Photo by Marc Millman

On Saturday night, Phil Lesh & Friends opened up their summer tour at the fabled Frost Amphitheater on Stanford University’s campus in Palo Alto, Calif. The performance included Lesh’s son and Stanford alum Grahame Lesh, Scott Metzger, Joe Russo, John Scofield and Benmont Tench, performing several Grateful Dead classics and Lesh penned epics.

Before the main feature, Grahame and his band, Midnight North, took the stage to deliver a 45-minute set of music that included nine tunes, led by the bold vocal arrangement of Elliot Peck and Grahame. Despite being added to the bill late in the game, the mix of country, rock and blues was a welcomed addition to an evening. 

Then, the ensemble led by the Grateful Dead legend took the stage and began playing around with a trippy tease of “The Other One” before a full-on launch into the fan-favorite, “Truckin’” to kick off Lesh’s tour opener. Tench’s keys carried the tune till the end, leaving everyone in the arena feeling the music after a lively display by the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers virtuoso’s solo.    

“Playing in the Band,” a tune off Bobby Weir’s 1972 LP, Ace, was performed next. Then, the band ripped into the chords of “St. Stephen,” ahead of the Lesh and Robert Hunter composed rarity, “The Eleven.” Initially, when the Grateful Dead recorded their third studio LP, 1969’s Aoxomoxoa, they had intended to include “The Eleven,” after “St. Stephen,” but the pairing was bumped and later released on Live Dead, in late 1969.

The upbeat classic and overall fan favorite, “Uncle John’s Band,” followed the first set’s highlight. Then, when it seemed the band barely had a moment to pause and catch their breath, they started in on a smoking rendition of “Sugar Magnolia” to complete the first set of music. 

Set two got underway with the beauty of Jerry Garcia’s “Bird Song” dancing through Stanford University’s campus. “I Know You Rider,” a tune that dates back to the Grateful Dead’s earliest live performances, followed before the band picked up “Let It Grow” as a mid-set treat for concert-goers, with Metzger’s lively licks carrying the tune. Finally, they continued with “Eyes of the World,” providing the perfect opportunity for Russo to show off his abilities on the drum kit. 

“The Wheel,” another tune off Garcia’s self-titled 1972 album, arrived next and clocked in at just over 18-minutes. Then, the band fooled around with a “Tennesse Jed” tease. As their set closer, they picked up the perfect notes of “Lady With a Fan,” which of course, segued into “Terrapin Station” to close the second set of music. After teasing “Shakedown” during the first set, it only made send the ensemble land on the tune as their only encore. 

Following last night’s tour kick-off, Phil Lesh & Friends will abstain from the road until next Saturday, June 11, when they arrive in Eugene, Ore., for a concert at Cuthbert Amphitheater. There, Lesh will take the stage and perform alongside his son Grahame, Stu Allen, Steve Molitz and Tony Leone, before their third performance at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Wash., on June 13.

Additionally, later this summer, the Grateful Dead founding member will take the stage for a highly anticipated show at Bethel Woods in Bethel, N.Y., with The Midnight Ramble Band, on Aug. 20. Read more about the forthcoming performance here.

Phil Lesh & Friends 

Frost Amphitheater – Stanford, Calif.

June 4, 2022 

Set I: The Other One (tease), Truckin’, The Other One, Playing in the Band, Shakedown Street (tease), Playing in the Band, St. Stephen, The Eleven, Uncle John’s Band, Sugar Magnolia

Set II: Bird Song, I Know You Rider, Let It Grow, Eyes of the World, The Wheel, Lady With a Fan, Terrapin Station

Enc.: Shakedown Street

Setlist via Setlist.FM