Here is a recap of the music aspect of my Halloween weekend in Vegas:
Friday October 27:
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV Robert Randolph & The Family Band
10:30 - 11:30Trey Anastasio
Set I: Simple Twist up Dave, First Tube, Stone Free*, 46 Days*, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Push On Til the Day, What's Done, Goodbye Head > Plasma, Gotta Jiboo
Encore: Mr. Completely > Tuesday
* with Robert Randolph on pedal steel
Walked in about 30 minutes into Robert Randolph's set, he was ripping everything in just about every direction. They then took a 30 minute break where everything cleared out for a bit which allowed us to get closer to the stage. Trey came out about midnight. At first I thought the Simple Twist was a little slow as an opener but Trey really opened the song up and found some very interesting jams somewhere in the middle of it. The First Tube really got everything going and he rocked it pretty hard. Robert Randolph came out for Hendrix's Stone Free and 46 Days and really did a great job, Trey sorta stepped back a little during these jams, but came out firing on the next songs. The Sweet Dreams was an absolute treat that he rocked extremely hard, and then of course Push On Til the Day was filled with energy and great trumpet. The Goodbye Head > Plasma, Gotta Jiboo was absolutely insane and the Jiboo really takes off and goes in some strange directions. The encore is extremely fun, especially the closing Tuesday.
Saturday October 28:
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NVPhil & Trey with John Medeski, Larry Campbell, and John Molo
Set I: Ghost > Cryptical Envelopment > The Other One > Drifting > Dark Star > Mountains of the Moon > 46 Days > Mountains of the Moon > St. Stephen > The Eleven > Plasma
Set II: Dark Star > One for the Rose > Dark Star > Wharf Rat > I Know You Rider
Encore: Viola Lee Blues > Here Comes Sunshine > Shine
This show was absolutely incredible. After noodling around a few minutes, Trey leads the band into a rocking Ghost, playing it quite a bit quicker and louder than most Phish versions. Phil then steps up and takes the band and crowd through an excellent Cryptical -> Other One, with Trey playing very high and all over the place. Really a very strong version. Trey's Drifting started out a little too cautious but really found an excellent groove with Trey playing some great sounding notes. The band then wound its way through 2 distinct high powered jams with both Trey and Phil bending the strings on their instruments. The second jam involves some seriously spacy noodling before it gently approaches Dark Star. Trey exhibits tremendous playing throughout and after Phil nails the first verse, Trey sends the entire place into orbit. Once the powerful Dark Star jam ends, Phil launches into an intense Mountains of the Moon where he really nails the lyrics and emotions of the song. Medeski really adds a lot to the psychadelic feel of the song, and Phil does not disappoint. Towards the end of the song the band begins playing 46 Days which seems out of place on paper but Trey and Medeski do a really good job of making it seem to fit within the context of the Mountains of the Moon jam. At the end of the song Phil abrubtly begins singing Mountains of the Moon again, Hi-Ho! the carion crow, Bow & Bend to me! Pure greatness!
The band begins to play a 46 Days similar jam but then begin an extremely loud and rockin St. Stephen where Trey can do no wrong. After scatting through another jam, the band rocks the Eleven with Medeski really allowing for things to get wierd in teh arena. After the Eleven the band marches through an Other One sounding jam with Trey really playing great. Trey then brings his backup vocalist out for Plasma which fits perfectly with the set but seems like a strange first set closer.
With so much intensity and ground covered in the first set, I really didn't know where they could take this one in the second set. Yet, despite the first set's tendency to create unrealistically high expectations, the band did not disappoint the crowd one bit in the second set and things really got deep this late into the morning.
The band started the second set similar to the first with some spacey jamming/noodling before launching into Dark Star, with Phil singing the "shall we go.." lyrics again. Nice Phil! Phil then sang a song I'm unfamiliar with "One for the Rose" but it sounded very good and of course Trey and Medeski played excellent on it. The band then returned to Dark Star with another high powered jam that eventually led into a more spacey jam. The band finally find themselves in Wharf Rat where Trey delivers an exquisite version. This band just drips with the goo as Trey really shines on this one. Things really pick up towards the end with Trey leading the band in a marching jam that wraps into a killer I Know You Rider that does not slow down for one minute. The band takes a short break and Phil does his usual Donor Rap and suddenly the band is back out there for an extended encore. They start things out right with an extremely hot Viola Lee Blues that lasts for a good 15 minutes. Everyone seems to be having lots of fun and jamming their souls out. At the end of Viola Lee Trey begins a fine Here Comes Sunshine where he handles both the lyrics and the guitar playing perfectly. Trey finishes the show off by bringing out his back up vocalist once again for an actually remarkable version of Shine where the band plays with a great deal of ferocity. We stumbled outside back into the cold Vegas night about 4:45 after the daylight savings time hour.
