PHIL LESH'S PHISH PHRY

Listen to the show from Archive.org while you read.

Words by Brian Bavosa

Phil Lesh & Friends :: 02.12.06 :: Beacon Theatre :: New York, NY

Sometimes, "One man gathers what another man spills." With the passing of Jerry Garcia in 1995, bands like Phish were forever vaulted to superstar status, perhaps sooner than expected — or perhaps, at exactly the right moment. Trey Anastasio was born on September 30th, 1964, while Phil Lesh performed his first gig with the Warlocks, who would become the Grateful Dead a mere year and a half later. And while Anastasio was still in diapers, Lesh began to solidify his status as one of the most influential counterculture icons in history. Sunday witnessed a creative collaboration of two generations, two different mindsets, two different schools — with a hell of a result.


P. Lesh :: The Beacon by R. Chapman
As if Saturday night's show at The Beacon wasn't enough incentive to brave the elements and make Sunday night's show, then certainly the free hot chocolate promised upon arrival was. There has been a lot of speculation concerning special guests this run, and everyone who actually made it to 74th and Broadway knew something of a reward was in order. The emergence of former Phish front man, Trey Anastasio, made the roughly 80% filled Beacon erupt. Trey replaced Barry Sless, and was joined by Phil Lesh (bass), Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, etc.), Jeff Sipe (drums), Rob Barraco (keyboards), and Joan Osborne (vocals).

Is there any better way to OPEN a show than with "Help On The Way" > "Slipknot!" > "Franklin's Tower?" Ever since my first Grateful Dead show in 1994, I have enamored this trio, and "Franklin's Tower" is my favorite tune in the world. (Heck, it's even engraved on the back of my iPod... "If you get confused, just listen to the music play!") Jesus had the three kings; I've got this holy triumvirate. Seeing my favorite guitarist sing and play my favorite song was a truly memorable moment, and there was fierce playing by all to kick off the night.


Trey Anastasio by Adam George
Trey sang "Up On Cripple Creek," and during this tune the entire venue came to understand that there would be some extremely creative collaborations throughout the night. It really seemed as if Trey was having a good time. His solo was typical Big Red: high-flying. The dueling guitars at the end was fiery too, with Barraco adding just the right amount of rainbow sprinkles to this ice cream-coned treat.

A smooth segue into "They Love Each Other" started out soft and slow, with a unique touch and Phil on lead vocals. The song took an interesting turn, picking up speed like a snowball. The end seemed to be exceptionally fast-paced, and Trey was shredding. I remember thinking that one of the most delicate tunes was now being torn apart by the man who wrote "Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars." Got to love that irony. They managed to strip it down and take it in a completely new direction. The jam was fire-breathing hot and would have melted the snow outside. It led smoothly into a prominent four or five minute jam of "Cold Rain and Snow." This was the obvious call for the night, and as I looked around, I saw lots of smiling faces realizing the vindication of a long trek in horrific weather is a dish (or in this case, a cup) best served hot (chocolate).


J. Osborne :: The Beacon by R. Chapman
Luckily, "Loose Lucy" was started, and Barraco gave every ounce of energy he had to the lead vocals. This is a really groovy tune and had the entire audience shouting the chorus in unison, "Thank you for a real good time!"

"Buckets of Rain," a Bob Dylan cover, slowed the pace and featured a delicately beautiful vocal exchange between Trey and Joan Osborne. The chemistry between these two was obvious and seemed to reach a climax here. Picture Trey singing "Dirt" or "Driver" with a soulful, sexy singer adding a little hot sauce to the mix. After seeing Osborne with Phil about ten times now, it is clear that she is gaining more confidence with each and every show. After the song, the two embraced and marked another memorable collaboration that many would have laughed at ten years ago.

The set-closer was another Dylan tune, "All Along the Watchtower." I have not seen Trey play this song since 10.22.96 with Merle Saunders and Buddy Miles. He took a fierce solo and interacted with Barraco nicely, as they seemed to do all night. But Joan and Larry stole this one. In fact, Campbell (an ex-Dylan band mate) ripped a great solo and really seemed to take off from there. This was a great way to close an unbelievable first set.

Set II was just a monster. Buckle your seatbelt, clear your calendar, and prepare to ride Space Mountain; we might not be back for a while.


Phil Lesh & Friends :: The Beacon by R. Chapman
"St. Stephen" opened the set, and it looked like Trey had waited a very long time to get the chance to play this (again). He definitely soared in all of "St. Stephen's" triumphant glory, playing heavy solos that had me picturing a dog chasing his tail until it fell down, defeated.

