Weir Gets Heads Bobbing
Former Standout Of The Grateful Dead Brings His Acoustic Set To The Valley And Deadheads Relish In The Presence Of The Master
Former Standout of the Greatful Dead Bob Weir. Photo by Matt Tillett and used under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine
Dec. 13, 2012 — The church of the Grateful Dead congregated on Dec. 11 at Phoenix’s Celebrity Theater, and the right revered Bob Weir testified in front of a crowd of over 1,000 devout dead heads and jam band fanatics.
Weir, though best known for being a founding member of the Grateful Dead, has also worked on many other projects including Ratdog, Further, Kingfish, Bobby and The Midnites and a whole slew of other jam bands, just about all of which were represented by an old concert T-shirt covering the chest of a white-haired, former flower child.
This incarnation of the hippie jam band superstar was billed as a “Bob Weir solo acoustic set,” which featured just Bob Weir, and his guitar.
Opening for the legend was one of Weirs current regular collaborators, Jackie Greene.
Greene, a young Americana artist in the same vein as Paul Thorn only a little more hippie, performed to a delighted crowd some of whom actually left before Weir even took the stage.
Besides just opening for weir Green is also one third of the Weir, Robinson, Greene trio with Weir and Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes.
Even the biggest Bob Weir fans were singing the praises of the up and coming Jackie Greene, “Jackie Greene is the one you really ought to focus on,” said Todd Bolser, bass player for local Grateful Dead cover band, The Noodles. “He’s the Prince of Americana.”
The multi-instrumental Greene played a 45-minute opening set which incorporated his talent for the guitar, piano, and harmonica though his repertoire also includes drums, banjo, and mandolin.
Following Greene, Weir hit took the stage, barefoot no more, sporting a pair of sandals and gave a crowd nostalgic for the flowery feelings of the past exactly what they wanted.
If the night had a color, it would have been tie dyed. It seemed all those who didn’t have a Grateful Dead, Further, Ratdog, or any other Weir project T-shirt were bedecked in a 1970s tie dyed shirt or headband.
But don’t be mistaken, many of the band T-shirts were tie dyed as well.
As far as concerts go, the crowd wasn’t all that diverse, a smattering of kids attended with their ex-hippie parents, a few collage festival goers and hipsters, but for the most part the demographic were people Weir’s age: he was born in 1947.
The children of the hippie era, the age of Aquarius, came out in droves to relive the good old days of following Jerry Garcia and the fellas around the country barefoot. With all of the smoke in the air, the place definitely smelled like a Grateful Dead concert.
Weir played Grateful Dead hits like “Truckin,” Americana covers like Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row,” Bob Weir originals and everything in between and the crowd reacted as if Weir was giving off the holy ghost.
Almost the entire house sang along as Weir played the Grateful Dead’s hit “Throwing Stones.”
Deadheads couldn’t help but stand up and shout, “we love you Bob,” and “play it for me Bobby,” and Weir kept the Americana tunes rolling with groovy jams and solos, before leaving the stage for a brief breather and re-emerging with his touring partner Jackie Greene for an encore duet.
Weir and Greene gave the crowd another half an hour, most of which was improvised jams by the groovy pair.
They played “Shakedown Street,” off the Grateful Dead’s tenth album of the same name, as well “Sugaree,” from Jerry Garcia’s solo album Garcia.
Weir and Greene closed out the set with a rendition of The Grateful Dead’s “He’s Gone” that left the entire theater singing along even after Weir and Greene had exited the stage and the house lights came up.
Jeff Moses is a freelance writer and photographer from Teaneck, N.J. and is currently living in Mesa, Ariz. He has been published in The Mesa Legend, OccupyUprising.org and The Highway Herald. Contact him by calling 727-385-0624.
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