Most Important Shows of The Decade

Phil & Friends | 12/31/00
Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium | Oakland, CA

Photo of Gordon, Herring, Lesh & Haynes on NYE 2000 in Oakland by Dave Vann
In no small way, this night was the relaunch of The Grateful Dead NYE tradition. Despite the fact that RatDog had been playing December 31st since 1998, after numerous lineups, Phil Lesh & Friends settled into a stunning aggregate in 2000 that happily reminded many diehards why this music endures. The Dead tribe had set their calendars for decades around where the band would land on key dates like NYE, Mardi Gras, etc. and the buzz leading up to this evening had the same run-away-to-the-circus, butterflies-in-the-tummy vibe that The Grateful Dead always engendered. "The Quintet," as they came to be known, of Lesh (bass, vocals), Warren Haynes (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Herring (guitar), Rob Barraco (keys, vocals) and John Molo (drums) attacked this music like it was alive – rangy and unruly like days of old – and that in turn put the electrodes to this beloved catalog. For perhaps the first time since Jerry Garcia passed, it felt like there was a real tomorrow for this music. The heightened atmosphere was further elevated by the recent passing of Allen Woody, putting the future of Gov't Mule in question and leaving Haynes and Matt Abts to open the night as an acoustic duo. Toss in several guest turns by Mike Gordon, which poignantly reminded one that Phish was not holding their annual NYE festivities, and you had a gathering that directly and indirectly grappled with death and rebirth in stirring ways. (Dennis Cook)

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