"What Sin" (Ryan Adams) saw Campbell take the lead, and he was solid. This led into the first of many exploratory jams that just seemed to take off in a direction completely unknown. It was bluesy, and (d)evolved, with Barraco and Campbell leading the way, eventually landing in a Phil-driven "Cryptical Envelopment."

The "Cryptical Envelopment" > "Jam" featured Phil dropping his signature bass-bombs and Trey again soloing like he had been part of this lineup for years. It included many peaks and valleys, but it still allowed room to maneuver. Things really progressed towards a dirty guitar duel, with Barraco playing over the top and Lesh and Sipe holding down the bottom. This jam truly was a locomotive barreling down the line at full steam. Then, like a snake, things turned dark fast and morphed dangerously into "Dark Star."


Trey Anastasio by Adam George
"Dark Star (1st verse)" > "Jam" was spacey and intense, featured Campbell on violin, and had Trey playing loops that were eerily similar to "What's The Use." This led to a "Truckin'" tease before slamming into "The Other One." This is also the first time in ten years that I realized Jeff Sipe (a.k.a. Apt. Q258) was more filling on the skins than bread pudding. The "Jam" featured some more space, tinkling, and violin, with Phil steering this intergalactic starship back into "Dark Star." This led into another monster jam, which left me completely and utterly exhausted from about an hour-long, mind-melting journey.

After the second jam, the band finally landed on somewhat solid footing and went into my second-favorite Dead tune, "Eyes of the World." This song, like "Franklin's," holds special significance to me as I often drew inspiration from it during my formative years. With Trey singing the lead, I could not help but smile and think about the manner in which life comes full circle: my favorite current guitar player ripping one of my favorite songs of the past.

One final segue landed in "Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad." Another catchy song, it was marred by guitar problems for Trey that left him looking somewhat naked and awkward as he harmonized the end. I thought that was the set-closer, but an absolute rocker was still in store. The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" just floored the crowd. It was an all-out firestorm full of electric energy.

After Barraco gave the donor rap, because Phil had lost his voice, came another unexpected highlight: "Wolfman's Brother." For the first time in a year and a half, my body involuntarily seemed to perform my patented "Wolfman's Hop."

Hello, old friend.


Osborne & Lesh :: The Beacon by R. Chapman
No big jam ensued, but I was now watching the man who wrote "Box of Rain" play one of my favorite Phish songs, again pulling a complete 360. Truly all boundaries had come crashing down. If that wasn't enough, Trey then introduced long-time photographer Danny Clinch and thanked Phil. I had heard Clinch at the Coventry sound check with Phish and knew he could play a mean harmonica. "Midnight Hour" saw him do just that. Joan asked him to play some more, and the latest incarnation of "Phil's Friends" made the transition back out into the cold New York night just a little bit easier.

This show marked so much more than just amazing jamming. It truly was a legendary collaboration. I realized last night just why I continue to go to shows, why I try to spread the knowledge I have attained from them, and why I truly am the way that I am. I watched a grandfather of the scene steer a ship that included a Bob Dylan guitarist, a confident leading lady, a madman who calls himself Apt. Q258, and the prince of Jambands, and he still, somehow, pieced it all together into a night of magical, exploratory music.

JamBase | NYC
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[Published on: 2/21/06]

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Comments

Greenjah starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/17/2006 06:21PM
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Greenjah

Brian - what else can one say - Wow! What an incredible evening of music -and captured so well in your words and photos.

I've said it a million times, and I'll say it again: Phil Lesh has no peers, he is alone, at the top, looking down, the master. And his shit is just getting better as the years go by.

Scotty Greene
www.the101report.com



torn&treyed starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/17/2006 09:20PM
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this guy is my kind of guy, he doesnt play favorites, its like they are all his favs. A hard core dead guy might have passed trey off, and a brash young phish guy may not have acknowledged everyone else as much. Also nice usage of the term big red...

theivywall starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/17/2006 10:32PM
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theivywall

wow, that show sounds lethal to the ego and natal to the soul. good stuff.

Chaloupka Sat 2/18/2006 08:12AM
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Chaloupka

Sick! Sick! Sick! When can I get my hands on a copy of this?

phhil starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 09:10AM
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phhil

wow this sounds amazing! great article!

christmaskaty starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 09:51AM
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Thanks Brian, great article! I almost feel like I was there.

PhishyManDan starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 10:11AM
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I'm jealous I didn't get to see this show!!! Last night at the Hammerstein was a little lame - I went with my dad, and it was so shamelessly oversold that we had to leave about 3/4 of the way through the first set!!

