Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros 10/16/18: Happy Birthday Bobby!

Bob Weir, our favorite psychedelic cowboy, turned 71 yesterday. In addition to another circle around the sun, Bobby also kicked off the first fall tour stop of Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros in Reno, Nevada.

All things considered, we’re in for a promising tour. Weir presented a collection of Dead rarities alongside a handful of Dead setlist staples including a, “Jack Straw”, opener. Weir also took time to reach into his own catalog with Weir and the Campfire Band’s, “Only a River” and Ratdog tear-jerking, “Ashes and Glass”

The night began with arguably the Dead’s most storied opener, “Jack Straw”. After a cascading tale of redemption and cowboy evenings the night shifted into mystic mode with Weir/Barlow, “Cassidy”. Weir’s rhythmic prowess was in full shine as the night fell over Reno, Nevada. Assumingly, for most, the first stop of a tour is usually a stretch but Weir, Jay Lane, and Don Was reached towards a collective goal of a damn good time and took everyone back to cowboy land with “Me and My Uncle”. Weir’s solo Blue Mountain-gem, “Only a River”, took its spot in the first set next. “Only a River” includes a repeating mantra in the chorus, “Only a river is gonna make things right, only a river is gonna make things right”, which is said to be a reference to Weir’s friend Garcia’s last resting spot in the Ganges. Bob Dylan’s, “She Belongs To Me”, came next for the triumphant trio which Weir followed with apologies for what he saw as a less than satisfactory set saying, “If you want just exactly perfect you are going to have to wait two or three nights into this tour”. Speaking for myself, seeing, “She Belongs to Me” was sweet enough to bypass the rougher parts of the night. The Bob Dylan masterpiece and frequent JGB setlist tune, “She Belongs to Me”, has been absent from Dead and Company’s performances despite the Grateful Dead’s 10 performances of the song. The highlight of the night came next with a buttery, “Ashes and Glass > Don’t Let Go > Ashes and Glass”, captained by Weir. The presence of Ratdog songs in Weir’s solo performance is an enduring nod to a band that brings back sweet tie-dyed memories of yesteryear for many.

After a short set break Weir returned to the stage for, “Peggy-O”, which is one of my personal favorite Jerry folk tunes that Weir has adopted into his own repertoire. Weir dived deep into the Dead’s song catalog once again with Kris Kristofferson’s, “Me and Bobby McGee”. The transition portion of the night was raring to go as Weir unleashed a monolithic set of, “Bird Song > Corinna > Music Never Stopped > Shakey Ground > Music Never Stopped”. As Weir sliced and diced the minds of the heads in the Reno night Jay Lane continued to thump his drum set with an impassioned intent and Don Was continued to aid Weir in string delivery. The night was near its end when Weir summoned the Grateful Dead’s legendary, and Dead and Company’s most played transition, “China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider” to close the second set. Weir returned to the stage for one last hoorah with, “Touch of Grey”, which left everyone dingledoodying into the Nevada night with smiles on their faces and music in their hearts.

All things considered, as the cold winds fall upon most of North America, Weir, Was, and Lane displayed a fantastic fall tour opener. For many, fall tour is an opportunity to relax get together with loved ones, open a stream and enjoy what matters the most. At 71, Weir still stands strong as the captain of a tie-dyed mass of love and it seems as though he’s enjoying every minute of it. See you on the road, folks!

Setlist

Set 1
Jack Straw
Cassidy
Me and My Uncle
Only a River
She Belongs To Me
Ashes and Glass >
Don’t Let Go >
Ashes and Glass

Set 2

Peggy-O
Me and Bobby McGee
Bird Song >
Corrina
The Music Never Stopped >
Shakey Ground >
The Music Never Stopped
China Cat Sunflower >
I Know You Rider

Encore: Touch of Grey

Photo Credit: Bob Minkin Photography (minkinphotography.com)


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