Phil Lesh & Friends Close Phil-O-Ween Capitol Theatre Residency
Members of Dawes, Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, Nicki Bluhm, Grahame Lesh and M.C. Taylor were part of the weekend's festivities.
Phil Lesh & Friends wrapped a months long residency at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York with a three-night Phil-O-Ween run culminating with a show on Halloween. The first two concerts saw the Grateful Dead bassist joined by Hiss Golden Messenger’s MC Taylor (making his Phil & Friends debut) alongside members of Dawes, Nicki Bluhm and Phil’s son Grahame Lesh. Halloween night saw Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams taking part in place of Taylor.
All three nights featured Dawes members Taylor Goldsmith and Trever Menear on guitar, Lee Pardini on keyboards and Griffin Goldsmith on drums. Halloween night began with Grahame Lesh leading the collective on a “Playing In The Band” that stretched out to a lengthy opening jam. “Tennessee Jed” and The Band’s “This Wheel’s on Fire.” Campbell, who worked closely with The Band drummer Levon Helm, switched from guitar to mandolin for a performance of what would be the first of two “wolf” songs, the Dead classic “Dire Wolf.”
Bluhm and Willams then sang lead on the Motown classic “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You).” The first set closed with “Bertha” followed by Williams leading a scorching cover of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning.”
Lesh and his cohorts started the final set of his nine-show October residency at The Cap with a pairing of “Scarlet Begonias” and a Menear-sung “Sugaree” that combined to take up 30 minutes. The subsequent “Here Comes Sunshine” led to another dose of sprawling improvisation that landed on the Taylor Goldsmith-sung “Standing On The Moon.” Phil then led the ensemble through his “Unbroken Chain” which opened up into another expansive improvised sequence.
Campbell played violin as the set moved on to “Terrapin Station.” The band then paired a rolling “I Know You Rider” with a set-closing version of “River Deep, Mountain High.” Phil’s usual heartfelt plea for organ donation came ahead of the encore. In typical Dead Halloween fashion, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London” kicked off the encore, with the lyrics altered to mention Phil and The Cap’s Peter Shapiro. Lesh’s residency at The Cap ended with the reflective “Ripple.”
Highlights from the prior two Phil-o-Ween shows included MC Taylor singing lead on first set versions of “Ship Of Fools” on Saturday and “Candyman” during his Phil & Friends debut on Friday. Saturday’s second set was anchored by “Uncle John’s Band” into “Shakedown Street” into “The Wheel” and a gorgeous “Eyes Of The World” joined with “The Music Never Stopped.” Friday’s second set presented an uninterrupted run through “Help On The Way” into “Slipknot!” into “Box Of Rain” into “Wharf Rat” back into “Slipknot!” and finally into “Franklin’s Tower,” along with other musical treats.
Watch pro-shot video of the set openers of all three Phil-o-Ween shows at The Capitol Theatre and listen to audience recordings taped by David Dyche below: