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Mountian Jam - video webcast


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Good review of the Phil set:

Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2007 14:41:33 -0700

From: RockinHorseRider

Subject: My Phil And Friends Review from Philzone

Finally coming back to full consciousness while

sitting here at my desk, after a full and amazing day

of music, food, drink, rain, mud, people, and general

merriment yesterday. The three hour drive back to CT

from Hunter, NY was a trip to say the least, but as

usual, we made it back alive ;)

Alot of great sets today, Robert Randolph as always

full of energy, the North Mississippi Allstars not

missing a beat, then Michael Franti taking us higher

and higher and working the place into a frenzy. It was

gonna take a big night from Phil and his Friends to

keep up with the three sets that preceded them.

Boy did they step up.

It's inevitable that with Phil's rotating door policy

of bringing in new friends all the time, that lineups

will be compared and contrasted. What's also

inevitable is that means this lineup was sure to be

compared to the "Q," in no small part to Warren

Haynes' undoubted influence on that band.

What I found interesting was during the set I found

myself comparing the lineup more to the Haynes/Trucks

lineup of November 1999 to that of the quintet. The

jams were similar both in flow and execution, whereas

instead of two leads going at once, it was more of a

call and respnse with occasional interweaving between

the two guitarists. Also, mostly due to Warren being

out of the fold for so long, some songs had a tendency

to start off a bit shaky, but really connect by the

time the second verse or so came around.

Shakedown Street was the most mentioned opener in the

section of the crowd I was standing, and lo and behold

the boys delivered on queue with no hesitation. This

version had a bit more improvisation in the center of

the song than others by Phil, and Warren sung it well,

as he always does. Interesting to note that John Molo

sang backup vocals for a good deal of the show, and

did a very credible job. I mean, he's obviously no

Barraco, and I wouldn't bet on him taking any leads,

but in a three part harmony he sounded wonderful.

Friend Of The Devil had a very laid back feel, not as

driving as some recent versions. Steve Molitz, who for

the most part played a very good show, kind of dropped

the ball here on piano. FOTD screams for some sweet

piano jamming, and while he was capable, I felt he

left a bit on the table. The band segued well into

Althea, which Warren nailed vocally, albeit while

using lyric sheets (which by the way I'm fine with, if

you haven't played the stuff in a while, no harm in

getting it right). Good instrumental by Scofield here,

but he was just getting warmed up.

A short pause and a bit of meandering led to and

unbelievably intense Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.

Scofield showed his new found rock prowess in

delivering a very solid instrumental, weaving in and

out with Warren's slide to make for a very memorable

version, that segued into a standard, but tasty New

Speedway Boogie.

Mason's Children was a rocker as always, Molo, Phil

and Warren nailing the 3 part harmonies, and Phil

throwing bombs all over the place. Phil sets such a

high bar for himself, its hard to top what came

before, but he was in incredible form last night,

dancing around like a little kid and throwing out

thick basslines and tasty fills all over the place.

Candyman came next, and some people have said it was

the lowlight of the evening. It wasn't terrible, but

it was an odd choice, given some other songs of

similar idiom that Warren sing so well. Still, no harm

no foui, and directly after we were treated to a

massive Scarlet Begonias>Eyes Of The World>Fire On The

Mountain. This was, to me, the highlight of the night.

The band never let down as Scofield and Warren traded

licks, then circled eachother, brought it back around,

and then drove it home. Particular emphasis on the

Eyes instrumentals, which were quite different and

distinct from eachother, but beautiful in their own

way. Yes, there was a bit of a trainwreck coming out

of Scarlet, but Phil laughed it off and made something

new of it like only he can.

A scant 5 minute break was on the card next, quelling

speculation we were only getting one set tonight.

Still, that first one clocked in at damn near 2 hours,

and would have been enough for the wet, muddy,

sunburnt masses.

Unbroken Chain got things restarted, and it was an

epic version. One of the longest instrumentals I can

remember hearing in an Unbroken, Scofield lifted the

song higher and higher with each pass through the

chord progression, with Molitz matching him on the

keys.

It's appropriate here to mention why I believe Warren

Haynes is Phil's most valuable friend, and why when

he's involved the shows tend to be of the highest

quality. Everybody knows that in order to play with

Phil, you have to be a top notch musician, which

Warren certainly is. What he brings along with that,

though, is a top notch professionalism and a care that

the music that's being made is of the highest quality,

not just what he's playing. No other guitarist in

Phil's arsenal plays as much dynamic and interesting

rhythm guitar, nor vamps other players up like Warren

does. He's an absolute master of sitting back,

accenting others' playing, and saying his part when it

comes his time. Unbroken Chain was the ultimate

culmination of this. As Scofield, who will take the

well deserved plaudits from this show, was going off

on Unbroken, I found myself drawn to the work that

Warren was putting in, accenting the high points,

blending the lows, and really becoming part of the

rhythm section with Molo and Phil. He helps form the

backbone when he's not soloing better than anyone else

Phil plays with. As any musician will tell you, you're

only as good as the people you're playing with, and

Warren makes people better.

So Unbroken ends with Warren's Pink Floydian solo, and

comes to a complete stop, before the familiar Dark

Star riff rips out to thunderous ovation. A bit of

instrumental leads to the first verse, then a much

more elaborate one follows, melting down, rebuilding,

and melting again in a fusion of organized chaos,

finally melting into Mountains Of The Moon, so often a

set killer but tonight played with tightness and

conviction like I haven't seen.

Back into Dark Star for the last verse, and one final

meltdown which transforms into the singalong portion,

with Lucy In The Sky the ethereal wonder it always is,

and Lovelight blowing the lid off the joint with big

solos from Scofield and Warren.

A short walk off, then back on, and Not Fade Away puts

the well weathered crowd into a frenzy, with good

instrumentals and a fun singalong to end what was a

very successful night and show.

Phil Lesh is 67 years old. By any account, any man

who's lived the life he has and done the things he's

done would not be looked upon poorly at all for

enjoying the retired life, living off the fat of his

accomplishments, and writing the final chapter in his

amazing life. That's never driven him, though, and he

instead chooses to share his greatest passion with us

on special nights like this. It's his youthful

exuberance, energy, tempered with the wisdom of years

that allows the music made by five men who've never

played together at the same time before to flow

without a hitch, and take us to spiritual places we

always wonder if we'll ever return to. It's nights

like last night that remind us why we travel the hours

and miles, why we search the internet for rumors and

ticket dates, and why we read and post on a message

board like this to see a man and his friends play

music. In the end, he makes it all worth it, and

beyond that he makes us feel more than any artist

that's he's doing it for us.

Thanks Phil, and thanks Warren for putting on a great

event. Hope to see y'all next year.

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