Last night, Phil Lesh & Friends concluded their two-night stand at the Mission Ballroom in Denver. Like the previous night, the Grateful Dead bassist was joined by James Casey, Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman of the Trey Anastasio band, along with Jason Crosby, Gosse’s Rick Mitarotonda, John Molo and Grahame Lesh, who helped deliver not only cuts from the Grateful Dead’s discography but a tribute to recently the recently departed music icon David Crosby during each frame, and the encore.
Phil Lesh & Friends got things moving with the enduringly funky “Shakedown Street” before moving into a cover of the late Jerry Garcia’s “Sugaree.” During both opening songs, the audience in the newly established Denver institution shook their hips and moved their lips to dance and sing along. Next came “High Time,” the traditional “Deep Elem Blues,” “Dire Wolf,” and “The Wheel.” They closed the frame with their first tribute to Crosby of the evening, reflective and direct “Laughing.”
After a reasonably long set break, Phil Lesh & Friends returned to the stage and opened up with the unmistakable opening progression of “St. Stephen.” From there, they played the second tribute to the late Crosby of the evening, a cover of The Byrds’ 1966 song “Eight Miles High.” They continued with a beautiful “Scarlet Begonias,” which was followed by more beloved songs from the Grateful Dead’s classic songbook like “The Eleven,” “Eyes of the World,” and “Stella Blue.” During each song, the horn section offered their gilded inclinations, while Mitarotonda’s guitarwork and vocals elicited memories of Goose, and the younger Crosby moved effortlessly between instruments. “Let It Grow” served as the frame’s penultimate song before they closed things out with the elder Lesh’s iconic “Terrapin Station.”
After much applause and with the houselights still down, Lesh & Friends stepped off stage for a moment before returning to deliver one more tribute to the late Crosby, a song that represented his life and philosophy, to which they all surely relate, “Music Is Love.”
Watch a clip captured by Relix from the evening below.
Phil Lesh & Friends
The Mission Ballroom
Feb. 5, 2023
Set I: Shakedown Street, Sugaree (Jerry Garcia cover), High Time, Deep Elem Blues ([traditional] cover), Dire Wolf, The Wheel (Jerry Garcia cover), Laughing (David Crosby cover)
Set II: St. Stephen, Eight Miles High (The Byrds cover), Scarlet Begonias, The Eleven, Eyes of the World, Stella Blue, Let It Grow, Terrapin Station
Enc.: Music Is Love (David Crosby cover)
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