
Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead, Other Ones): Lead Bass
Steve Kimock (Zero, SK&F, KVHW, Other Ones): Guitars (5+)

Special Guest: Donna Jean Godchaux

SET ONE (1:17)
Dark Star (instrumental) ->
It's Up to You
Days Between (Phil lead vocals) ->
Dark Star (first verse; Phil vocals?) ->
My Favorite Things (instrumental) >
Mississippi Half-Step (Phil and Donna vocals)
Birdsong (Page l.v.?)

SET TWO (1:18)
Terrapin (Phil, Trey, and Donna vocals, I think) >
Down with Disease (Trey vocals) ->
Dark Star (second verse; Page l.v.) ->
Other One Jam (short; aborted)
Friend of the Devil (Phil l.v.)
Casey Jones (Trey l.v.)
Morning Dew (Phil l.v.)
Goin Down The Road Feelin Bad -> (w/Donna)
And We Bid You Goodnight (one verse only)

ENCORE: Box of Rain

I must begin with an apology. In the review of Thursday's show that I
sent out, and in the comments that I made about the "Shakedown," I
referred to an "aging control hippie couple." Well, I met the male
half of this couple earlier this evening, pre-show, and we discussed
what happened the other night. He was quite understandably offended
by my comments about him and his wife in that review.

Mark is a wonderful man, and I owe him and his wife Martha a sincere
apology, which I hope they accept. The "wildly dancing girl" was The
Real Problem and the Main Distraction for me in that Shakedown the
other night, but in my review, I quite unfairly took my anger out on
Mark and Martha, and implied strongly that they were at fault. In
truth, Mark simply behaved in that Shakedown like any good man would
have behaved if HIS wife were insulted with an obscenity -- and then
violently danced into and shoved -- by a drunken, inconsiderate girl.
Mark and I both agreed that it might have been better to have dealt
with this girl (who had elbowed me in the ribs a few times before she
rudely danced into Martha) *after* the Shakedown, and not during it.
Nevertheless, given how rude this girl was to Mark's wife, his
aggressive and prompt handling of the situation during the Shakedown
was understandable. Again, my apologies to Mark and Martha, who, btw,
appeared to have enjoyed the shows at least as much as I did.

All that said...

I spent tonight's show stage right, about ten feet or so back from
Page's grand piano, on the floor.

The first set of tonight's show was one of the most incredible sets of
improvisational rock music that I've ever heard or seen. Everything
was well-played, with beautiful, moving, mystical solos all over the
place. Kimock was **ON FIRE** in this set. His solos in everything
were GENIUS! Page also played some amazing, brilliant solos during
Dark Star, Favorite Things, and Birdsong, mostly on the grand piano.
Trey took a gorgeous solo during Birdsong, too! It was a spectacular
set and you MUST hear it as soon as possible. The jam out of "Days
Between" was incredible, too. Kimock went off. He led a jam out of
it that is NOTHING like what you've usually heard in this tune! My
favorite set of the run, easily. (for those of you that don't know,
Kimock's band KVHW plays "It's Up to You" -- a Kimock original -- and
"My Favorite Things (instr.)" regularly)

The setbreak music was Floyd's "Wish You Were Here." Once again, very
appropriate. And quite nice! A huge THANK YOU to whomever it was
that made this choice (if you want any KVHW tapes, I'd like to miracle
a few on you!).

The second set contained some awe-inspiring jams, to be sure, and was
a lot of fun overall... but there were several sloppy errors (probably
due simply to exhaustion). I know *I* was exhausted, and I hadn't
even been working the last few nights!

The Terrapin was very shaky in the composed sections (i.e., the set
opened weakly, imo), but the jam segment was TRANSCENDENT, with
captivating soloing from Kimock, and lots of Dark Star teasing (and
great playing overall) from Trey.

Phish fans in particular MUST hear this "Down with Disease." Phil
played a variation of the real bass line of the song, and Molo played
a variation of the real groove of the song, and Kimock didn't
contribute much at all... BUT *DAMN* DID TREY TAKE A VOLCANIC SOLO!!
Both Kimock and Lesh gave Trey looks of admiration for his efforts!
An excellent version, which, if memory serves, just sorta petered out,
until Phil kicked in Dark Star. (?) I can't remember this segue,
though. Might be wrong about this.

Dark Star's second verse and jam were wonderful, as you'd expect.
Phil then let loose a bunch of bombs which, to me and many others,
signaled THE OTHER ONE! However, before I could get into the zone, it
suddenly ended. I'm very interested in listening to this again on
tape. My eyes were closed at this time during the show, and I wasn't
sure what happened. It just stopped. Dead. And then Phil began
FOTD, after a few seconds.

"Friend of the Devil" contained a brief (but very uncomfortable)
moment of silence (I think Phil almost forgot, or did forget, some
lyrics), but it nevertheless featured passionate solos from both Trey
and Page! I don't recall Kimock soloing on the Vega at all in this
one.

"Casey Jones" amused the audience a great deal, but this version
didn't go anywhere special. It was definitely a good choice for the
setlist, though, to be sure. Crowd-pleaser. I hadn't seen it live
since 6/20/92 RFK.

