Phil Keeps It Small, With Big Results
by Gary Lambert
Jackie Greene and Phil at Sweetwater, 7/7/07
(Photo: Bob Minkin)
Phil Lesh, while showing that he can still rock a large crowd in a large way (as he did in June at the Mountain Jam in upstate New York, with a Phil & Friends ensemble featuring the formidable guitar tandem of John Scofield and Warren Haynes), continued his recent trend toward off-the-cuff, under-the-radar shows at some remarkably intimate venues. Last month we reported on his quick hop into New York City for two club dates. And in the days around the Fourth of July, Phil, in collaboration with the Unbroken Chain Foundation, presided over a very special series of events to benefit a cause dear to his heart: Homeward Bound of Marin, a provider of transitional and long-term housing and support services for homeless people in Marin County. For this endeavor, participants were asked not just to donate funds, but also their time, skills and sweat in helping Homeward Bound build a new classroom for children of homeless families. As thanks for their efforts, the volunteers were invited to a party at a private residence in Marin, complete with a barbeque dinner and a poolside performance by Phil and some of his talented Friends. To warm up for that shindig, Phil decided to do another stealthy little gig the night before the pool party, at the tiny, legendary Mill Valley musicians’ hangout, the Sweetwater. Along with old Friends John Molo, Barry Sless and Steve Molitz, Phil welcomed someone new to the fold: the phenomenally talented young singer/songwriter/guitarist Jackie Greene. The evening (which was dedicated to Mark Karan) featured a generous helping of Grateful Dead standbys and some intriguing covers, and the consensus among the lucky throng that made it into the cozy saloon was that the Phil/Jackie connection could be the start of another beautiful friendship.
hey Eric-Andrea was married to Loren Rowan in the 1970's-maybe Nelson got confused or forgot.........peace & love Rocky
It was sold out, so I went just to hang out outside and get petition signatures. I could hear the whole show from outside the front door on the sidewalk. After the show we were standing on the pavement and someone said, "Phil is about to come out through these doors!" Everybody stood to the side. I didn't believe it; I've been to 80-100 shows and once I saw Jerry come out through an outer linked fence around a stadium in a college in Utah alone in the back of a chauffeured limousine and nobody knew in advance. But, sure enough, out comes Phil, with his beautiful blonde or brown long hair (I hadn't gotten inside or seen any of the show, just heard it through the front wall), walks around the back of his car with the girl in the passenger seat (maybe people in the back), gets behind the wheel of his shiny metallic silver BMW 530i, and drives off north down Divisadero Street, the thrill of a lifetime.
The last time I'd seen him was in Los Angeles signing his autobiography Searching for the Sound: My Life In the Grateful Dead in Borders with his own two black security guards, one male and one female, and a few days before speaking and answering questions with a microphone in the auditorium in the Department of Music building on the campus of UCLA (he says in the book that he studied music for a year at Cal before electronic music at Mills before joining the Dead and becoming their bass player) and signing the book at the L.A. Times Book Fair they hold every year for 2 days at UCLA.
Then I saw Barry Sless loading a car and asked him if that was him, and for the second time I've spoken to him he didn't answer, because he is too great. The first time was a David Nelson Band concert at 14 Below club in Santa Monica where Cubensis (Grateful Dead Tribute) used to play every Sunday. Mookie Siegel, their keyboard, did talk to me, though, for 15 or 20 minutes, about his keyboards and about how they lived in Baltimore and came out and played and went back, and about how he, and the drummer, and Barry were all Jewish. I got to talk to David Nelson too, and asked him whether he knew my old friend (now deceased) Little Richie Shirley and his wife Andrea from the Hog Farm. Richie was still alive then and I told him he was on the Dead's backstage crew and Andrea worked in the Dead's office near their apartment in San Rafael and was cook at Wavy Gravy's Camp Winnarainbow. Nelson told me that Andrea used to be married to Peter Rowan.
It was private, I noticed.
Where was that Rockin' by the pool show??
One of the hardest tickets that I've ever had to score (I'd say it was in teh top 5 in the toughest ticket list). But I got in at face.
Very good show. Cool venue, but I got a little tired of Jackie Greene's high energy. Every song was a locamotive. It became his show. Fine stuff, but I would have liked to listen to some of teh subtle playing that I'm used to from Barry Sliess and Larry Campbell.
check phil's sight for the fall tour dates....9 nites at the nokia in nyc........about frigging time that we got some music coming our way
It's been 3 years Since you dropped in on us Phil, and we've got the intimate venues you seem to be gravitating toward!
Come back SOON!
I am truly delighted that Phil is performing--apparently EERYWHERE! I am so sorry I missed his club dates in New York City last month. Please, please, please, when is Phil coming to New York City again? Thanks. Love, Ilene
Thanks to you and Molo and the rest for the Sweetwater dedication to MK ...
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You've met my little magic bunny . . .
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"You hav an empty cup that only love can fill."