Saw Phil and his band last night at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. This was an old haunt of the Dead back in the early 70's, and then the venue was closed down for many years. It opened up again recently, and what an incredible place to see a show. It's quite a small venue, with a main level and a balcony. The main level has no seats, it's all general admission. So if you're willing to be part of the herd, you can get yourself quite close. The venue opened up again with a very Dead-friendly theme - I've seen Further and Dark Star Orchestra there this year, and it was recently announced that Phil and Friends just signed a deal to play a minimum of 30 shows there in 2014. Oh - and I live 15 minutes away from the place!!!
Last night was incredible. 73 years young, Phil still is on fire on stage and has an absolute blast up there. He's got an incredible band - 3 guitarists, one of whom is his son, plus a drummer and guy playing keyboards and Hammond B3. No video screens, no dancers, no chicks in short skirts singing harmony. Just a good old jamming band with some decent lighting and a kick-ass sound system. When you're Phil Lesh, you definitely get to surround yourself with major talent, these guys did not disappoint.
I wasn't familiar with several songs they did, it's not like he plays Dead tunes the entire night. But every song was a major jam, with long drawn out instrumentals as you'd expect from Phil, but never a dull moment. They opened up with Tennessee Jed, then Lynyrd Skynyrd's Simple Kind of Man, then Eyes of the World sung by Phil. The rest of the first set was material I was unfamiliar with. Second set also had a few songs I didn't recognize, but they played Alabama Getaway, I Shot The Sheriff, Mason's Children, Morning Dew, Uncle John's Band, and closed with Dark Star->Free Bird->Dark Star, and the encore was the Stones' Gimme Shelter.
Absolutely incredible show, they didn't get off stage until 12:30am.
I was 3 people back from the stage, and snapped a few shots.