That being said, the only song that truly jammed was the first one. Was there anything ubelievable that I missed??

fydo1974 starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 10:29AM
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fydo1974

Great review, sounds it was an awesome show! Here's hoping that Phil releases it as a free soundboard. :)

JohnVoss starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 01:04PM
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JohnVoss

WOW!!!! Being in Texas (and in college) keeps me away from alot of these NYC shows, but what a great article. Wish i could have been there.

jerbear87 starstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 01:30PM
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Even though all of you trey-haters out there cant see trey jamming anymore....well hers your proof. I suggest D-loading the show and taking a listen, its wonderful. Phil looks good though (for 66). Trey is doing now what Clapton did in the 70's. Trying to make a name for himself as a solo rock artist. If the road Trey is on right now keeps progressing, then he will achieve similar status as ol' slowhand did. Wouldn't you rather have eveybody hear about and listning to Trey than say Britiany Spears, Christina, and all that other pop bullshit garbage thats ruing the moral fabric of our society. Id much rather have my buddy come up to me and ask me about Trey than say... Blink-182.
Good Vibes my friends
Bo

jimvrountree starstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 03:00PM
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just a few things about this article:


trey didn't write "big black furry creature from mars", mike gordon did.

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 03:09PM
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RothburyWithCheese

This show sounded incredible! I am downloading as I type this. Kudos to Trey and Phil for letting the world hear this. Long live the Dead and for all the Trey haters out there, I got two words for you: SHUT UP!!! Jerry is smiling :-)

laurenantioco starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 08:05PM
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That is so sick that Trey played with Phil, I wish I could have been there. Great article Brian, really descriptive. See you soon.
Lauren

Lucid_Interval starstarstarstar Sat 2/18/2006 09:48PM
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I can only imagine what it must have been like when Trey walked out on stage... I dont think anyone is going to deny that this show was most likely INCREDIBLE

rulosa01 starstarstarstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 12:19AM
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Good God!

apaloosa starstarstarstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 02:03AM
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I'm jealous.

SeanHiltonHead starstarstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 10:13AM
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Well done.. I'm jealous that I wasn't there.

nomemory starstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 12:17PM
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nomemory

sounds like a sick show. I guess we can expect trey to step in with phil at bonnaroo since he'll be there with oysterhead as well.

Just one correction: Bob Weir wrote Box of Rain, not Phil Lesh.

PurpleGanja Sun 2/19/2006 01:50PM
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damn, defenitly makes me wish i made the journey. from chi town that is

BurbonSong starstarstarstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 04:13PM
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BurbonSong

this was such a great article to read... did a great job to describe the night

MattGmoney starstarstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 05:27PM
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That sounds too good to be true! I still love Trey, and to see him back in the swing of things (albeit temporarily) with a band as great as Phil & Friends (in all forms) is refreshing. It seems like Trey is at his best these days when collaborating. Keep it up!!

cahan starstarstarstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 05:35PM
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I want to thank you for this article. From the time the doors opened it was clear this was going to be a special night. After coming in from Seattle I was thrilled to see Trey. I want to add how jovial, kind, open, and excited he was for the evening. What a gentle soul. What a great combo. Eric

mattdred25 Sun 2/19/2006 11:07PM
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Nomemory, Phil wrote Box of Rain just as the article suggests. Not Bob Weir.

treetops78 starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 06:50AM
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treetops78

I agree, when Trey gets together on colab with people, magic transpires. Got to enjoy him with Claypool's band while he was in town recording that album at Treesounds. Looking forward to seeing Oysterhead again in Roo.

BTW, Not to be a total dork, but Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics to Box of Rain and Phil Lesh wrote the music. Cool.

4TrainDaze starstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 06:54AM
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Great article. One thing - "nomemory" said, as a correction, that Bobby wrote "Box of Rain", not Phil. unfortunately, you are incorrect. Phil did indeed pen "Box of Rain", most of it while driving to and from visiting his ailing father. He wrote the chords, melodies, and even had the cadence of the words mapped out; Hunter used tapes of Phil humming / singing these melodies to write the lyrics. I get this from reliable sources, ie "The Long Strange Trip" by D. McNally and the tv-documentary "Anthem to Beauty". Not trying to one-up or be nit-picking; I just want the credit for my favorite song to be doled out correctly. Thanks.

theragman starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 07:59AM
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crazy.

i'd go to New York for that.
great article.

p.s. Box Of Rain (Lesh/Hunter)

phattyphreakin starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 08:31AM
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You can listen to the show on archive.org. musically its really good, lyrically its not that tight but still awesome to hear all those songs w/trey

Luthur starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 08:50AM
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Just to clarify ... Box of Rain was written by Robert Hunter, music by Lesh.

whoknowswhy Mon 2/20/2006 10:00AM
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Nomemory actually Robert Hunter wrote Box Of Rain and Phil Lesh wrote the music. Its the name of Hunters book for crying out loud.

