Phil Lesh, Wilco Members & More Present Philco At Sacred Rose

Watch Philco go from “Shakedown Street” to a fiery “Viola Lee Blues.”

By Nate Todd Aug 27, 2022 9:46 am PDT

Philco — the highly anticipated Phil Lesh & Friends collaboration featuring the Grateful Dead bassist, members of Wilco and more — delivered two sets for the Sacred Rose Festival at SeatGeek Stadium near Chicago on Friday. The lineup featured Wilco guitarists Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline along with saxophonist/flutist Karl Denson, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, guitarists Stu Allen and Grahame Lesh, vocalist Elliott Peck and longtime Phil Lesh drummer John Molo along with a surprise guest appearance.

Philco kicked off the first set with “Dire Wolf.” The country-tinged Workingman’s Dead cut was certainly in the wheelhouse of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who handled lead vocals, along with Nels Cline on lap steel guitar and Chimenti adding some of his signature honky tonk piano to the mix along with some twang form Stu Allen. Stu then helmed the Aoxomoxoa psychedelic classic “Doin’ The Rag,” which saw a vibey jam on the vamp featuring a great exchange between Cline and Denson.

Nels and Diesel also tore up the funky “Mr. Charlie,” sung by Elliott Peck. Next, Karl D broke out the flute, which sounded sweet on “Jack Straw,” along with stellar harmonies from Midnight North bandmates Elliott Peck and Grahame Lesh. Allen would also add some fretboard fireworks to the Dead classic. Tweedy then captained “Airline To Heaven,” the opener on Wilco and Billy Bragg’s second Mermaid Avenue collaboration featuring Woody Guthrie lyrics. Tweedy then led the group through “U.S. Blues,” which saw Denson return to sax for a spicy solo. Philco closed out the first set with “Not Fade Away,” which saw surprise guest Margo Price joining on tambourine.

The second set got going with the disco-Dead favorite, “Shakedown Street,” featuring Denson on lead vocals along with Margo back on tambourine and backing vocals. Nels also offered another incendiary solo on the tune before the band jumped into a fiery “Viola Lee Blues” which boasted a glorious freeform jam segment that led back into the funky number with Karl D tearing up the sax. Phil then led the group through one of his signature songs, “Pride Of Cucamonga,” with Nels back on lap steel and a saucy exchange between the Wico guitarist and Allen on the bluesy middle section.

Peck then led Philco through “New Speedway Boogie,” before the band broke into the coda of “Slipknot!” leading them into a Tweedy-led “Franklin’s Tower.” Jeff stayed at the mic for a fitting rendition of Wilco’s “Via Chicago,” from the Windy City-born band’s 1999 LP, Summerteeth, which saw Denson back on flute. Finally, the Wilco frontman lead a big sing-along on the Grateful Dead classic, “Ripple,” to bring the Philco performance to a close.

Check out a fan-shot clip of the tail end of “Shakedown Street” into “Viola Lee Blues” below:

Scott Sigman (See 3 videos)

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Phil Lesh & Friends at Seatgeek Stadium

Set 1 (9pm-10pm)
  • Dire Wolf  
  • Doin' That Rag  
  • Mr. Charlie  
  • Jack Straw  
  • Airline to Heaven  
  • U.S. Blues  
  • Not Fade Away  
Set 2 (1045pm-12am)
  • Shakedown Street  
  • Viola Lee Blues  
  • Pride of Cucamonga  
  • New Speedway Boogie  
  • Franklin's Tower  
  • Via Chicago  
  • Ripple  
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