The brain is very fuzzy after a long night at Shoreline and only an hour's worth of sleep before work this morning. But oh yes, it was totally worth it. What a great show!!!
The fun started on Saturday when Strider and his sister arrived to Oakland. I picked them up at the airport, we shared a nice dinner together, hung out and had a relaxing evening. Sunday we headed down to Mountainview to hook up with Burt (wlewis) and Justin before the show. We had a sandwich at Togo’s, a fun and enthusiastic pre-show session at the hotel, followed by a short drive to the venue.
Things were jumpin’ in the lot, and there was much more of a scene than I expected. Shoreline security and the Mountainview police were a little mellower than normal, so you didn't feel like you had to rush inside the venue to be safe. We found 23atwell and Denver_Man in the lot and hung out for a while before heading into the venue (although I didn't know it was Denver_Man until after we left) .
We sailed through security and headed to our seats - section 102, 18th row towards the right aisle on Phil’s side. We were solidly in the Phil Zone and it was a beautiful place to be. A little after 7 PM the band came out and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. After three days in Edgefield and no travel day before Shoreline I was a little concerned that the band would be tired. If they were tired in the 1st set they surely didn’t show it. Great energy right out of the gate with “Born Cross-Eyed”, followed by a seamless transition into “Built to Last”. Interesting combo of songs to start things off and the band sent a clear signal early on that they were there to play. “Mountain Song” came next, the first of three Phil songs that would played, and I liked its placement in the 1st set. They came out of “Mountain Song” with a nice transition into “Ship of Fools” (only the 6th time played by Furthur). The band kept right on groovin’ with the 2nd Phil tune of the night, and it was a good one! I love “Pride of Cucamonga” and this version did not disappoint. I’m surprised it took them 8 shows to break it out this tour out, but I’m so glad I got it. Let’s see… 2nd Phil song and we’re only 5 songs in…. oh yeah!!!! “Pride” was followed by another 1st of the tour, “West LA Fadeaway”, and it was a nice slinky version with some good vocals from Bobby. “China Doll” was next (the first slow “Jerry” song of the night) and JK did a very nice job with it. I was fully expecting “Casey Jones” to end the set, but instead they did the 2nd Cosmic Charlie of the tour. It was a decent version… not spectacular, but very solid. On the whole it was a pretty mellow but very groovin’ set, solidly played with a few high energy moments.
The 2nd set can be summed up with three simple yet beautiful words…. PHILLIP CHAPMAN LESH!!!!!!!!!! OMFG, Phil came out and just owned that 2nd set like nobody’s business. He was large and in charge, struttin’ his stuff for the Bay Area fans. It was so amazing to watch him do his thing from the 18th row… simply masterful!!! The Meyers sound system sounded sooooooo good and the bass was absolutely HUGE!!!! The whole 2nd set is one big highlight. I was totally not expecting a “Terrapin” in any way shape or form, but the “Terrapin sandwich” was an absolute monster!!! WOW!!! And as good as the “Jam> Lady with a Fan > Jam> St. Stephen! > The Eleven” was, the "China Cat Sunflower> Unbroken Chain> Rider" just blew me to bits. “China Cat > Unbroken Chain > Rider”… are you freakin’ kidding me?!!! Simply outstanding with some major Phil bombs in “Rider” that were sub-sonic and atomic!!!
The band brought us in for a safe landing after a long, intense and winding adventure and we got to catch our breath. “Stella Blue” was the 2nd slow “Jerry” tune of the night, and has been a real rarity as of late. Burt reminded me after the show that they hadn’t done “Stella” since Wanee, so it was long overdue. 23atwell got his Stella and it was a good one. Phil quickly re-asserted his dominance at the end of "Stella", reminding everyone that he was at the helm, bringing us back for the final piece of the “Terrapin sandwich”. It was a rocky transition into “Sugar Mag”, but it was good once it got going. I had totally forgotten about “Samson”, but was happy to hear it. I still can’t really wrap my head around the intro that Furthur does for this song… it just seems weird and unnatural, but similar to “Sugar Magnolia” it was good once it got going.
At the end of the night I was absolutely exhausted, but soooooooooo happy!!!!!!! This was my only show of the tour and I got way more than I had hoped for. Phil was freakin’ spectacular!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great night for JK as well, but make no mistake… PHILIP CHAPMAN LESH is still the man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!