Kindskatz Mon 2/20/2006 10:08AM
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Kindskatz


Listening to the show right now, it wasn't up on Archive when I last checked but it is now, sounds awesome so far.



Great article. Very descriptive and captivating.



And to nomemory: You're wrong, Phil did indeed write Box of Rain.

rjkeats starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 10:41AM
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I think its time the Dead go on tour with Trey. What a blast that would be.

Adam T.s. Mon 2/20/2006 12:44PM
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Adam T.s.

hmm? Trey with the dead. Treyful Dead. Would be sweet.

Melian Mon 2/20/2006 01:07PM
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Sounds like an awesome show, and my jaw dropped when I saw they did "Gimme Shelter." Damn, I wish I had been there!!

BiscuitBum Mon 2/20/2006 04:43PM
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BiscuitBum

Its a good show but not mind blowing. Hate trey.. But i cant hate on him when he's playing GD songs. I miss Jimmy Herring... Blow trey out of the water any day.

roberto767 starstarstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 09:57PM
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roberto767

To Kindskatz: I just finished reading Phil's autobiography and Robert Hunter did write the lyrics to Box of Rain, while Phil wrote the music. If you don't believe me you can check Phil's book (a very interesting read by the way).

DeadHeadJosh78 starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/21/2006 06:54AM
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For the most part the sound problems are characteristic of the buildings not the people. We've been fortunate that we either get soundboards or recordings from acoustically sound buildings. I've come to accept these minor imperfections that I used to think of as major. With the recent upheavel within the Dead family, I'm happy to have anything that comes my way. I do understand the feelings of Bobby, Mickey and Bill and their considerations for the future, (both theirs and Grateful Dead inc.) As always I'm also greatful to Phil for thinking not only of business but us, the Heads. We created each other but I can find no fault in the decisions made by either camp, I respect them! How many other bands have given so freely of themselves, yet there are those who would call for a boycott of the Dead. How greedy are you? It seems that everybody wants a free ride and your expectations are unrealistic and ridiculous. How much has anyone had to pay for Stones tickets and when is the last time you recorded any free shows from Aerosmith?!?! Grow up and appreciate what we have been given. Personally, I am GRATEFUL to get to experience shows I'm unable to attend. I remain forever grateful to this website and the people who lovingly create these great pictures of time for ALL of us!!

EVILFUNK starstarstar Tue 2/21/2006 07:27AM
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EVILFUNK

once there was a time when you would overhear people saying 'wouldnt it be great if guys from the gratefuldead, phish and ARU played a show together' but, people didnt really expect it to ever happen. an old tour buddy of mine used to say that Phish was to weird to make it big. i guess it seemsd more likely they would go out like ARU did with the respect of musicians, artists and freaks but no recognition from the mainstream. another thing someone might have said at a phish show in the early 90s- 'if we could just get the dead to check out a phish show mabey we could be inspired to hold some rehearsals'

i have tried to tell deadheads about ARU for a long time. im glad they finaly feel like they should listen. I think it might be time for some WEST COAST ZAMBIE?

seancgard starstarstarstar Tue 2/21/2006 08:47AM
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According to the Phish Companion Trey was born 9/30/1964 and BBFCFM is a Mike Gordon original. Fun review of a cool show though.

oweno starstarstarstar Tue 2/21/2006 08:50AM
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Yes, Danny Clinch is great on harmonica (in addition to being a stellar photographer); he sat in quite a bit with Blind Melon including their performance at Woodstock...

bsclowds starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/21/2006 11:01AM
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excellent writing, thanks for giving me the chills

gotdharma Tue 2/21/2006 05:51PM
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how come no one told me about this ahead of time! i was in NYC for the weekend and made a conscious decision NOT to see this show ($$). A fool am I. Nice article, i also got the chills. I'm disappointed not only in myself but in all of you who didn't tell me i needed to go out of my way to see Phil and Friends again on this particular evening...

soxphan Wed 2/22/2006 07:21AM
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For all of you who heard of this band called Phish, when Big Cypress came around. Trey, Page, and Mike have played with Phil, and Bob before. trey and Page have headlined shows with "Phil and Friends". Members of Phish and The Dead have collaborated many times over the years.

