On this day in 2016, the Internet exploded with the news that founding Grateful Dead rhythm guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir had joined former Beatle and international pop culture icon Paul McCartney onstage at Boston’s storied Fenway Park, where Weir had played the night before with Dead & Company. The collaboration between Weir and McCartney marked the intersection between two of the most significant musical acts of all time, and everyone appropriately freaked out about it. Two of the most influential artists of the ’60s, from two of the most influential bands to come out of the ’60s, performing “Helter Skelter”—a song that’s become synonymous with the chaotic zeitgeist at the twilight of the summer of love—was a truly meaningful connection in the history of popular music…
Well, at least in theory. In actuality, the collaboration proved to be a little less profound. After a fun but lightning-quick run through “Hi, Hi, Hi” to start the sit-in (“What’s that called? The Grateful Beatles? Or the Beatles Dead?”), McCartney also welcomed All-Pro New England Patriots tight end and notorious party boy/total clown Rob Gronkowski to join the band. While entertaining for the famously passionate local Boston sports fans, Gronk isn’t exactly the most talented musician in the world–or, you know, a musician at all—and wound up looking (and sounding) silly, wailing tone-deaf attempts at singing into the microphone with gusto.
Maybe you enjoyed seeing Gronk onstage with Bob Weir and Paul McCartney, but as a fan of good music (and, admittedly, rival New York sports teams) this writer could have done without half of the guest roster on that tune. But what can ya’ do? Paul and Bobby played together at Fenway Park, and that’s pretty damn special, Gronk or no Gronk.
You can check out fan-shot video of both “Hi Hi Hi” and “Helter Skelter” with Bob Weir and Rob Gronkowski below, via YouTube user TallDave14:
“Hi Hi Hi”
SETLIST: Paul McCartney | Fenway Park | Boston, MA | 7/17/16
Set: A Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles song) Save Us, Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles song), Letting Go (Wings song), Temporary Secretary, Let Me Roll It (Wings song) Foxy Lady ( Hendrix Cover ) I’ve Got a Feeling (The Beatles song), My Valentine, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings song), Here, There & Everywhere, Maybe I’m Amazed, We Can Work It Out (The Beatles song), In Spite of All the Danger (Quarrymen song), You Won’t See Me (The Beatles song), Love Me Do (The Beatles song), And I Love Her (The Beatles song), Blackbird (The Beatles song), Here Today, Queenie Eye, New, The Fool on the Hill (The Beatles song), Lady Madonna (The Beatles song), Five Four Seconds, Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles song), Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles song), Something (The Beatles song), Obla Di Obla Da (The Beatles song), Band on the Run (Wings song), Back In The USSR (The Beatles song), Let It Be (The Beatles song), Live and Let Die (Wings song), Hey Jude (The Beatles song),
Encore: Yesterday (The Beatles song), Hi Hi Hi wsg Bob Weir, Helter Skelter wsg Bob Weir & Rob Gronkowski, Birthday (The Beatles song), Golden Slumbers (The Beatles song), Carry That Weight (The Beatles song), The End (The Beatles song)
[Originally published July 17, 2017]