Phil Lesh & Friends
"First Annual" Harvest Hoedown
Grate Room, Terrapin Crossroads
San Rafael, CA
Thurs. Oct. 18, 2012
8:15pm - 10:20pm
Phil Lesh - bass, vocals
Jon Graboff - pedal steel, acoustic guitar, vocals
Tony Leone - drums, mandolin, vocals
Ross James - guitars (acoustic, telecaster), pedal steel, vocals
Grahame Lesh - guitars (acoustic, stratocaster), vocals
Brian Lesh - mandolin, vocals
Boo Reiners - banjo, guitars (acoustic, telecaster), vocals
Up on Cripple Creek (GL>BL)
Been All Around This World (BR)
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You (JGra)
Scarlet Begonias (GL)
Early Morning Rain (PL)
Cold Rain and Snow (BL)
Diamond Joe (RJ)
Candyman (TL vocals and mandolin)
People Turn Around (GL)
Wild Horses (BR)
Dreadful Wind and Rain (BL)
I Know You Rider
Lazy River Road (JGra)
Big River (BL>RJ)
(Corrections are always encouraged)
This was my first TXR experience - I was out visiting my sister in SF, brought her, and we both had a blast. The Althea was a great, slinky intro to the set, Cripple Creek features some fast work from Phil in the jam at the end, and everything just cruised from there, with probably Scarlet and Candyman being highlights for me. The harmonies were gorgeous all night long, but particularly on Dreadful Wind and Rain and Ripple.
And the atmosphere was fantastic. The band was clearly having so much fun on stage, and the audience gave it right back with some really enthusiastic dancing and cheers for the fine solos. I wasn't familiar with Boo Reiners before this, but he's a very talented and subtle player. I'll be looking to catch him again sometime. And to get back to San Rafael!
Cool, Jamie. I've been to a few TXR shows (including a couple of $150) and I have to say that you caught a good one.
Here's what I typed a few days ago, in a post-show glow:
These Hoedowns really float my boat. Not for everyone, or at least leave your expectations at the door - there were no 20-minute mind-melting pyrotechnic psychedellic jams last night (not that there won't be any over the next three nights). This is seven guys getting together, having fun, and bringing their own style to the music.
To me, last night's show was the least Phil-led affair that I've seen. Seven different people singing lead for at least one song; and the lead singer seemed to be the one leading that whole song (tempo, assigning solos, etc). Everyone seemed to bring their own style to a meeting point in the music. I could be wrong, but it didn't seem like anyone was trying to be "fake" anything, or play in a way that was dictated by another member.
Everyone but Phil and Brian played 2-3 different instruments, acoustic and electric. That made for a variety of interesting sounds throughout the show (Althea with banjo, mando, acoustic guitars, and pedal steel?). Must have been a nightmare for the sound guy.
Musically, too many highlights to count. Althea was a beautiful, mello way to start the show. Boo was really pickin that banjo during Cripple Creek and he sang a very nice laid-back Around This World. Scarlet had an unconventional ending after "Heart of Gold Band" and Graboff's pedal steel took it a bit into Space. Early Morning Rain sounded just right with all the different strings. Cold Rain & Snow was another unconventional version with Banjo taking the electric guitar slot; and some fantastic layering of strings, building up to a crescendo towards the end. Candyman was a high-paced strings-only delight (and Tony is great on vocals). I'd never heard People Turn Around - the Lesh brothers must have brought that one in; it was a very touching story about war, life and death (I think). Wild Horses had a great Americana flavor, with some low key extended jamming at the end. I have probably heard Phil play IKYR at least 10 times this year, but this one may have been the most interesting one I've heard - high-paced driving bluegrass with excellent harmonies. Lazy River was a nice fit for this band. Big River was totally out of control foot-stomping fun. And the Ripple to end was absolutely gorgeous.
This show made me a big Boo Reiner fan. I knew about his banjo playing, but he also picked the heck out of his telecaster and was good on acoustic guitar as well.
PS: Phil (or someone in his camp) seemed to have read the PZ thread about Donor Rap and Organ Donor agencies - he made it very clear that we need to tell our families that we want to be organ donors, not sign onto databases, etc... He also called this the First Annual Harvest Hoedown.
OK, enough from me, already. As a wise one once said:
GO TO THE SHOW!!!