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    Entries in Phil Lesh (3)


    Ramble On...

    Friday afternoon is not an ideal time to travel to Terrapin Crossroads from Silicon Valley. As I cross the Golden Gate Bridge with a hint of the sunset's remnants on my left and the twinkling East Bay and City lights on my right, I'm trying to calm down. I realize I don't have much further to go, and don't want to miss the opener. As I pull into the familiar parking lot and am greeted by a guy waxing on about his political affiliations, I realize I AM so glad to be back at Terrapin. It had been a few months.

    The renovated Terrapin is a dressed up version of itself. It's still basically the same room, but is now decked out with seven chandeliers, wood floor, wood planks on the walls, windows (with Roman shades drawn) and industrial carpeting covering the stage. The lone bar is still in the far corner and a thick velvet drape still separates the entrance from the audience and stage. My guess is the capacity is around 400.

    I will confess that I get a little giddy before these shows. The atmosphere is so intimate and warm. The evening was one of four Rambles featuring Phil, Jackie Greene, Neal Casal, Adam McDougall and Tony Leone. I knew to expect a playlist dominated by Grateful Dead tunes peppered with a couple of this's and that's. They opened with Jack Straw (my husband's current favorite) and then Loser and Loose Lucy. My new friend, Angelo, asked if I was keeping track of the set list and I realized I wasn't. Sometimes I forget that the usual suspects who keep track of these things might not be at the show. Yikes, instead of riding with the rhythms, I had to pay attention.

    The second set opened with a gorgeous version of China Cat Sunflower followed by an I Know You Rider fake-out, and instead rolled into Scarlet Begonias with Neal on lead vocals. It was just a smokin' tune and mid way through it was comical and sweet to see Neal and Jackie look at each other intensely eye-to-eye for a long moment. I had to wonder if they were thinking, "dude, how does this one end or are we just gonna keep it going?" This is the stuff that happens at Terrapin -- up-close and right there and the crowd gets to be part of it. Coincidentally (or not), someone at the set break asked me which songs did I miss Jerry singing the most? The guy said his was "Scarlet Begonias." I didn't immediately have an answer, but a couple of days later, it occurred to me that Bird Song was one of the songs I really missed hearing Jerry sing.

    Two sweet non-Grateful Dead tunes sung by Neal were, Love The One You're With by CSNY and Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones. At the end of Wild Horses, a totally sullen-faced guy leans over and says in slurry words, "I cried through that whole song."

    Before the "donor rap" where Phil thanks the young organ donor (Cody) who saved his life he said, "take a look around, this is why we're here! Give each other a hug!" That is so Phil!!!

    The encore was a soulful Sugaree, sung from deep within Jackie. He injects an old-time blues and gospel flavor into that song in a way that makes the room stand still, and the crowd sway in unison. These are the moments I'll drive two-plus hours for in afternoon traffic. Completely uplifting, soul-warming and renewing.

    Next stop, Broomfield!



    S.T.E.A.L. Y.O.U.R. F.A.C.E.

    Red Rocks, Sept 21-23, 2012

    As each song passed, we howled with laughter as we realized the tweeted rumor was true. On the final night of the 2012 Red Rocks shows, the first letter of the titles of the first 13 songs in the set list spelled STEAL YOUR FACE. The final song that concluded this "prank" was, of course, He's Gone. What I/we didn't know until later was that this clever set list game was in response to a recent PHISH show at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver, where their set list titles spelled, Fuck Your Face!

    I love the early (5:00 p.m.) show at Red Rocks. The band can see the crowd, it's easy to spot friends and everyone seems a little more energized in the daylight.

    The three shows at Red Rocks that launched the Fall Tour were just fantastic fun. Super high energy and set lists that zigged and zagged all over the decades. A few of the stand out tunes from the three nights were, The Wheel, Mason's Children and Dear Mr. Fantasy on Friday, So Many Roads and China/Rider on Saturday. I sat in the first row on the first night of the tour and other than being pushed and shoved by exuberant ballroom dancing fans next to me, it was just awesome being so close to the stage and feeling the little nuances of the show.

    I'm a big fan of merchandise and vending. I'm always looking at everyone's t-shirts. I recently saw Phish on their summer tour in San Francisco. It was a phenomenal show. I know there's a lot of crossover of Deadheads, who are also Phish-heads. I hadn't seen Phish in over a decade so I was surprised to see how many, many, MANY Stealie shirts, tie-dye dancing bears, and other t-shirts sporting Grateful Dead icons Phish fans were wearing. Obviously pointing to the roots of the fan-base. However, at the Red Rocks shows, I didn't see a single Phish shirt. Not one! I was wondering if this is because the Phish population hasn't cultivated the same vending/Shakedown culture as the Grateful Dead community, meaning there aren't renegade shirts being created or that hard core Deadheads, would never wear the other team's colors on game day.

    There's nothing like traveling solo to a show. Being immersed in an experience with about 8,000 strangers only to find yourself cocooned in a little nest of people you know, but have never met. I had the great privilege of meeting some of the loveliest people I've gotten to know on Twitter in the past year. This is a serious highlight for me, as it keeps connecting my digital and music worlds.

    They closed the Red Rocks run with one of my favorite songs, Brokedown Palace, just as they did last year. I kept thinking this might be my last Red Rocks show for a while. It can really be a schlep to get there. Yea, well, as Phil said on two separate nights, "this place is magic," and "you guys really created some electricity here tonight." Okay, I'm addicted. I'll go back.

    Set 1: 

    Samson and Delilah
    Tennessee Jed
    Easy Wind
    Alabama Getaway
    Loose Lucy
    You Win Again
    Uncle John's Band

    Set 2:
    Ruben And Cherise
    Feel Like A Stranger
    Cumberland Blues
    Eyes Of The World
    He's Gone
    Viola Lee Blues > Cautions > Viola Lee Blues > Black Peter > Viola Lee Blues

    Donor Rap
    E:Brokedown Palace

    Article about Phish and Furthur setlist antics


    Furthur Rides into Terrapin...


    Picture this... After you've had your hand stamped, you walk into a room that looks like a ten car garage. There's a stage comprised of 36" high risers that are 18 feet in front of you. There's one mirrored wall with a bar in front of it. There's carpeting on the floor. And that's it! That's the entire contents of the Grate Room.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit Terrapin Crossroads twice in five days. Phil Lesh's new food and music venue on a small inlet in San Rafael is fresh and alive. I've now been there several more times and see that the place is attracting a group of regulars. Bob Weir casually sat on the stage and tuned his guitar and played around tweaking his foot pedals. The small crowd just stood and watched him, like it was any regular guitar player and this was any regular place. When he walked off stage to get ready for the show, the crowd applauded.

    Have you ever seen the Grateful Dead play in a large living room? This is sort of what it's like. I had been to Terrapin Crossroads before so I knew the size of the venue. My friend, Caren, a newbie, asked, "this is it, they're going to play right there, right in front of us?"

    Needless to say, it's quite something to see a band that often plays in hockey arenas or in festival venues play in a small night club. There's, of course, the BIG sound and the musician-icons who are usually so far away and so high up on a stage surrounded by so much stuff, security, gear, friends, fans, just right there a few feet in front of you doing that thing you love for them to do, that they love doing. It's a wild combination of good fortune that somehow gets a ticket in my hand and a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to this little haven of a music Mecca tucked away in a row of car dealerships in Marin.