The practice sessions between Bob Weir and Trey Anastasio have been discussed in past interviews, but as the “Fare Thee Well” dates draw ever nearer, more details about their rehearsals have come to light. The duo recently got together in New York City, comprising their fourth such meeting, and told The New Yorker all about it.
Weir talked about the shows, and how they’re beginning to shape up. Speaking about the interplay between him and any lead guitarist, Anastasio, Garcia, or otherwise, Weir said, “We’re going to take as many tunes for a stroll as we can… I know basically what I’m up to, but whatever I’m playing is going to be subtly altered by what Trey plays. If Jerry was developing a solo, I could intuit where he was headed, and as long as I played coy and like I didn’t really get what he was getting at, then, when he arrived at that place, I could be there with a strong leading tone that would necessarily take where he was going somewhere else. Most often, it delighted him. Sometimes it enraged him.”
The two mentioned that they hired Jeff Tanski, “a wunderkind of the Broadway world,” to map out sheet music for a number of the Dead’s songs in preparation. Anastasio believes he needs the extra practice, because he doesn’t want to be the one holding the group back.
“I’m doing this because I don’t want to be the problem. Bob and I joked that the first song I sing ought to be ‘Dire Wolf,’ which has the chorus ‘Don’t murder me.’”
Weir also gave some insight into his interpretations of the Dead’s music, saying, “We all inhabited the stories. If we weren’t singing, then we were telling the story with our hands. If I was singing, then I wasn’t even there. I stepped out of my body and let the character own it. There’s a lot of playing being done, but it was the drama of the event, the parade of characters that came out and told their stories, that held people’s attention.”
Weir and Anastasio will join up with Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, Jeff Chimenti, and Bruce Hornsby for five shows, two at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, CA (June 27-28) and three at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL (July 3-5).
[Via The New Yorker]