Audiences at the Bob Weir & Wolf Bros trio show in Menlo Park, CA on Monday got an inside look at a master at work when the Grateful Dead guitarist composed a song live on stage with J.D. Souther. During the second set, Weir brought out the Eagles collaborator as the two put together a song later titled “I Know Nothing Blues” in real time and on camera.
Monday’s show at The Guild Theatre was already billed as a special affair. The concert at the 500-capacity repurposed movie house featured a stripped-down Wolf Bros trio lineup of Don Was (bass), Jay Lane (drums), and Jeff Chimenti (keyboards). During the second set, however, Bobby’s backing band would balloon to a quartet with the addition of songwriter J.D. Souther. Still, the lineup paled in comparison to the expansive Wolf Pack string/horn section that follows Weir around these days.
Following a first set that featured the first airing of the Blue Mountain track “Lay My Lily Down” since before the pandemic, Weir took The Guild stage solo. Introducing this brave venture, Weir went into a little bit of his history with Souther, who has co-written hits with Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles.
“Yeah we write tunes together,” Weir summarized, “but why not do it in front of a whole bunch of people?”
Souther took the stage armed with an acoustic guitar and Bobby took up his Fender Stratocaster. The two felt each other out as Bobby laid down a bluesy repetitive lead and J.D. started filling in the gaps with root chords. Eventually, J.D. approached the mic and began to holler out “What’s your name?” The line of questioning eventually expanded, forming a chant, “What’s your name / and where you going / where you come from / and how ya been / tell me everything / I’ve been missing / by not seeing / you again.” As the song took definite shape, Bobby beckoned for the Wolf Bros to return, with Lane’s pounding drums adding some muscle to the song as it built to a powerful crescendo.
“We’ll try to have something done with that by tomorrow night,” Bobby said after the performance, implying he and J.D. will take this one to the shed.
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J.D. decided to hang around the stage to jam with the band, an experience he remarked was “just as loose as grandma’s closet.” His second set sit-in included Wolf Bros’ debut of the Eagles’ “New Kid In Town”—which Souther co-wrote—and Duke Ellington‘s “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me”. Sending J.D. off, the band got down to Dead business, filling the back nine of the set with classics “Scarlet Begonias”, “New Speedway Boogie”, “The Other One”, “Black Peter”, and a closing cover of The Crickets‘ “Not Fade Away” with the return of Souther.
J.D. helped the boys in the band finish out the show with perhaps his best known Eagles collaboration, “Heartache Tonight”, and finally the Jimmy Reed-penned Elvis Presley cover “Baby What Do You Want Me To Do”.
Bob Weir & Wolf Bros return to The Guild Theatre tonight, April 4th, for another sold-out trio show. The run continues with concerts on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Sign up for the waitlist for tickets here.
Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, J.D. Souther – “The Music Never Stopped” > “Easy Answers” > “The Music Never Stopped” – 4/3/23
Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, J.D. Souther – “I Know Nothing Blues”, “She Knows What I’m Thinkin'” – 4/3/23
Setlist: Bob Weir & Wolf Bros | The Guild Theatre | Menlo Park, CA | 4/3/23
Set One: The Music Never Stopped > Easy Answers > The Music Never Stopped, Lay My Lily Down , When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob Dylan), Big River (Johnny Cash), Corrina > Deal
Set Two: I Know Nothing Blues , She Knows What I’m Thinkin’ , New Kid In Town (Eagles)  , Do Nothin’ Till You You Hear Me (Duke Ellington)  , Scarlet Begonias > New Speedway Boogie, The Other One > Black Peter, Not Fade Away (The Crickets) 
Encore: Heartache Tonight (Eagles)   > Baby What Do You Want Me To Do (Jimmy Reed)  
 LTP 2/28/20
 w/ J.D. Souther. Bobby and JD composed the song live as a duo before the Wolf Bros rejoined for the ending.
 w/ J.D. Souther
 Wolf Bros debut