MORNING DEW!!!!! Oh, MORNING DEW!!!!!! Just you wait. I won't give
it away. You'll just have to check it out.

GDTRFB was a lot of fun. I was exhausted but still trying to dance
(well, ok, Head&Knee-Bob). I can't recall whether anyone raged during
this one... it definitely wasn't the "best version I'd ever heard" or
anything close, though. Good segue into AWBYG, which was too short.
Just one verse I think. The last time that I saw this live was
9/26/91 at the Boston Garden! I don't know if the Dead ever played it
again, come to think of it..).

Box of Rain was a pleasant encore. God I love Phil! THANK YOU PHIL!

All things considered, this run of shows was, well, one of the best
musical experiences of my entire life. And I'm seeing SANTANA at the
FILLMORE TONIGHT! (thanks, Web!) I've been blessed!

Again, special THANKS TO PHIL LESH AND THE UNBROKEN CHAIN FOUNDATION
for making these soon-to-be-legendary shows a reality. And THANK YOU
STEVE, TREY, PAGE, AND JOHN!

two cents,
charlie

p.s. I, charles andrew dirksen, being of sound mind, hereby express
an irrevocable desire that my organs be donated upon my death, in
honor of Phil Lesh, this day, the 18th of April, in the year nineteen
hundred and ninety-nine. [signed]


crow...@ix.netcom.com

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Apr 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/18/99
to
Well again, since I was at last night's show, I'll comment on your review
and add things I think of that you didn't comment on.

Charles Dirksen wrote:

> (snip about person who was dancing wildly on Thursday)

> I spent tonight's show stage right, about ten feet or so back from
> Page's grand piano, on the floor.

I must have been pretty close to you because I was on the floor against
the railing on Page's side. Some serious human pressure being in that
crowd.

> The first set of tonight's show was one of the most incredible sets of
> improvisational rock music that I've ever heard or seen.

Hmm. I definitely thought Thursday's first set was better. The first set
last night sounded like they were a bit (and understandably) tired, unlike
Thursday's first set. Thursday's first set started off with a raging
Viola Lee Blues and the energy stayed at that level for just about the
whole show. Last night's first set was a much mellower set.

> Everything
> was well-played, with beautiful, moving, mystical solos all over the
> place. Kimock was **ON FIRE** in this set.

Hmm (again). I didn't get the sense that anyone was *on fire* on that
first set though it was still enjoyable.

> His solos in everything
> were GENIUS! Page also played some amazing, brilliant solos during
> Dark Star, Favorite Things, and Birdsong, mostly on the grand piano.

Yeah I was really impressed with Page's playing and wish I heard more of
it (despite him playing a bigger role in last night's show than
Thursday's). He's does play beautiful stuff. I was digging it big time
whenever he was the prominent player.

> Trey took a gorgeous solo during Birdsong, too! It was a spectacular
> set and you MUST hear it as soon as possible. The jam out of "Days
> Between" was incredible, too.

I thought that the Days Between did not work at all with Phil on vocals.
Maybe I'm too used to Jerry on it though I'll admit it's also not one of
my favorite Dead tunes (too long and never really goes anywhere
musically). I'm only talking about the singing part of it, not the jam as
I don't specifically remember the jam out of it.

I also thought Phil's vocal phrasing on Half Step was off (he was coming
in one beat too late where he sings "Half Step Mississippi ..." so that he
had to rush that phrase to get back in correct time) which kind of threw
everybody off a little.

> Kimock went off. He led a jam out of
> it that is NOTHING like what you've usually heard in this tune! My
> favorite set of the run, easily.

Really? Amazing how different our takes on it are. I thought it was the
weakest (though I wasn't at Friday's show and am assuming both of those
sets raged). I was hoping they'd go way out on the Dark Star but instead
got a jazzy somewhat mellow impotent Dark Star that never lifted off the
runway. I thought very little got off the runway in the first set other
than the My Favorite Things jam (really dug Page's playing on that one).
I enjoyed the first set but you obviously enjoyed it a lot more than I
did.

> The second set contained some awe-inspiring jams, to be sure, and was
> a lot of fun overall... but there were several sloppy errors (probably
> due simply to exhaustion). I know *I* was exhausted, and I hadn't
> even been working the last few nights!

But the second set had a lot more energy than the first IMO and I
certainly got into it a lot more in the second set overall.

> The Terrapin was very shaky in the composed sections (i.e., the set
> opened weakly, imo), but the jam segment was TRANSCENDENT, with
> captivating soloing from Kimock, and lots of Dark Star teasing (and
> great playing overall) from Trey.

It was shaky at parts leading up to the "Inspiration ..." part but from
that point on, it smoked. It was a joy to see Donna up there harmonizing
on it. Then Trey, on the jam after the final vocals, really pushed the
show to an excitement level it hadn't reached yet.

> Phish fans in particular MUST hear this "Down with Disease."

Easily the best song of the night for me (and I know only a few Phish
songs and this isn't one of them). It finally pushed the show over the
line into the raging zone that it hadn't reached up to that point for me
(except for the last half of Terrapin).