Gonzo4566 starstarstarstar Wed 2/22/2006 10:16AM
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Sounds like it was an awesome show. I wish I could have been there. Oh well, I'll get my first chance to see Trey and Phil and friends at Roo this summer. I'm so excited to see Big Red.

So what's the deal with all the "Trey-haters?" I understand that everyone thinks he sold out, but I don't. I own 'Shine' and spin it frequently. I find myself enjoying something different than Phish.
Also, how can you hate someone who is such an amazing musician?

Cheers.

cocheese starstarstarstar Wed 2/22/2006 10:43AM
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cocheese

WOW! I am jealous of everyone that was there. 2nd set sounds like the heat to me. As far as who wrote "A Box of Rain" (my personal all time fav song) Hunter wrote this in his anthology of lyrics; "Phil Lesh wanted a song to sing to his dying father and had composed a piece complete with every vocal nuance but the words. If ever a lyric 'wrote itself,' this did--as fast as the pen would pull." You can check that out in THE COMPLETE ANNOTATED GRATEFUL DEAD LYRICS by DAVID DODD. This is an almost source of info for any DEADHEAD.

youngphan starstarstarstar Thu 2/23/2006 05:56AM
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DOWNLOAD THIS SHOW!!!
http://www.archive.org/audio/etree-details-db.php?id=33914
Got to love archive....

Unclebensband starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/28/2006 07:21AM
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Unclebensband

I'm really dissapointed I missed out on this show, I was a t a dr. john show that night in the city but i would def. rather saw trey and lesh

hellyeah Tue 2/28/2006 09:41PM
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wow captain kingfish, you must be the biggest phil fan to know even better than phil himself what it is he should play and who he should play with...

kidk starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/1/2006 11:40AM
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what an enjoyable article almost like i was there.Phil and Trey two guys that just want to play the way it's supposed to be no hype just the music hence the magic.Greenjah you've said it a million times and i agree.Seems that Phil's band is a little more interesting than bob's. Too bad they could'nt get it together just one tour with Trey.It would truly be a deadheads delight Trey not only has the licks but more importantly the attitude.

HelpSlipFrank Wed 3/1/2006 07:04PM
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Hey Kap'n King Fish, got any of that broken glass? I'd chew on it right now if I could attend this one.

bconant starstarstar Fri 3/3/2006 03:41PM
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mike gordon wrote BBFCFM but i guess you know that by now...i mean that's not the kind of thing you can just easily look up on any number of internet sites or anything

TimkoNug starstarstarstar Thu 3/16/2006 10:32AM
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TimkoNug

It took 5 hours on the trains for me to get to this show and the whole time, looking at all the snow that had fallen and the general "atmosphere" of everyone, I knew I was in for something special. And it was. Phil really let trey off the leash the second set. Really something worth downloading for a good car ride. The criptical was out of control with five or six tempo changes dropping in and out of diverse jams. Whenever you thought they were going to go into something else, it would just keep on growing, until it built to a complete rip, that the band had no way to get out of and desolved into some mechanical ticking that wond down to the darkstar. Then the set just continued to roll. The show was really one of those amazing experience with the music/crowd/environment that make you go to shows in the first place.

mudstock94 Sat 3/25/2006 04:03AM
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just saw Trey couple of months ago at the seattle paramount..........no intermissions...still standingup at the end..just got 10KFL tickets last week. Just read about PhilLesh and friends today . just frosting on the cake. can I use somebody's transporter to get me thru Idaho and Montana so all I have to do is wake up there

fsu420 Tue 3/28/2006 11:32AM
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Gonzo i couldnt agree with you more. people should definitely open their ears a lil bit and realize that trey is trying different things, and doing a fairly good job at it. my only advice would be trade that 200 dollar bonnaroo ticket for one to 10klf. Definitely the place to be this summer......

treehugginpanicfreak starstarstarstarstar Wed 4/5/2006 08:20AM
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Great Review! After reading I had to download this show and listen, and WOW! What a show. That Cryptical Envelopment is mind blowing! I love Phil, and his ever changing lineup of friends. Way to keep it fresh, Phil. And even though I am not a big Phish fan, Trey fits in nicely with this lineup and he deserves respect. There was definitely musical magic being made at the Beacon on this night!

happyhourhero43 starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/6/2006 08:06AM
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Great review. Even greater concert. Phil always does pick the best friends to play with and this lineup was no different. The Dark Star from that night, in my opinion was the best part. But what Dark Star ever played hasn't been good?