Phil Lesh & Friends
& Steve Kimock and Johm Mayer
The Great American Music Hall
The Fillmore Auditorium
The Warfield Theater
& The Bill Graham Civic Center
December 28-31, 2005 San Francisco
Concert Photos and Review by David Oppenheimer
© 2006 David Oppenheimer - All Rights Reserved

Neither Sleet Nor Rain Nor Snow - a New Year's weekend in San Francisco Review

The weather was looking rough, even for the typically rainy bay area winters. I couldn’t see the ground till I was a plane’s height above the runway. Torrential rains flooded many counties north of San Francisco as the Napa and Russian rivers overflowed their banks. Mud slides and falling trees added to the mess assisted by high winds. Despite the less than desirable weather, as usual, the fans holding tickets to the Phil Lesh & Friends show for the New Year’s run in San Francisco - neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow fazes nor deters the kids from coming.

On the 28th a lot of kids who made it in to town early went out to see the Steve Kimock Band at first night of their 4 show run at the Great American Music Hall. The ornate theater felt like home seeing friends, many whom I hadn’t seen in years. Kimock improvised for the crowd and his band harmoniously combined with him to meld out groovy jazz rhythms. The instrumental show’s first set ended with a improve version of A Day in the Life.

Playing from his chair, Kimock stayed in Jazz mode throughout the show. Martin Fierro joined the band on tenor sax for the second set. Many danced while others made up for missed time seeing friends from the road. The historic theater was a great place to beat the weather for the night and for others over the next couple of nights who could find a ticket to the sold out Phil shows at the Fillmore and the Warfield.

The first night of the Phil shows was at the Fillmore Auditorium. The venue boasts only 1150 tickets leaving many out in the cold rain and snow hoping somehow for a chance miracle. The line for entry into the Fillmore Auditorium developed at the Post Office next door headed by ‘Rock n Roll’ Donald followed by die hard groupies of the opening performer John Mayer. Phil Lesh drove himself to the front door of the venue in his Beemer. By show time the venue released 6 tickets to the hundred or so already in line. The rain held up as kids gathered outside before the show without incident.

The opening performer John Mayer kept his groupies and Phil’s fans entertained for a couple of hours. But by 10pm many were getting antsy to see Phil. Mayer came back onto the stage and played ripping rock/blues jams borrowing songs and sounds from Jimi Hendrix. Phil Lesh’s band start till after 11pm. The band started off the party with Shakedown Street which brought the few sitting join the dancing. The place was full of friends and family who along with fans were treated Ryan Adams, Phil’s newest friend to sit with the band. The young rock n’ roller took center stage often throughout the show on lead guitar and vocals. The general admission show allowed first-timers to the Fillmore to gaze at its history plastered on all of its wall in the form of posters and photos from the last 40 years of shows. Along with Rob Barracoon keys , Joan Osborne on vocals, Barry Sless on the pedal steel - guitar, Larry Cambell on guitar, and John ‘The White Cloud’ Molo on drums joined Phil Lesh to bring in the New Year with a 3 night, 3 venue run in San Francisco. The show then took a groove covering Friend of the Devil, Dire Wolf, If I am a Stanger, He’s Gone, Houses on the Hill then up-stepped the first set to end with Bertha. Many were surprised to hear Joan Osborne sing Jerry’s China Doll. The St. Stephen, Not Fade Away and The Wheel ended the late night performance.

The lucky few who got tickets the first night were not let down by a energetic show that blazed on till 3am.

Contrasting the peaceful assembly of kids outside the Fillmore, the scene outside the second night’s show was somewhat chaotic. Although many waited uneventfully on line to get into the historic Warfield theater, one fairly clean-cut fan was being arrested for selling t-shirts I was told then from one of the police cars, a guy in hand cuffs ran toward me and when barely 10 feet away, he was tackled by several police, and once on the ground, one of the officers sized up with a pre-swing then punched in the face the alleged mugger of a patron to the next door Western Union. Being dark, windy, rainy, coupled with the many police and homeless, the scene outside the Warfield Theaterleft many clutching their tickets hoping for early entry. My brother made it out for the night and when he arrived from Berekeley, we went into the show. After making our way to the floor, I realized that with John Mayer opening again, we were along way off from Phil & Friends playing and were better off going to the balcony so we could sit. The Warfield doesn’t make it easy on you to go anywhere but your specified seat and they don’t allow drinks in the balcony section. I was surprised to see John Mayer while talented and jamming on the guitar, was going through the apparent motions from the previous night, adhering at least somewhat to his last night’s setlist including I Don’t Need No Doctor and Jimi Hendrix’s Wait Until Tomorrow. The sound was loud and distorted toward the beginning of the set yet seemed to get properly tuned before too long. Weather inspired, a friend Jody was convinced the band would play Cold Rain and Snow, so I was not surprised to hear it as the opener for the first set. Ryan Adams who lent a large part to the other two shows, was out of the evenings line-up due upset stomach of some sort, giving the band the sound Phil & Friends from a couple of years back. The show a special treat which included Unbroken Chain, New Speedway Boogie, Help>Slip, Gimme Shelter, and encored with Box of Rain. The show went on to almost 3am again.

David Oppenheimer - Performance Impressions

Rodney Holmes - w. Kimock -28Dec2005

Barry Sless - The Warfield Theater- Phil's Friend 30Dec05

John Molo - Bill Graham Civic Center - New Year's Eve 2005 - Phil's Friend

Phil Lesh - The Warfield Theater - 30Dec05

Steve Kimock - The Great American Music Hall

The Steve Kimock Band - 28Dec05 The Great American Music Hall

Phil Lesh & Friends - New Year's Eve 2005

Phil Lesh New Year's Eve 2005

Phil Lesh & Friends New Year's Eve

Phil Lesh & Friends New Year's Eve

Phil Lesh - New Year's Eve 2005-06

John Mayer Trio - The Fillmore Auditorium - 29Dec05

Phil Lesh & Friends - The Fillmore Auditorium

Phil Lesh - The Fillmore Auditorium

San Francisco - January 4, 2006

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