Phil Lesh & Friends | Capitol Theatre | 3/16/2024

Article Contributed by gratefulweb | Published on Monday, March 18, 2024

Under the enchanting lights of the Capitol Theatre, Phil Lesh & Friends embarked on a journey that redefined the very essence of a live music experience. This wasn't merely a concert; it was a bridge between epochs, a melding of the Grateful Dead's storied past with glimpses of a boundless future. The lineup, starring Phil Lesh, Grahame Lesh, Amy Helm, Jason Crosby, Daniel Donato, and John Molo, didn't just perform—they created an aura of enchantment that enveloped everyone present.

The show kicked off with "Dire Wolf," setting a tone that was both mysterious and inviting. As "Cumberland Blues" unfolded, the band took the audience on a high-speed chase through the heartland of Americana, making each song a unique stop on a grand adventure. "Cold Rain and Snow" transformed the venue into its own climatic zone, with the power of the performance enveloping the audience in a tempest of emotion.

When the band covered Bob Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece," it felt like a collective effort in creating aural art, painting the air with rich, emotional hues. This was followed by a heartrending rendition of "Candyman" and an energetic "Jack Straw," each song building on the last to create an immersive musical narrative.

The second set was a showcase of the band's ability to fuse sounds and emotions into something transcendent. "Loser" brought an intimacy that felt almost confessional, setting the stage for a jubilant "Not Fade Away," which seamlessly transitioned into an ethereal instrumental "Dark Star." This journey through the cosmos was a highlight, a voyage with the band as navigators through the musical universe. The return to "Not Fade Away" from "Dark Star" felt like a clever magic trick, revealing the ensemble's skill in crafting complex musical narratives.

"Morning Dew" was a revelation, with Grahame and Amy Helm's voice acting as a beacon, illuminating the depth of the song's lyrics with a profound resonance. Daniel Donato soared on this Dew.  "Samson and Delilah" became a seismic event, with the raw energy compelling everyone to their feet. "Uncle John's Band" felt like an embrace, a warm gathering of friends and strangers united by melody.

The encore was nothing short of spectacular, with Phil Lesh & Friends joining forces with Joe Russo's Almost Dead to deliver a triumphant trio of "Truckin'," "Touch of Grey," and "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad." This collaboration wasn't just a performance; it was a fireworks display of musical brilliance, capped off with a "Not Fade Away" reprise that served as a vibrant declaration of the night's enduring impact.

Phil Lesh & Friends at Capitol Theatre was more than a tribute to the Grateful Dead; it was a living, breathing celebration of music's power to connect us across time and space. The chemistry on stage was palpable, a dynamic interplay of talents that drew everyone into a shared experience. This evening was a reminder that the spirit of the Grateful Dead's music continues to evolve, carried forward by musicians who not only cherish its roots but are also daring enough to explore new horizons.