Once the Phil and Friends shows established a relationship, both personally and musically between Phil and Trey, the Phish and Dead communities began to blend together. Led by the musical model that had wowed everyone for three nights, the two cultures- a generation apart- began to grow closer. Everything seemed cool now; there was much less ill will between the bands’ followings; the scenes began to intermingle and lines became blurred. The musicians themselves formed relationships, as members of Phish and The Dead went on to collaborate on future projects.
Later the same year, when Phish passed through Shoreline for two nights on their fall tour, they returned the invitation. Inviting Phil to sit in for much of the second set of 9.17, the two scenes fused in a more Phish-centric way. As Phil came out for “YEM,” Brad brought out a third trampoline! In the ultimate gesture of Phisy approval, Phil bounced up and down with Trey and Mike during the tramps part of the jam. To the giddy delight of all involved, this guest sit-in carried more meaning than any before. Morphing into a bass duet with Mike out of “YEM”, Phil stuck around for “Wolfman’s,” and a poignant cover of The Dead’s “Cold Rain and Snow.” For the encore, they brought Phil back and Warren Haynes and played an extensive “Viola Lee Blues.” At this point, Phish and The Dead had grown closer than ever.
In their penultimate show before their hiatus, also at Shoreline, Phish invited Bob Weir to the stage for a three-song encore of “El Paso,” “Chalk Dust,” and “West LA Fadeaway.” Though not as musically impressive as Lesh’s stint with Phish, Weir’s sit-in carried as much symbolic weight as anything.
Once Phish broke up in 2004 and Trey toured with the much-maligned 70 Volt Parade for 2005, he began popping up with Phil in 2006. Teaming up with Mike, drummer Joe Russo, and piano visionary Marco Benevento, Trey toured with the horribly-monikered GRAB as a co-bill with Phil and Friends during the summer of ’06. This tour was a legitimate merging of the Phish and the Dead scenes as each band drew from their respective fan bases, most who stayed to watch both acts. Although GRAB hit some grooves and played fun shows, the greatest parts of these evenings were when Trey came out with Phil and Friends and played Dead music. Sometimes it was for a song or two, and sometimes, like Camden (6.30), Hartford (7.3), Jones Beach (7.7), and Scranton (7.11), it was for the entire second set. These sets were the high points of the entire tour, and I’m pretty sure Phil would agree. One of the highlights of this run of sit-ins was the sublime second set at Camden, where the entire band was tapped in. (Just look at Phil’s face as Trey rips apart St. Stephen in the video below!) Trey elevated the play of Phil’s band to another level each time he took the stage, and it were these sets that I continued to listen to when the summer ended.
Trey also sat in with Phil and Friends at Halloween’s Vegoose Festival in Las Vegas in ’06, not only for the festival set, but for an entire two-set late night gig as well. Earlier in the year, before GRAB/Phil tour, Phil joined GRAB onstage at Bonnaroo for a rendition of “Casey Jones.” Gradually, it seemed like playing with Phil was Trey’s new favorite stage. He got to improvise freely over Dead classics, standing in for Jerry, while sprinkling in songs from his own catalog. He was loving it, and the fans were too- Phil didn’t have too many friends with the guitar prowess of Trey. But less than two months after Vegoose, on December 15th, Trey was arrested and sequestered to Whitehall, NY and its surroundings.
Taken out of the scene for a while, Trey’s next big appearance was actually with Phil and Friends at the nearby, hence legal, Glens Falls Civic Center on 10.20.07. At his stop in Glens Falls, Phil was actually granted the symbolic power of being mayor of Glens Falls for the day. And as his “power” was granted, Phil said, “As my first act as honorary mayor, it is my intention to pardon Trey Anastasio,” voicing his support for his friend. Trey was welcomed by Phil back to the stage that night, sitting in with Phil and Friends for two sets of Dead music, while adding “Shine” and “Plasma.” Phil had Trey’s back, as he was no stranger to addiction, and it was with his friendship and backing that Trey returned to the stage for the first show since his arrest.
Beyond Trey and Phil’s relationship, Mike also got in on the Phish / Dead collaborations. In fall 2006, Mike played a series of shows with Mickey Hart and Billy Kreutzmann’s “Rhythm Devils,” with Steve Kimock on guitar, including a slot at Vegoose. And yet another collaboration between the two bands was “Serial Pod,” a project between Mike, Trey, and Billy in 2005. Nevertheless, all of these sit-ins and hybrid projects were sparked by those three epic nights at The Warfield. Going where no one dared go before, Trey, Page, Phil, Kimock, and Molo fused past and current counter-culture; the circle was now complete.
Trey’s solo in “St. Stephen”w/ Phil and Friends – 6.30.06, Camden, NJ (!!)
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
4.17.99 Phil & Friends @ The Warfield < LINK
4.17.99 Phil & Friends @ The Warfield < TORRENT LINK
I: Dark Star > It’s Up to You, Days Between > Dark Star (first verse) > My Favorite Things, Mississippi Half-Step, Birdsong
II: Terrapin Station > Down with Disease > Dark Star (second verse) > Friend of the Devil, Casey Jones, Morning Dew, Goin Down The Road Feelin Bad* > And We Bid You Goodnight
E: Box of Rain
* w/ DonnaTags: 1999, Culture, Phil and Friends, Side Projects