Sunday October 29:
Vegoose Music Festival, Star Nursery Field,UNLV Las Vegas, NVRhythm Devils
The Center-> Your House-> Cumberland Blues-> Comes Dawn, New Speedway Boogie, Next Dimension-> Drums-> The Other One, The Wedge, Fire on the Mountain, Turn on Your Lovelight
Encore: Good Lovin'
The Rhythm Devils took the stage about 3 o clock and immediately started jamming pretty hard to two new tunes, The Center and Your House before finding Cumberland Blues. The band really plays with a lot of energy during Cumberland and Kimock takes the solos very nicely. The lead singer really got into this one, as did Mike Gordon. The next song was more of a small jam before the excellently played and sang New Speedway Boogie. Definitely one of the highlights of the set. Kimock really tears up the Next Dimension before Billy and Mickey do what they do best during drums. The whole band returns for a powerful Other One with everyone firing on all cylinders. Mike steps up to the plate and delivers a superb Wedge before Kimock shines on the following Fire. He plays a very Garcia-eque sounding guitar and Mike really plays a great and recognizable bass on this classic. The band then plays a powerful Lovelight before ending with a standard Good Lovin'. Phil & Trey with John Medeski, Larry Campbell, John Molo
Set I: Shakedown Street > Sweet Dreams Melinda > Row Jimmy, Let It Ride > Sleep Again, Like a Rolling Stone, Back on the Train > Bird Song > Help On the Way > Slipknot > Franklin's Tower
Encore: Donor Rap, Not Fade Away
Despite Phil's announcement that Saturday's late night show would be psychadelic and Sunday's show would be more straight ahead rocking good time, some of the psychadelic goo dripped overflowed into Sunday's evening performance. With the extended Shakedown Street opener the band forges ahead sounding excellent with Phil noticeably getting into the refrain. Trey then plays Sweet Dreams Melinda for the second time of the weekend, but this version really sounds great. Trey then flubs the beginning of Row Jimmy but returns for a strong performance. Phil stood up next and played a Ryan Adams' cover of Let it Ride where he really gets into the vocals. The whole band sounds excited and polished before Trey brings everyone back down a notch with his dreamy Sleep Again. This song sounded extremely great and Trey really did a good job with it. The band, and particularly Phil, really found their stride with a fine reading of Like A Rolling Stone, with Trey's guitar playing a perfect complement to Phil's strong vocals. Mike Gordon joined the band onstage for Phish's Back on the Train which the band really jammed out, complete with Mike playing Trey's guitar at a suprisingly good level. Phil then leads the band into Bird Song which he delivers with much emotion and perfection. This takes the band into a solid Help on the Way > Slipknot! with the only letdown being Franklin's after such a strong beginning to the trifecta. The band's encore of Not Fade Away was extremely straightforward and rocking, just brimming with energy. And with that the Phil & Trey shows were complete.Widespread Panic
Set 1: Climb to Safety > Surprise Valley > Henry Parsons Died, From the Cradle > Pigeons, Rebirtha > Tallboy, Blue Indian, Solid Rock > Fishwater, Conrad > Thought Sausage > Barstools and Dreamers > Action Man, Papa's Home, Little Wing > Porch Song, Ribs and Whiskey > Good People > Chilly Water
Encore: Ain't Life Grand
The main highlights that I saw were the Suprise Valley, an excellent From the Cradle, and a sick Rebirtha -> Tallboy, Blue Indian. After the Tallboy I started to leave but came back when I heard them go into Blue Indian, however, after Blue Indian I left the main stage for good to catch the end of the Roots show.The Roots
Game Theory, Star, Don't Say Nuthin', In the Music, Don't Feel Right, Stay Cool, Mellow My Man, Justuckwithis, Hub Solo, Double Trouble, Questlove Knuckles & Kirk Solo, You Got Me, The Next Movement, Black Betty, The Seed, Cowbell Skit (SNL), Smooth Criminal, Melting Pot, Kamal Solo, Hip Hop 101
I didn't get to this show until the classic deliverance of Black Betty. The band continually entertained throughout the show playing great covers of Black Betty and Smooth Criminal while entertaining the crowd with jams, Will Ferrel's Cowbell blue oyster cult skit, and endless jams, complete with a very nice hip hop 101.