A San Francisco legend turned 100 this year. No, it wasn’t any member of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, or any other psychedelic rock band that gave the city its spirit in the 1960s. Rather, it’s a place that many of those same acts called home: The Warfield. To help celebrate the 100th birthday of The Warfield, Phil Lesh & Friends kicked off a two-night party on Tuesday.
Along with his increasingly common collaborators Rick Mitarotonda (Goose) and the Trey Anastasio Band horns Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, and James Casey, the Grateful Dead bassist also recruited keyboardist Holly Bowling (Ghost Light) and his frequent bandmates Grahame Lesh (Midnight North) and John Molo for the celebration.
A lively “Cumberland Blues” opened the show, with Rick lighting the fuse and the band taking that momentum straight through “Bertha”. The Goose guitarist, who also joined Phil for one of his Capitol Theatre weekends in October and is slated to play two nights at Mission Ballroom with him in February, then took the lead for a southern excursion to “Tennessee Jed”.
Phil Lesh & Friends – “Cumberland Blues”, “Bertha” [Pro-Shot] – 12/27/22
The vocal spinning wheel landed on Jennifer Hartswick for a tender “Loser” before Rick took it back for “Brown-Eyed Women”. Phil Lesh, the elder statesman of the jam community, then took his rightful place at the helm for “Pride of Cucamonga”, Phil’s From The Mars Hotel track that has gained a new life and affinity in the post-Jerry Garcia world. The first set then finished off, appropriately, with Bob Dylan‘s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”.
Returning for the second set, Rick helped fight off the lingering darkness of “New Speedway Boogie” by leading an extended bluesy jam. That rolled into “The Wheel” ahead of Bob Weir‘s “Cassidy” before dropping into the improvisational bliss of “Eyes of the World”. The ornate movement of “Let It Grow” followed, with the band moving into a distinctly “Dark Star”-esque jam at the end, ultimately revealing itself to indeed be the Dead’s experimental holy grail.
Phil Lesh & Friends – “New Speedway Boogie”, “The Wheel” [Pro-Shot] – 12/27/22
Touching back down from the deep space exploration, Phil Lesh & Friends grounded themselves with Jennifer Hartswick’s soulful take on Aretha Franklin‘s “Rock Steady” before the thoughtful goodnight “Brokedown Palace” closed the second set. Taking the stage once more, Phil delivered his traditional donor rap before Jerry’s “Mission In the Rain” sent the crowd back out into the San Francisco Bay.
Phil Lesh & Friends – The Warfield – San Francisco, CA – 12/27/22
Phil Lesh & Friends – “Eyes Of The World” – 12/27/22
[Video: Ted Silverman AKA TedToob]
Phil Lesh & Friends – “Brokedown Palace” – 12/27/22
[Video: Must Have Media]
Phil Lesh & Friends – “Mission In The Rain” – 12/27/22
[Video: Must Have Media]
Setlist: Phil Lesh & Friends | The Warfield | San Francisco, CA | 12/27/22
Set One: Cumberland Blues, Bertha, Tennessee Jed, Loser, Brown-Eyed Women, Pride of Cucamonga, It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan)
Set Two: New Speedway Boogie, The Wheel, Cassidy, Eyes of the World, Let It Grow, Dark Star, Rock Steady (Aretha Franklin), Brokedown Palace
Encore: Donor Rap, Mission In the Rain