Phil Lesh at Charter One Pavilion

As I took a carefree stroll alongside Lake Shore Drive, down to Chi-town’s Charter One Pavilion, I couldn’t help but feel a little sympathetic towards a bohemian-clad young woman, holding up a posterboard which read: “We are all miracles” (p.s. “miracle” is a Dead reference that equates to “free ticket”). I couldn’t empathize with her downtrodden state, however, for I held a golden ticket. I was about to experience the genius of a still-breathing member of the Grateful Dead: bassist Phil Lesh (and Friends).
While the sun beat down, clouds of smoke ascended from the tie-dyed masses, accumulating in a skunky-sweet haze above the audience’s heads. I busted out my “jam band” moves the second I identified the opening chords to the show’s opener, “Golden Road.” Although the pavilion didn’t fill to the brim until the second set, the first set better demonstrated Lesh’s spectacular musicianship. In the second set, during what seemed like a 25 minute rendition of “Eyes of the World,” I mentally transported to the Haight-Ashbury district circa 1968. The crowd crooned to the up-beat “I Know Your Rider,” and all felt the flow on “China Cat Sunflower.” An encore rendition of “Ripple” concluded the concert as the final “song to fill the air.” Though I wouldn’t label myself a “Deadhead,” Phil Lesh & Friends (and fans) proved quite the experience.

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