In the summer of 2006, a very exciting double billing of G.R.A.B. and Phil Lesh & Friends toured the country together. The two groups, each comprised of legendary jam musicians, regularly joined forces on stage throughout the tour, leading to many of the longstanding musical friendships that would remain in the years to come. One of the prime moments of the tour was their July 6th performance at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA, which saw both Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon of Phish joining Phil & Friends on stage to help perform some Grateful Dead classics.
G.R.A.B., of course, was the Phish-y extension of the Benevento Russo Duo, with the G & A in G.R.A.B. standing for Gordon and Anastasio (also known as Mike and The Italians). The foursome was a fiery force of improvisation, stretching the imagination with great instrumentation. The night of music started with a set from the classic Benevento Russo Duo lineup and ended with the G.R.A.B. set, sandwiching a classic Phil Lesh & Friends two-set performance in the middle.
Phil Lesh had solidified his “Friends” lineup during this era and brought Joan Osborne, John Molo, Rob Barraco, Larry Campbell, and Barry Sless along for the tour. It was Mike Gordon who joined the band first, playing banjo on both “Brown Eyed Women” and “Next Time You See Me” in the first set. In the second set of the July 6th, 2006 performance, Sless stepped aside and made room for Trey to join the Friends. Anastasio sat in for the entirety of the second set and some of the encore as well, adding his prowess to tracks like “St. Stephen,” “Help On The Way > Slipknot!” and so many more.
Watch nearly the entire second set of Anastasio with Phil & Friends July 6th, 2006, below.
Phil & Friends with Trey Anastasio – Set Two – 7/6/2006
In addition, listen to the full show’s audio below, including Gordon’s banjo sit-in during “Brown Eyed Women” and “Next Time You See Me”.
Phil Lesh & Friends – Tweeter Center – 7/6/2006
Setlist: Phil Lesh & Friends | Tweeter Center | Mansfield, MA | 7/6/06
I: Doin’ That Rag, Deep Elem Blues, Brown-Eyed Women, Next Time You See Me, The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
II: All Along the Watchtower > St. Stephen > Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Nobody Girl > China Doll > Nobody Girl > I Know You Rider > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower
E: Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad, Box of Rain
 With Mike on banjo.
 With Trey.
Notes: Benevento/Russo Duo opened, G.R.A.B. closed. Mike sat in on banjo for “Brown-Eyed Women” and “Next Time You See Me.” Trey sat in on guitar and vocals for the entire second set and encore (other than “Box of Rain”) in place of Barry Sless.
[Originally published on July 6th, 2017]