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Phil Lesh and Friends
Warfield and Wavy Weekend
May 13-15, 2005


Friday Night at the Warfield
San Francisco, 5-13-2005

Set One: "Askin' you nice now, keep the mother rollin' one more time…"

Family, famille, familia, famiglia…in any language, it's what life is all about. When Phil announced a surprise date at San Francisco's legendary Warfield to warm-up for the Crown Prince of the Counterculture's birthday party at the hallowed Berkeley Community Theatre, the Family made a pilgrimage to these two Bay Area shrines to help rejoice in the moment.

Market Street became a human car wash of raised fingers as the denizens of Deadland were looking high, looking low for one of the toughest tickets in recent memory. While the boys crept into an opening JAM at the strike of twilight, the turnstiles were still thick with last-second members of the congregation.
HERE COMES SUNSHINE unfolded into a rollicking MR. CHARLIE, and the friendly confines of the Warfield balcony shimmied as we bounced in unison. STAGGER LEE was the face of diamond, as Barry Sless carved out a literally flawless intro. We seemed to be already aboard the magic carpet by FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, Phil's infectious grin lifting our collective spirit.

The peak of the first set was undoubtedly BIG BOSS MAN, as Gloria Jones and Jackie LaBranch, known affectionately as the Jerry Girls, took their familiar post at the footlights of the Warfield in their natty black threads. Having hopped a flight straight from my day job, I melted at the sirens' haunting and mellifluous call, "Big Boss Man, you ain't so big, you just tall, that's just about all".

NO MORE DO I found its way into DUPREE'S DIAMOND BLUES, surely a tip-of-the-cap to Captain Trips. Already a fixture at the Warfield, the mere sight of the old man's background singers had my eyes two glassy little ponds. At the pinnacle of set one, DANCIN' IN THE STREETS elevated the crowd even further, with the golden notion that "summer's here and the time is right…"

Set Two: "All the children learnin', from books that they were burnin'…"

Setbreak found your humble correspondent in the underbelly of the Warf, tended to by the homeopathic hipsters known as Rock Med (yes, always stay hydrated!). Without the strength to get up and crawl across the floor to take another shot, my faithful companion and I weathered the storm til' the walls breathed the fledgling bars of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: "Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns". Truer words were never spoken.

Belaboring the obvious, the breakout of LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH followed, coupled with a MILLENIUM JAM into THE ELEVEN. "Five men writing in fingers of gold" including Al Schnier from Moe and Mookie Siegel from DNB.

An acoustic gem called A SONG I HEARD THE OCEAN SING segued into MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW and the wailing mourns of the pedal steel, and then GD 101 ensued, beginning with a tantalizing SUGAREE. With CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT as bookends, an indelible MORNING DEW>OTHER ONE was scrawled in cuneiform onto our hearts of clay.

The crescendo of set two was a cryptic I KNOW YOU RIDER, as I began to stagger out of the theatre. ST. STEPHEN unfurled with its crystalline notes, and as the seashore was washed by the suds and bones, the Jerry Girls resurfaced for a roaring rendition of Ray's Charles R & B classic HIT THE ROAD JACK which banished me into the San Francisco night.

GOIN' DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN' BAD usually conjures up the so many roads of thousand-mile treks between gigs, but this time the journey was a mere jaunt across the Bay Bridge to Berkeley for Wavy Gravy's Birthday Bash.

Saturday Night: Good Morning

"Trying hard to express myself cause' baby that's the way I feel…"

The day between was marked by an abundant psychedelic playground presented by Next Step and the shepards of our scene Dawg Kingdom, featuring a gallery that included the likes of Garcia, Mouse, Venosa, and Martina Hoffman. Bathed in the liquid imagery of Graphicfantasees and Jon Singer, the show was headlined by the San Francisco Giants.

With Greg Anton on drums and Martin Fierro on sax, JGB keyboardist Melvin Seals' rare vocals provided the highlight of the evening. Teleported back to the 70s, the kids shook their bones to an epic version of THAT'S WHAT LOVE WILL MAKE YOU DO.

Sunday Night with SEVA
Berkeley Community Theatre, 5-15-05

"What is the secret of this tie that binds?
Two souls in communion, both body and mind.
Is it special magic, or just the nature of things?"

After an opening lineup that included Corinne West, Hot Buttered Rum String Band, and Ben Harper, Sunday night featured a blistering set by Phil and Friends, who brought out all the stops for the 69th birthday party of the illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Teresa, our own emcee of the enlightenment Wavy Gravy.
Poised for flight, the boys picked where they left off by launching into a brilliant HELP ON THE WAY>SLIPKNOT!>FRANKLIN'S TOWER. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER seemed only appropriate for the clown prince of psychedelia as comic book colors from a violin river cried Leonardo words from out a silk trombone.

UNCLE JOHN'S BAND pulled the heartstrings, and ALLIGATOR set the controls on the vista cruiser to hyperspace. Phil led us into a heartfelt BROKEN ARROW which felt overwhelmingly like it was just for Wavy. I mean, WHO ELSE is going to bring you a broken arrow?

Molo sounded the familiar intro of THE WHEEL, and once again, the Jerry Girls stole the show with an Aretha-like rendition of THINK. "Think, think, let your mind go let yourself be free…" We finally received the much-anticipated VIOLA LEE BLUES, and savored the last golden yummies of a monumental weekend.
Seventeen musicians graced the stage to pay homage to not only Birthday Boy Wavy Gravy, but to the benevolent efforts of the SEVA Foundation. Including a joyful HAPPY BIRTHDAY mid-song, TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT never seemed like such a divine directive.

Quite simply, the entire weekend brought with it an undeniable message: our community can make a difference in people's lives near and far, and for generations to come.

Meet you on the Rocks,
Rolling Rider

- Rolling Rider

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P&F Mardi Gras Spectacular - 2/15/05 - Part 3

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