> Phil
> played a variation of the real bass line of the song, and Molo played
> a variation of the real groove of the song, and Kimock didn't
> contribute much at all...

Yeah I noticed Phil having a blast with that tune (along with Trey).

> BUT *DAMN* DID TREY TAKE A VOLCANIC SOLO!!
> Both Kimock and Lesh gave Trey looks of admiration for his efforts!

Trey clobbered that one. I was finally loving it as the show went up a
few notches on this tune. Try was on fire! That was the highpoint of the
show IMO.

> An excellent version, which, if memory serves, just sorta petered out,
> until Phil kicked in Dark Star. (?) I can't remember this segue,
> though. Might be wrong about this.

> Dark Star's second verse and jam were wonderful, as you'd expect.

I thought it was a short Dark Star jam that never went anywhere and was
surprised they went back into it given that they had started it in the
first set.

> Phil then let loose a bunch of bombs which, to me and many others,
> signaled THE OTHER ONE! However, before I could get into the zone, it
> suddenly ended.

Yeah it was too short. I would have liked to see them rage on it but it
just put it's head above the water for a few seconds then went under
again.

> I'm very interested in listening to this again on
> tape. My eyes were closed at this time during the show, and I wasn't
> sure what happened. It just stopped. Dead. And then Phil began
> FOTD, after a few seconds.
>
> "Friend of the Devil" contained a brief (but very uncomfortable)
> moment of silence (I think Phil almost forgot, or did forget, some
> lyrics), but it nevertheless featured passionate solos from both Trey
> and Page! I don't recall Kimock soloing on the Vega at all in this
> one.

Yeah I really dug this Friend of the Devil. Page was the star of it and
really showed what an incredible musician he is.

> "Casey Jones" amused the audience a great deal, but this version
> didn't go anywhere special.

Defnitely disagree on this one (seems we had completely different views on
much of this show). Casey Jones, like the earlier Phish tune, pushed the
show into the raging zone. I heard them noodling on it before it started
and I thought it sounded like it but figured I was wrong. Well they not
only did it but they smoked it! Trey's vocals were excellent, inspired,
and a joy to listen to. Then he took an excellent Jerry-like solo
leading to a nice little jam. The ending singing part of Casey Jones
("driving that train hiiiiigh on cocaine ...) with everyone including
Donna screaming their lungs out and really going for it was a definite
highlight of this show for me.

> It was definitely a good choice for the
> setlist, though, to be sure. Crowd-pleaser.
>

> MORNING DEW!!!!! Oh, MORNING DEW!!!!!! Just you wait. I won't give
> it away. You'll just have to check it out.

Yep that was a sweet one. I thought Kimock really shined on this one when
he took the baton from Trey. Definitely Kimock's highpoint of the show
for me.

> GDTRFB was a lot of fun. I was exhausted but still trying to dance
> (well, ok, Head&Knee-Bob). I can't recall whether anyone raged during
> this one... it definitely wasn't the "best version I'd ever heard" or
> anything close, though.

It was a little shaky at points but still had lots of exhilirating
moments, especially the last half of it and was another reason why I
enjoyed the second set much more than the first. Again a real joy hearing
and singing Donna (with everyone else along) screaming on it. I was so
glad to see her up there. Thanks Donna for showing up.

> Good segue into AWBYG, which was too short.
> Just one verse I think.

Yeah it would have been nice to hear a somewhat fuller version. Last
night's was a throwaway version but I suppose they didn't know it very
well. I was hoping for a real gospel-inspired version.

> Box of Rain was a pleasant encore. God I love Phil! THANK YOU PHIL!

Yeah it was sweet to hear Box as always.

> All things considered, this run of shows was, well, one of the best
> musical experiences of my entire life.

I really dug seeing the two shows I saw (I was pleasantly surprised that
the amount of chatting during the quieter points of the music was much
lower than Thursday's) As I said, I definitely thought Thursday's was the
better of the two but still had a blast at last nights (TK, if you're
reading this, thanks for the tickets!). Were they the greatest concerts
I've ever been to? No they were damn good with some special music in a
special venue with some special people collaborating so it definitely will
hold a special place in my memory of concerts I've attended.

> Again, special THANKS TO PHIL LESH AND THE UNBROKEN CHAIN FOUNDATION
> for making these soon-to-be-legendary shows a reality. And THANK YOU
> STEVE, TREY, PAGE, AND JOHN!

I agree and thanks also to Donna (was great seeing you!) and to all the
crew, the lighting, and sound people who helped put it on.

> two cents,
> charlie
>
> p.s. I, charles andrew dirksen, being of sound mind, hereby express
> an irrevocable desire that my organs be donated upon my death, in
> honor of Phil Lesh, this day, the 18th of April, in the year nineteen
> hundred and ninety-nine. [signed]

Well I've got my red donor circle sticker on my driver's license but
getting something in writing and alerting those close to me of my wishes
too wouldn't be a bad idea.

Bill

Mark M. Mortensun

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Apr 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/19/99
to

--
Thank you Charlie, you put a smile on Martha's face.

Nice reviews, look forward to seeing you at KVHW and others. You doing Palookaville?

Your friend,

Mark Mortensun


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