Phil Lesh, Nikki Bluhm, Robert Randolph, Preservation Hall Band, & More Make Magic In NJ [Videos/ Photos]

first_imgOn Thursday, October 26th, Phil Lesh hit the Asbury Park Convention Center, marking his return to the tri-state area (save occasional visits to New York City) for the first time since his 2013 East Coast tour. Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band was joined by singer Nicki Bluhm and steel pedal virtuoso Robert Randolph, with the ensemble coming on stage about 8:30 pm to a loud and thunderous roar from over three-thousand energetic fans. With the opening beat and guitar riffs of Johnny Cash’s “Big River”, this old building started shaking and swaying with each passing note. Grahame Lesh, on vocals and guitar, wove the song to a scenic vista with Ross James and Grahame trading guitar solos throughout.“Big River” [Video: Borrowed Tune]Nicki Bluhm and Robert Randolph led the band on an energetic and passionate “To Rise you Fall”, and half-way through the song, Randolph kicked his chair out of the way to stand and wail on his steel pedal guitar. “Ramble on Rose” was up next, featuring soaring guitar and vocals and triumphant lighting. “Girl from North Country” featured the beautiful harmonies of Nicki, Grahame, and Alex ahead of a soulful “West LA Fadeaway” and set closer “Scarlet Begonias”.Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Nicki Bluhm, Robert Randolph, Preservation Hall Jazz Band In DC [Audio]The second set started out with a powerful “Jack Straw”, during which the fierce jamming led to Robert Randolph breaking one of his strings, though the seasoned musician continued on without a hitch. Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” brought out the soul in the band, while the iconic Grateful Dead masterpieces “St. Stephen” and “Eleven” saw thunderous booms from Phil’s bass, towering guitar solos from both Grahame and Ross, and continuous sing-alongs from the crowd.Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB), a 50-plus-year-old institution out of New Orleans, gave Phil and Family a mid-set break and they did not disappoint! Ben Jaffe (Bass/Tuba), Clint Maedgen (Sax), Ronell Johnson (Trombone), Water Harris (Drums), Kyle Roussel (Piano), and Branden Lewis (Trumpet) kicked it old school during their 20+ minute set. High energy, flashy showmanship, and smiles abounded throughout their set. The mutual appreciation and love of the music, each other, and the crowd was very genuine and apparent. Phil Lesh and Family joined PHJB on stage for the transition into “Dark Star v2” which was a treat to see. As the song wound down, most of PHJB the band left the stage, though the horn section remained for the rest of the night.Phil Lesh Announces “Phriendsgiving” With Tom Hamilton, Holly Bowling, & MoreNext up was the iconic triple-play Grateful Dead classic “Help on the Way” > “Slipnot” > “Franklin’s Tower”. This seamless three-song segue alone is already amazing, but with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band horns, the combination was magic in its truest form. The last song of the evening was Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”, a virtual Deadhead sing-a-long that lasted longer than the actual music and closed out the magical show on a wonderful high. With a final bow from everyone in both bands, the happy crowd filtered out to a beautiful star-filled night with the moon hanging brightly in the sky.“Not Fade Away” [Video: rdeal1999]The “Big River” moved into the sweet and mysterious “Rubin and Cherise”.  Jason Crosby’s keys provided a funkadelic groove as Alex Koford provided a solid rhythm with vocals reminiscent of a young Jerry Garcia. With the first few notes, the crowd went wild for “Friend of the Devil”. Phil’s passionate vocals alongside the background vocals of every single person in the crowd turned up the energy to another level.“Rubin & Cherise” Photo: Bob Schultzcenter_img [Video: rdeal1999]Setlist: Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band with Nikki Bluhm, Robert Randolph, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band | Asbury Park Convention Center | Asbury Park, NJ | 10/26/2017Set One: Big River, Rubin & Cherise, Friend of the Devil, To Rise you Fall, Ramble on Rose, Girl from North Country, West LA Fadeaway, Scarlet BegoniasSet Two: Jack Straw, Dear Mr Fantasy, St Stephen > Eleven > St Stephen, Dark Star v1, Preservation Hall Jazz Band Set, Dark Star v2*, Help on the Way* > Slipnot* > Franklin’s Tower*, Not Fade Away **with Preservation Hall Jazz Band HornsPhil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band | Asbury Park Convention Center | Asbury Park, NJ | 10/26/2017 | Photo: Bob Schultz Load remaining imageslast_img

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