Full Name: Phil Lesh
What could be said in a few short paragraphs that would in any way do justice to the influence Phil Lesh has had on the members of Phish, so many of their fans, and the world of Rock and Roll at large? Phil Lesh was the bassist for the Grateful Dead. If you are not familiar with Phil or the Grateful Dead, please, put down The Companion. Go to your nearest bookstore or record store, search the web, ask a friend! If your interest is only in the influence of the Dead on members of Phish, be sure to read the extensive passages on that subject that appear in Richard Gehr’s The Phish Book.
Fans of both the Grateful Dead and Phish were justifiably ecstatic when in 1999 a string of collaborations began between Phil Lesh and members of Phish. The first was the historic three-night run of “Phil Lesh and Phriends” shows 4/15-17/99, at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. This lineup featured Phil Lesh on bass, John Molo on drums, Trey and Steve Kimock on guitars and Page on keyboards. A meeting of “jam band” heavyweights, these shows were populated mostly by Grateful Dead tunes, but also included Phish staples “Chalk Dust Torture,” “Wolfman's Brother,” “Prince Caspian” and “Down with Disease,” the latter squeezed in between “Terrapin Station” and “Dark Star!” Page again sat in with Phil & Friends on 11/16/01 at Burlington's Memorial Auditorium for an encore of “In the Midnight Hour.”
After the “Phil and Phriends” run, anticipation was high for a possible guest appearance by Phil at the Phish shows in Phil's neck of the woods, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. Fans were not disappointed, as Phil joined the Phish stage on 9/17/99. Approaching his 60th birthday and not barely a year after liver transplant surgery, Phil Lesh proved he could still not only jam with the best of them, but that he could still exercise with the best of them. Phil emerged during “You Enjoy Myself,” and joined Mike and Trey on a third trampoline. A glorious bass duet with Mike followed, and then Phil added vocals on “Wolfman's Brother.” A rocking “Cold Rain & Snow” ended the set, and then joined by Warren Haynes, Phil led the band through an encore of “Viola Lee Blues.”
Mike has also has made numerous appearances with Phil and his Friends. The first was during the celebration of Phil’s 60th birthday on 3/10/00 at Oakland’s Kaiser Auditorium; Phil played electric guitar and passed the bass duties to Mike for “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Box of Rain.” A few weeks later on 4/8/00 Mike joined Phil at the Orpheum Theater in Boston for an encore of “Wolfman’s Brother” that featured an extended bass duet. Returning to Oakland’s Kaiser, Mike sat in on a second bass for the majority of the third set to ring in the New Year on 12/31/00. Most recently, Mike sat in with “The Dead” at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on 6/20/03 for a bass duet with Phil.