Phil Lesh’s Road to Mountain Jam kicked-off with a special night featuring Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen at Port Chester, NY’s The Capitol Theater. The Dead-friendly venue packed a sold-out crowd in to appreciate this legendary collaboration.

The five-piece band got things building with an intro jam that allowed Kaukonen to warm up his bright guitar tone before they jumped into a happy “Here Comes Sunshine”, led on vocals by Dark Star Orchestra keyboardist Rob Barraco. Phil Lesh then took over lead vocals on the Dead traditional staple “Cold Rain and Snow”. Kaukonen’s controlled, clean Hot Tuna style turned into some real Jefferson Airplane-esque shredding as he and Barraco soloed together to hit one of the best jams of the set.

Next, former Bruce Hornsby and the Range drummer and longtime “Friend” of Phil Lesh, John Molo, shined on a bouncy “Loose Lucy” before they slowed things back down on a “Bird Song” with Phil’s talented son Grahame Lesh showing off his slide guitar chops.

Kaukonen sang lead vocals for the first time with an unexpected take on “Smokestack Lightning” by Howlin’ Wolf. His raspy, soulful voice fit this tune perfectly as fans cheered when he came up to the mic. The Hot Tuna legend picked an incredible bluesy solo, but Grahame matched it with a roaring jam of his own. The contrast between the two musicians was striking, echoing when Phil Lesh plays with John Kadlecik and John Scofield on dueling lead guitars. [Live For Live Music]

The Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh is gearing up to play NY's Mountain Jam this weekend, but first he stopped by Port Chester's Capitol Theatre for two Phil Lesh & Friends shows on Monday (6/11) and Tuesday (6/12) with Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen in his band. (That's an excerpt of Live For Live Music's review of night one above.) Phil and Jorma loaded their set with Dead classics, encoring on night one with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and on night two with a cover of The Band's "The Weight," and Jorma took lead vocals on "Friend of the Devil" on night two. Check out videos from the shows and the setlists from both nights, below.

Meanwhile, Phil has already announced his return to the Cap: he'll do his annual Phil-O-Ween shows there on Halloween night (10/31), 11/1, and 11/12. Tickets go on sale Friday (6/14) at noon.

Phil is also playing Peach Music Festival, FloydFest, Pickathon, Summerfest with Willie Nelson, and more. All dates are listed below.

In related news, Phil's former Grateful Dead bandmates Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann are currently on tour with Dead & Company, and Live Nation has been hosting a scavenger hunt for free tickets to the NYC show.

Phil Lesh at Capitol Theatre - 6/11/19 Setlist (via)
Set 1:
Here Comes Sunshine (Grateful Dead song)
Cold Rain and Snow ([traditional] cover) (Phil lead vocals)
Loose Lucy (Grateful Dead song)
Bird Song (Jerry Garcia cover) (Phil lead vocals)
Smokestack Lightning (Howlin’ Wolf cover) (Jorma lead vocals)
Alabama Getaway (Grateful Dead song)
Operator (Grateful Dead song) (Jorma lead vocals)
In the Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett cover)

Set 2:
Playing in the Band (Bob Weir cover)
All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)
Viola Lee Blues (Cannon's Jug Stompers cover)
Death Don't Have No Mercy (Reverend Gary Davis cover) (Jorma lead vocals)
New Speedway Boogie (Grateful Dead song)
I Know You Rider ([traditional] cover)
Playing in the Band (Bob Weir cover) (reprise)
The Wheel (Jerry Garcia cover)
Liberty (Robert Hunter cover)

Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Bob Dylan cover) (Phil lead vocals)

Phil Lesh at Capitol Theatre - 6/12/19 Setlist (via)
Set 1:
Dancing in the Street (Martha Reeves and The Vandellas cover)
Broken Arrow (Robbie Robertson cover)
Big Boss Man (Jimmy Reed cover)
Friend of the Devil (Grateful Dead song) (Jorma Kaukonen on lead vocals)
Mr. Charlie (Grateful Dead song)
Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo (Grateful Dead song)
Franklin's Tower (Grateful Dead song)

Set 2:
St. Stephen (Grateful Dead song)
Mason's Children (Grateful Dead song)
Dupree's Diamond Blues (Grateful Dead song)
I Am the Light of This World (Jorma Kaukonen cover)
Good Shepherd (Jefferson Airplane cover)
The Other One (Grateful Dead song)
Eyes of the World (Grateful Dead song)
Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead song)
Sugar Magnolia (Grateful Dead song)
Going Down the Road Feelin' Bad (Henry Whitter cover)
And We Bid You Goodnight (The Pindar Family & Joseph Spence cover)

The Weight (The Band cover)

Phil Lesh -- 2019 Tour Dates
Jun 14 Bangor, ME Darling's Waterfront Pavilion
Jun 15 Bethel, NY Mountain Jam
Jun 16 Hartford, CT Xfinity Theatre
Jun 27 Milwaukee, WI American Family Insurance Amphitheater w/ Willie Nelson
Jun 28 Tinley Park, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Jun 29 Maryland Heights, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre - St. Louis
Jul 24 Floyd, VA FloydFest
Jul 25 Scranton, PA Peach Music Festival
Jul 26 Newport, RI Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI
Aug 01-02 Happy Valley, OR Pickathon
Aug 11 Vineyard Haven, MA Martha's Vineyard Veterans Memorial Park
Sep 13 Telluride, CO Telluride Town Park
Oct 31 Port Chester, NY Capitol Theatre
Nov 01 Port Chester, NY Capitol Theatre
Nov 02 Port Chester, NY Capitol Theatre

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