Bob Weir has been making music for over 50 years. Most of his career has been spent with the seminal jam band the Grateful Dead. But after the passing of Jerry Garcia in 1995, Bobby continued to tour with Ratdog, The Dead, and Dead and Co., just to name a few. His latest collaboration, The Wolf Brothers, includes Ratdog drummer Jay Lane and producer/bassist Don Was. The trio stopped by the Fillmore Minneapolis for 2 sets of iconic songs on Tuesday night.
I have been sneaking my camera into shows since the early ‘80s. I’ve had it ripped out of my hands by security, the film removed, and the empty camera returned. I took lots of shitty, out of focus shots, but occasionally had a keeper. My first photo pass was to shoot Bobby and the Midnights, Bob Weir’s side project at the time, for my college newspaper in 1982. This was the first time I experienced the magic of the photo pit. This was a time before the 3-song limit, we were able to remain in the pit for the show, but I only had three rolls of film with me, and that lasted about 10 minutes. It actually took longer to change rolls of film than to shoot a 24-capture roll. I only got 6 good shots out of those 3 rolls, but I was hooked. The negatives to that show and many others have been lost to time, but the extraordinary feeling of being in the enchanted space between the crowd and the band is just as strong today as it was that night in 1982. I felt truly blessed to be breathing the same air as Bobby 38 years later on Tuesday night.
I’m a photographer, not a writer, so I’m not really articulate enough to describe the enigmatic magic that happened in the recently opened Fillmore but suffice to say the spirit of the Grateful Dead permeated the venue. There were lots of tie-dyed, grey ponytailed patrons, but there were also lots of 20 somethings Dead dancing in the back of the hall, transcendent, eyes closed, just being carried by the music.
The band has created unique arrangements that have breathed new life into ageless songs. Was and Lane added a funkiness factor with just a pinch of jazz that encouraged the packed Fillmore to groove. This was a two set show, the first set highlights were the opener,” Hell In A Bucket” and the closer “Sugaree” . But it was the second set, dripping with extended jams, that properly baptized the Fillmore with the sounds that made the San Francisco namesake famous. Standouts from this set were “West LA Fadeaway” and “Dear Prudence”
The legacy of the Grateful Dead is alive and well and is currently touring the world in the form of Wolf Brothers.
Set 1: Hell In A Bucket – Big River – Mama Tried – Only A River – Peggy O – Deep Elm Blues – Sugaree
Set 2: Me And Bobby McGee – Passenger – West LA Fadeaway – Two Djinn – He’s Gone – Estimated Prophet –
Shakey Ground – Dear Prudence – Throwing Stones
Encore: Touch Of Grey