Happy Birthday Vince Welnick: With Phil Lesh & Friends In 1998


Today marks what would have been the birthday of the final keyboardist for the Grateful Dead, the late Vince Welnick, who tragically took his own life in 2006 at the age of 55. After honing his skills with the popular Bay Area group The Tubes, Welnick was responsible for bringing such later-career songs to the Dead’s live repertoire as “Samba In The Rain” and “Way To Go Home.” Though his relationship with the band became strained in years following Jerry Garcia’s unexpected death in 1995, Vince was part of the group when they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame the year before.

In celebration of Vince today, here’s a look back at a show he performed with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh back on March 26, 1998 at The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. Welnick was enlisted that night as part of Phil Lesh & Friends lineup that also included drummer Scott Amendola, guitarists Stan Franks and Gary Lambert and saxophonist Bobby Strickland. The Fillmore performance was just the second Phil & Friends-billed show following the Dead’s breakup.

Welnick can be heard leading the ensemble through first set covers of a jammed-out “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison and his reggae arrangement of the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody.” The second set saw Vince guiding the band through his “Golden Days” and flourishes of “Dark Star” sequenced between an “A Love Supreme” jam and renditions of “Gimme Some Lovin,’” “Days Between” and Lesh’s “Box Of Rain.”

Give a listen to the entire show including the “It’s All Too Much” and “Ripple” encores taped by Jill & Rob Rightmyer below:

Setlist (via Philzone)

Set One: Alligator > Hard to Handle, Astral Weeks, Jack-a-Roe, True Blue, Blue Sky, To Love Somebody, Cosmic Charlie

Set Two: Broken Arrow, Golden Days, Baba O’Riley > Tomorrow Never Knows > A Love Supreme Jam > Dark Star Jam > Gimme Some Lovin’ > Dark Star Jam > Days Between > Dark Star Jam > Box of Rain

Encore: It’s All Too Much

Encore Two: Ripple