Concert Review: Phil Lesh & Friends

Brooklyn Bowl, April 19


Photo by Erik Kabik

Of all the post-Grateful Dead projects that the band’s surviving members have participated in since Jerry Garcia’s death 20 years ago, the most consistently vibrant has been bassist Phil Lesh’s rotating cast of “Friends.” With a lineup that included such renowned musicians as jazz-rock guitarist John Scofield and keyboardist John Medeski, Lesh’s band—in the second show of a three-night run at Brooklyn Bowl—explored an impressive mix of covers and Dead staples for four hours (including a half-hour intermission).

Even with such an acclaimed mix of veteran players, it was the youngest member of Lesh’s band who shined the brightest. At age 33, Jackie Greene delivered gravelly, soulful vocals on songs such as “Loose Lucy” and “Scarlet Begonias,” and also showed the skills and confidence to trade guitar licks with Scofield on covers of “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and the Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice,” which highlighted the first set. And when guest vocalist/guitarist Ross James joined the band late in the show, Greene seamlessly moved over to piano for a few songs, including a crowd-pleasing cover of “Sweet Jane.”

Even at 74 years old, Lesh looked like he could have kept going all night, as the band sprinkled the second set with Dead treasures such as “St. Stephen,” “Wharf Rat” and the show-closing “Ripple.” By continuing to place such strong talent around him, Lesh is still finding fresh ways to keep the Dead alive. ★★★★✩

Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodeloo
Loose Lucy
Doin’ That Rag
Good Lovin’
I Don’t Need No Doctor
Tumbling Dice
Loose Lucy

Scarlet Begonias
St. Stephen
The Other One
Wharf Rat
Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)
Samson and Delilah
Sweet Jane
Turn on Your Love Light

Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’

Photos by Erik Kabik/ Retna/


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