Sunday, September 15 at 7 pm (Main Stage)
It’s a family affair. And it’s a family that came together more than 50 years ago when the Grateful Dead started spreading their endlessly groovy vibes throughout the land. Radiating out from San Francisco to every corner of the earth, co-founder and bassist Phil Lesh and his bandmates created a family that is connected to this day.
Lesh, with his background in free jazz and classical, had never picked up a bass before Jerry Garcia convinced him to play in his band called The Warlocks. The first song he rehearsed with the group, according to Lesh, was “I Know You Rider.” He joined them for their third or fourth gig (memory is a tricky thing) and he stayed put until the Dead disbanded following Garcia’s death in 1995. His playing is remarkable and largely free of the usual rhythmic obligations of a typical rock band bassist. It’s as much a lead instrument as Garcia’s guitar, melodic and fluid in the mode of Paul McCartney or Jack Bruce. To attend a show in the “Phil Zone,” was — and is — to be utterly transported by his imaginative playing. And he contributed some of the Grateful Dead’s most memorable songs to their impressive canon, including “Box of Rain,” Unbroken Chain” and “Pride of Cucamonga.” But you probably knew all that.
Today, his musical family is blood, too, and the Terrapin Family Band features his son Graeme on guitar along with longtime family friend Alex Koford on drums. Jason Crosby is the band’s keyboardist and violinist, though there’s nary an instrument he cannot play. Ross James on guitar ensures there will be rockin’ in the house.
From our family to yours, welcome back, Phil.