Phil & Jackie Help Celebrate Bill Graham’s Birthday Bash
by Blair Jackson
Rock impresario Bill Graham may be long gone, but his memory and his legacy live on, and the philanthropic organization that bears his name continues to do important work. The Bill Graham Foundation, the group’s web site says, “gives grants primarily in the areas of music, the arts and education, while also supporting social work, environmental protection, and spiritual and compassionate projects in our community. In this spirit, the Bill Graham Foundation seeks to assist those whose needs are oftentimes not served by larger philanthropic organizations.”
Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Jackie Greene and Phil Lesh.
Photo: Bob Minkin © 2008
This year’s big BGF fund-raiser took place on Friday, January 11, at San Francisco’s Fillmore nightclub (appropriately enough) and featured a stellar lineup of mostly Bay Area musicians in what was billed as “A Special Evening of Duets.” After opening remarks by photographer Michael Zagaris and long-time Bill Graham Presents event producers Bob and Peter Barsotti, folk-jazz stylists Tuck & Patti (who are a duo on and offstage) were the first to perform. They were followed by the intriguing pairing of former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and blues guitar titan Roy Rogers for a well-received set of jazzy instrumental music and a Doors medley that included “Roadhouse Blues” and “Riders on the Storm.”
Celebrating Bill Graham's birthday at the Fillmore:
(Back row, L to R): Ramblin' Jack, Phil, Jackie,
Tuck & Patti.(Front row, L to R): Roy Rogers, Wavy Gravy,
Ray Manzarek.Photo: Bob Minkin © 2008
After some fond remarks from former Grateful Dead crew member Steve Parish, ex-Jefferson Airplane manager Bill Thompson and Journey manager Herbie Herbert, the music continued with Jackie Greene and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. They laid down cool versions of “San Francisco Bay Blues” and Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” before being joined by Phil Lesh for a nice workout on “Friend of the Devil.” Then Phil and Jackie played their own set, which consisted of one of Jackie’s new songs, “Ball and Chain,” and then a trio of Dead tunes: “Casey Jones,” “Brokedown Palace” and, of course, “Box of Rain.”
Following more tributes to Bill, Linda Ronstadt performed, unfortunately without her designated duet mate, Aaron Neville, who was ill and unable to come at the last minute. Still, she wowed the crowd with heartfelt versions of “Desperado,” “Blue Bayou” and others. Then, closing the show was a rousing dance set by Booker T. Jones, who led a crack band (including guitarist Vernon Black) through a dynamite selection of MGs hits (“Green Onions,” “Hip Hug-Her,” etc.), Memphis classics such as “Midnight Hour” and “Hold On I’m Comin’” and even Hendrix’s “Little Wing” and “Purple Haze.” Yow!
Special thanks to our intrepid correspondent on the scene, Dave Clark!
A couple of other notes: Fans of Phil & Friends will be excited to learn that, as a gift to all of you, Phil has made seven shows from the group’s triumphant Nokia Theatre series last fall available for FREE downloads though several different “mirror” sites, including etree.org and archive.org. Included in this batch of shows is the historic Halloween gig (featuring one-time-only versions of such tunes as “I Put A Spell on You,” “Boris the Spider,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Voodoo Chile,” as well as Phil reading from Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”), a show featuring Ryan Adams, and just a ton o’ great stuff (I’m kind of partial to the 11/8 show). So thanks for all that, Phil! For more info, go to Phillesh.net. ...Jackie Greene’s next album, Giving Up the Ghost, will be out April 1 on the 429/Savoy label. Both Phil and P&F guitarist Larry Campbell appear on the project, which includes three songs (out of 12 total) that made it into the P&F repertoire: "Ball and Chain," "Don't Let the Devil Take Your Mind" and "Downhearted." We’ll have more on that closer to the release date…
Ramblin' Jack was there!? I can't believe i missed that. I love him....
"..one good thing, one good thing, when it hits you feel no pain..."
one of these folks is not like the others, not like the others, not like the others...can you tell which one is not like the others, before I finish this song...
I know from reading Ray Manzarek's book that he did not care for the Dead, and recounted some horror stories about his misadventures with the Dead. He might have badmouthed the GD many times aftterwards. Now he's all smiles, posing in the picture with Phil.
...so sweet... it never ends - theres alway more...
I really like the photo that starts this with Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Jackie Greene and Phil Lesh.
I see 3 generations of incredible music on stage together. The folkie, the Dead and beyond, and the new and upcoming.
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
I spent a lot of time at the Filmore in the '60. Bill Graham had a great voice on mike and always called his guests "Ladies & Gentlemen" when introducing a group. I usually only saw him if I was outside in line waiting for the doors to be open. He would pace the sidewalk, with his head down, all business and nobody better move or get loud or nothing or you felt like you would be out of there. Or rather never in.
Then he would be at the top of the stairs by a table with a box of apples, handing you next weeks poster and an apple. I never saw him hanging around inside. I think I saw him more than once on new year eves come down, from the stage ceiling, hanging on a rope and naked except for a diaper, perhaps at the stroke of midnight. I miss you riders.
50GreenDodge of Arizona
This was the first thing I saw on my first visit to the NEW dead.net. High praise for the qualilty of the article, BJ. I hope the rest is of similar quality.
Thanks for the nice words, Teedawg, but I should get NO credit for making the shows available; I just publicized it. All credit goes to Phil. And while I'm here, I want to put in a special plug, too, for the 11/9 show, which I've really gotten into...GREAT stuff!
Thanks to Phil and Blair for making the shows available. Thanks for all the great work you do for the community Blair, much appreciated by I am sure all of us. May peace and joy follow you both this New Year.
On a side note, and hope Phil gets to read this, Thank You for the book you just put out, was a Joy to read. Keep those Bass Bombs coming , mate, especially if you can come over and do a few shows in England again.
Check out a partial "bootleg quality" video of "Friend of the Devil" on Youtube from this evenings peformance
Praying for a reunion..............................................
We miss you Jerry!