After three eventful days of music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the final day of Summer Camp Music Festival lived up to all the hype. Of all the phenomenal and talented groups and artists that performed over the weekend, excitement for legendary Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s performance on Sunday was as palpable as the afternoon heat. His sets—and all the other Sunday sets—combined for a fantastic finish to another successful year at Three Sisters Park.
World-class bassist Victor Wooten helped make this “Sunday funday,” playing a nature set, a trio set, and a VIP tent set. His nature set was perhaps one of the most unique and intimate of the day. Even as he subtly alternated between playing his bass and telling stories about nature, music, and life in his soothing speaking voice, the crowd remained equally engaged and entertained. He was accompanied by Bob Franceschini on saxophone, and the two made beautiful music together.
Umphrey’s McGee played their traditional Sunday afternoon set, and after the dance parties on the preceding nights, this Sunday set was certainly more chill. Continuing a trend from those shows, this set also featured the live debuts of new songs off their recently released “new” new album, it’s you, “Xmas at Wartime” and “Push & Pull”. The majority of the set was sandwiched inside “Bridgeless”, with the band returning to the song for a triumphant finish.
TAUK offered a great performance that included newer songs like “Ratchet” and “The Informant”. Despite the brutal heat, their daytime set brought a fairly massive crowd to the Starshine Stage, highlighting the band’s upward trajectory. They played another set later on in the VIP lounge that was equally as fun, and some of the coversthey included—Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and The Beatles‘ “Come Together”—saw drummer Isaac Teel deliver the soulful vocals that often go forgotten by fans due to the band’s instrumental repertoire. Besides laying down a mean beat, the guy has some serious pipes! One has to wonder if they will ever write any originals that aren’t instrumentals…
The crown jewels of the day, and perhaps of the weekend, were the two full sets played by Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band. Just two weeks ago it was announced that guitarist Eric Krasno would be joining Phil, and it proved to be a fantastic addition, adding his fierce guitar work and singing lead on “Brown Eyed Women”. Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass, who also played earlier in the day, brought his dobro to the stage next to join in on “Cassidy”.
Phil’s second set saw even more surprise collaborators, as Al Schnier of moe. led the band through a groovy “Shakedown Street” on guitar and vocals. After well-played takes on classic staples like “St. Stephen” and “Terrapin Station”, their set-closing cover of Neil Young‘s “Rockin’ In The Free World” was an out-of-left-field surprise The tune was executed flawlessly by Phil, as he was able to summon some serious energy for the instantly-recognizable rock classic. A “Midnight Hour” encore with JJ Grey was a fun way to end Phil’s night. This was the first time that Lesh had played at Summer Camp, and hopefully, it won’t be the last.
Of course, the metaphorical cherry on top was the final two-set moe. show that awaited after Phil and company finished. The band raged the Moonshine Stage as they do every year to close out the fest’s Sunday lineup. Some of their highlights included a fun cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do”, a schizophrenic “Don’t Fuck With Flo”, and a fun “Lazarus.” The band spared no effort in exhilarating the crowd, and as they finished up their set at 2am, it was a sobering reminder that Summer Camp was finally coming to a close. Once again, Summer Camp showed why it is one of the best festivals in the country. Same time, same place…see you in 2019.
Check out the photo gallery below, courtesy of Keith Griner.