Remembering Phil Lesh & Phriends Featuring Trey Anastasio + Page McConnell Kick Off Warfield Run in 1999

In the annals of jam band history, few collaborations hold as much significance as when Phil Lesh & Friends teamed up with Trey Anastasio and Page McConnell of Phish at The Warfield in San Francisco. This groundbreaking three-night run, which began on April 15, 1999, marked not only a musical milestone but also a poignant return for Phil Lesh following a life-saving liver transplant surgery.

The lineup was a powerhouse: alongside Phil Lesh were guitarist Steve Kimock and drummer John Molo, complemented by the virtuosic talents of Trey Anastasio on guitar and Page McConnell on keyboards. The chemistry between these musicians was palpable from the outset, as they embarked on a journey that seamlessly melded the Grateful Dead’s storied repertoire with the improvisational spirit of Phish.

The first night opened poignantly with Phil and his sons Brian and Grahame Lesh performing Eric Clapton’s “Hello Old Friend,” a symbolic choice for Phil’s return to the stage. The highlight of the evening came with a monumental 34-minute rendition of “Viola Lee Blues,” setting the tone for an adventurous exploration of both bands’ musical legacies.

In an interview with, Phil Lesh reflected on how the collaboration came to fruition, revealing how he initially discovered Phish’s music and their subsequent collaboration on Dead tunes. He noted Phish’s influence on his musical perspective and the spirited rehearsals that preceded the Warfield shows, which included unexpected selections from Phish’s repertoire like “Wolfman’s Brother” and “Down With Disease.”

The setlist for the evening was a blend of Grateful Dead classics and carefully chosen Phish covers, showcasing the versatility and creativity of the ensemble. Highlights included harmonious renditions of “Big Railroad Blues,” “Cosmic Charlie,” and a spirited take on “Shakedown Street,” which extended into an expansive improvisational jam.

After a mesmerizing second set featuring staples like “Sugaree,” “I Know You Rider,” and “Not Fade Away,” the night concluded with a heartfelt rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” delivered in homage to The Byrds’ iconic interpretation.

Phil & Friends Radio Show on Dead Set Every Tuesday Night

Beyond the stage, Phil Lesh continues to connect with fans through his Phil & Friends Radio Show, broadcasted weekly on Dead Set every Tuesday night. This show serves as a testament to Phil’s enduring influence on the jam band community, featuring a curated selection of live recordings, rare gems, and interviews with fellow musicians.

Each episode of the Phil & Friends Radio Show offers listeners a glimpse into the vast archive of live performances and collaborations spanning Phil’s illustrious career. From classic Grateful Dead tracks to exclusive insights into his evolving musical journey, the show celebrates the spirit of improvisation and community that defines the Deadhead ethos.

Tune in every Tuesday night to Dead Set and join Phil Lesh as he continues to weave together the threads of musical exploration, legacy, and camaraderie that have shaped his remarkable career.

For more information and to listen live, visit Dead Set’s official website and immerse yourself in the world of Phil & Friends.

Website: Dead Set

As Phil Lesh & Friends’ 1999 Warfield run demonstrated, the magic of live music and collaborative spirit continues to resonate, inspiring generations of fans and musicians alike.