Mike Gordon & Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Help Phil Lesh Celebrate 84th Birthday At The Capitol Theatre

Watch footage from both extended encores and stream audio of each full concert.

By Scott Bernstein Mar 18, 2024 8:00 am PDT

Phil Lesh wrapped up a five-show run at The Capitol Theatre in celebration of his 84th birthday with concerts on Friday and Saturday. A new Phil Lesh & Friends lineup put together for the final two concerts was joined for the extended encores at the Port Chester, New York venue by special guests Phish bassist Mike Gordon on Phil’s actual birthday on Friday night and by Joe Russo’s Almost Dead on Saturday night.

The Grateful Dead bassist’s band on Friday and Saturday featured Phil on bass, guitarists Daniel Donato and Grahame Lesh, keyboardist/violinist Jason Crosby, vocalist Amy Helm and drummer John Molo. While each musician had performed with Phil multiple times in the past, Daniel Donato made his Phil Lesh & Friends debut.

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Phil Lesh & Friends came out of the gates with “Cosmic Charlie” on Friday. Donato then had his first chance in the vocal spotlight by singing “They Love Each Other” before Amy Helm fronted “Friend Of The Devil.” Next, the man celebrating his 84th birthday handled lead vocals on an expansive, 15-minute “Bird Song” ahead of a Donato-sung “Jack-A Roe” and beautiful set-closing “Brokedown Palace.”

The ensemble returned with Daniel Donato captaining “Promised Land” to get Friday’s second set underway. Phil then delivered one of his signature songs, “Box Of Rain,” to precede an adventurous “Viola Lee Blues” featuring “Bertha” within. The closing frame concluded with an “Eyes Of The World” fronted by Amy Helm that scored high on the quantity and quality scales.

Capitol Theatre owner Peter Shapiro emerged at the start of Friday’s encore. “You’re a fucking inspiration to all of us,” Shapiro said of Lesh before bringing out Mike Gordon and Phil’s grandson Levon to present the bassist with a birthday cake. Gordon stuck around to add second bass to a run of Grateful Dead classics “Estimated Prophet,” “Let It Grow” and “Sugar Magnolia.” Mike Gordon handled lead vocals on the latter.

Watch fan-shot footage of Mike Gordon joining Phil Lesh & Friends below:


00:00:00
monihampton (See 47 videos)
Phil Lesh (See 154 videos) , Phil Lesh & Friends (See 304 videos) , Daniel Donato (See 50 videos) , John Molo (See 134 videos) , Grahame Lesh (See 77 videos) , Amy Helm (See 53 videos) , Jason Crosby (See 89 videos) and Mike Gordon (See 64 videos)
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00:00:00
monihampton (See 47 videos)
Phil Lesh (See 154 videos) , Phil Lesh & Friends (See 304 videos) , Daniel Donato (See 50 videos) , John Molo (See 134 videos) , Grahame Lesh (See 77 videos) , Amy Helm (See 53 videos) , Jason Crosby (See 89 videos) and Mike Gordon (See 64 videos)

Daniel Donato helmed “Dire Wolf” to kick off the celebratory run’s final show. Phil Lesh & Friends then romped through “Cumberland Blues,” a Phil-sung “Cold Rain & Snow” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” belted out by Amy Helm. Daniel Donato showed off his singing and instrumental skills on the ensuing “Candyman.” From there, Phil and Grahame exchanged vocals on the set-closing “Jack Straw.”

“Loser” began the last set of the run with Donato on lead vocals. A euphoric and well-jammed “Not Fade Away” followed. Next, the ensemble took “Dark Star” front a ride before landing on “Morning Dew.” Grahame Lesh and Amy Helm shared vocal duties on the protest song with Crosby moving between keys and violin. The ensemble paired “Samson & Delilah” and “Uncle John’s Band” to conclude the frame.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, sans bassist Dave Dreiwitz, teamed with Phil Lesh for Saturday’s encore. Namesake drummer Joe Russo, guitarists Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton and keyboardist Marco Benevento joined Phil on “Truckin'” and “Touch Of Grey.” The rest of Phil’s “Friends” then came out to punctuate the concert and run with “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad” and a “Not Fade Away” reprise. PhilRAD previously shared the stage during a 2014 New Year’s Run at The Cap.

Check out a clip of JRAD and Phil Lesh & Friends’ “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad” captured by Joe Madonna below:


00:00:00
Joe Madonna
Phil Lesh (See 154 videos) , Phil Lesh & Friends (See 304 videos) , Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (See 400 videos) , Daniel Donato (See 50 videos) , Amy Helm (See 53 videos) , John Molo (See 134 videos) , Jason Crosby (See 89 videos) , Grahame Lesh (See 77 videos) and Amy Helm (See 53 videos)

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Setlists & Audience Recordings

Friday, March 15 (via Keith Litzenberger)

Set One: Cosmic Charlie, They Love Each Other, Friend Of The Devil, Bird Song, Jack-A-Roe, Brokedown Palace

Set Two: Promised Land, Box Of Rain, Viola Lee Blues > Bertha > Viola Lee Blues, Eyes Of The World

Encore: Estimated Prophet*, Let It Grow*, Sugar Magnolia*

* – w/ Mike Gordon


Saturday, March 16 (via Cam Keough)

Set One: Dire Wolf, Cumberland Blues, Cold Rain & Snow, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Candyman, Jack Straw

Set Two: Loser, Not Fade Away, Dark Star > Morning Dew, Samson & Delilah, Uncle John’s Band

Encore: Truckin’* > Touch Of Grey**, Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad** > Not Fade Away (Reprise) **

  • * – Performed by Phil Lesh, Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, Joe Russo and Marco Benevento
  • ** – Phil Lesh, Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Grahame Lesh, John Molo, Jason Crobsy, Amy Helm, Daniel Donato

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