Pro-Shot Video: Phil Lesh & Friends Including McConnell, Fishman, Russo & Infamous Stringdusters

By Scott Bernstein Sep 2, 2016 2:37 pm PDT

This past Saturday Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh presented a very special version of Phil Lesh & Friends for an evening set at the Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia. Lesh was joined by The Infamous Stringdusters, Phish drummer and keyboardist Jon Fishman and Page McConnell, Furthur/JRAD drummer Joe Russo and guitarist Anders Osborne for his first of two Lockn’ ’16 sets which is the focus of this week’s Full Show Friday column.

Phil & Friends took the stage after a long delay following Hard Working Americans’ set that was reportedly due to Lesh’s travel issues. After what seemed like an hour, the rotating stage finally moved as Lesh and his band kicked into “Scarlet Begonias.” It was a goosebump inducing moment as the stage rotated to show off Phil’s massive ensemble. This was a huge band that took up every inch of the stage. One can only imagine the number of electrical outlets needed to handle all the instruments. This version of Phil & Friends sounded like no other and considering it’s not likely we’ll ever see the lineup again it was hard not to revel in every moment.

One of the most intriguing parts of the set was the inclusion of Russo and Fishman. Russo led the drumming corp as he spent years as Lesh’s drummer with Furthur and it was particularly cool to watch Joe direct Fish. Page focused almost exclusively on piano and played many beautiful fills throughout the set. Sure, he didn’t sing. Sure, there wasn’t too much in the way of jamming and sure, there were almost too many musicians on stage, but take the set for what it was, not for what it wasn’t. One of the many elements the ‘Dusters added to the Phil set were about the best vocal harmonies ever found on a Lesh project stage. Their sweet harmonies on songs such as “Dire Wolf” and “Rosalie McFall” were just gorgeous. Stringdusters guitarist Andy Falco showed off his skills on electric throughout the set and more than held his own.

The musician count went up by two towards the end of the Phil set, when the husband-and-wife duo of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi emerged from the wings for a fierce “Mr. Charlie” and tender “Sugaree.” Trucks put his slide to great use during both, but “Mr. Charlie” stood out as high point of the set. Osborne had his turn in the spotlight on a loping “Shakedown Street.” The acoustic instruments most of the ‘Dusters played fit “Shakedown” better than one would’ve thought. Phil & Friends ended their set with a lengthy “Terrapin Station” sung by the Grateful Dead bassist. Fish utilized brushes and played fills throughout “Terrapin,” while Russo handled the heavy lifting. It was the pair’s most impressive song of the set and here’s hoping we get to see the Russo/Fishman pairing once more because it was sure a sight to behold.

Watch pro-shot footage of the entire set thanks to GratefuLSD25.5:


Phil Lesh & Friends at Oak Ridge Estate

  • Scarlet Begonias  
  • Dire Wolf  
  • Rosa Lee McFall  
  • Jam  
  • Uncle John's Band  
  • Mr. Charlie  
  • Sugaree  
  • Shakedown Street  
  • Terrapin Station  
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