Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros head to the city of angels for the second show of their fall tour. The show began with “Easy to Slip”, a track first reached by Little Feat but made its way to Bobby's “Heaven Help the Fool" album. The first set keeps truckin on some Weir favorite like Deep Elem Blues, Loose Lucy, and West L.A Fadeaway. I really liked Bob’s last solo album and the campfire band that formed from it, so needless to say I have been happy to see it get sprinkled into both of these shows, this time with Gonesville as the choice.
This band has really rough cowboy sounds to them, which I’ve been enjoying quite a bit. As a drummer who has played with trio’s most of his life, I know the work it takes to bring the Dead’s music into that fold. Songs like Deep Elem Blues are more simple but many are very challenging. One of the songs I always felt like missed its mark for me was Scarlet Begonias. This came as second last in the first set and I have to say I think they really killed it. Bobby used rhythm as the main tool in his solos, and it was great to hear all the little nuances of the song be expressed throughout the jam. All though it did fall a little dead, no pun intended, towards the jam but they wrangled it in with a good use of dynamics. I really enjoyed the ending jam they used to go into Easy Answers. The electric brought a good element to the mix.
I also think the key to great bass as to be no shoes!
The second set was a pretty traditional Bobby set. Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance. I am usually not a huge fan of this song, but I think they it very well. Lane is such a big piece of this band and this song specifically showed him as the glue. Bobby brought out his first guest of the tour Perry Farrell. For those who don’t know Perry Farrell, he is best known as the frontman of Janes Addiction. Perry is a known Deadhead who is included in the documentary “Move Me Brightly”. The duo worked through Friend of a Devil and a cover of Tom Petty’s Breakdown. Both of these songs didn’t really hit the mark in my opinion. During Friend of a Devil, Perry seemed to be off most of the way through. Then the duo attempted a Breakdown by Tom Petty. This isn’t the first time we have seen Bobby take on Breakdown. First was on October 5th, 2017 shortly after Pettys death with Phil Lesh at Terrapin Crossroads and the following night at Sweetwater Music Hall with Jay Lane. This song was fun and seemed to be what most people were talking about. It fit well for Perry on vocals. The night this song was done with Phil, it never really caught its step and Bobby's vocals were rough. The song still suffered a few mistakes, namely at the end when Perry decided to keep the song going. Something Bobby pointed out over the mic. Althea was a good follow up. It's cool to hear Bobby do this song solo since it has been viewed synonymously with John Mayer since the founding of Dead and Company. Bobby tried to milk the “This space is getting hot” lyric to get the crowd behind him but it did so in a way that felt forced. New Speed Way Boogie started with a real solid groove. This was the first time I felt particularly settled in during this second set. The crowd sang the chorus during the first instrumental as the boys worked their way into the second verse. Bobby even gave the crowd the end of the actual chorus. Bobby’s solo was very lead heavy which I enjoy hearing since he roots himself so heavy in his rhythm. This rolled into a beautiful transition to The Other Ones.
The Other Ones is my choice for best song the night. I just loved this feeling. It was so unusual and not as big as Dead & Company or others would do it but it had a groove that grabbed you by the spine and made you rock. I think this song definitely lost step a few times especially in the verses but that is the fun of it! I like that Lane did Phil’s opening bass riff on the drums although I was too curious to hear it on the standing bass. Bobby’s soloing was on point during the first go around of the verse and chorus. Dear Prudence was lackluster at best, I think this is in part because Dead and Company have been knocking that one out of the park as of late. The show finished with a strong GDTRFB and Ripple sending fan home with their hearts full.
At the end of the day, can’t say I was too impressed with this show but its only show number two so glad we are getting this out of the way now! Hopefully, night three will be the one Bobby promised us! For more on The Wolf Bro’s keep following us here at SMRTRAVELED and be sure to tune into The Double Encore podcast!
Easy to Slip
Deep Elem Blues
West LA Fadeaway
Saint of Circumstance
Friend of the Devil *
New Speedway Boogie
The Other One
Going Down The Road Feeling Bad
* with Perry Farrell
Photo Credit: Doug Clifton