Last night, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh rounded out the Beantown stretch of their “Bobby & Phil Duo” tour with their second performance at the Wang Theatre. Wednesday’s gig brought a new pair of guest collaborators—Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams—into the fold (along with tour percussionist Wally Ingram), and the husband-and-wife team once again joined the Grateful duo for another memorable, rarity-filled show on Thursday night.
Once again, Lesh and Weir took the stage to open the show with Wally in tow for a sing-along “Uncle John’s Band”, though Ingram left the stage as Bobby and Phil began “Black Throated Wind”. Next, the duo dusted off “Cosmic Charlie”, the Aoxomoxoa favorite shelved by the Grateful Dead years prior to Jerry Garcia‘s death. The first of many rare cuts on the evening, the tune saw Lesh and Weir both turn in admirable vocal performances, their harmonies linking beautifully.
Phil manned lead vocals on the “Lazy River Road” that came next, marking the second time the Bobby & Phil duo has played the late-stage Grateful Dead track (debuted in February 1993) on this short run. As Bobby commented when the song finished, “We’re gonna kind of keep the tempo here, only bring it back about 80 years,” before moving into “New Minglewood Blues”, the Dead’s reimagining of early-’30s blues cut “Minglewood Blues”. The Bobby & Phil debut of Bob Dylan‘s melancholy “Girl From The North Country” followed before the duo welcomed back their percussionist for a “Box of Rain” set closer.
When Phil and Bobby returned to the stage for set two, they once again brought Larry Campbell and Wally Ingram along. Instead of taking up his guitar, the multi-talented Campbell picked up his mandolin, adding extra twang to the Bobby & Phil debut of “Alligator” (which was something of a tribute original Dead keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan on the 45th anniversary of his death). As the opener’s final notes rang out, Campbell traded his mandolin for a violin, and Teresa Williams joined the stage to round out the quintet that would remain for the rest of the set.
Fiddle in hand, Campbell helped push the “Cassidy” that followed beyond the country road and into the atmosphere, launching into the most exploratory section of improvisation of the evening. About halfway through, Campbell swapped out his violin for his electric guitar, which would remain in play for the bluesy “Jack Straw” that came next. “Mountains of the Moon” would prove to be yet another highlight of the performance, as the tune’s jam eventually moved into yet another ultra-rare Aoxomoxoa deep cut, “Rosemary” (played just one known time by the Grateful Dead), which built sonic tension before moving back into a brief reprise of “Mountains of the Moon”.
A pair of “blues” tracks got the energy up once again, as a chugging acoustic “Cumberland Blues” led into a slow-burning, fiddle-assisted “Viola Lee Blues”. To close the second frame, the collected musicians dove into a celebratory “The Wheel” which, to the delight of the crowd, moved into the always-welcome “Morning Dew”. “Dew” built its always-moving climax over just shy of 14 minutes (and is surely a can’t-miss selection for those who listen back). Finally, the second Dylan tune of the evening, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”, served as the encore to send the Boston crowd home happy.
With their New York and Boston runs now in the books, Bobby & Phil (& Wally) (& anyone else who may happen to show up) will round out the six-date tour with a pair of performances this weekend at the Chicago Theatre. For more information, head to the tour’s website.
See below for a selection of pro-shot videos from the show via Nugs.tv:
Bob Weir & Phil Lesh w/ Wally Ingram – “Uncle John’s Band” – 3/8/18
Bob Weir & Phil Lesh w/ Wally Ingram – “Cosmic Charlie” – 3/8/18
Bob Weir & Phil Lesh w/ Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams. Wally Ingram – “Alligator” – 3/8/18
Bob Weir & Phil Lesh w/ Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams. Wally Ingram – “Girl From The North Country” – 3/8/18
Setlist: Bob Weir & Phil Lesh | Wang Theatre | Boston, MA | 3/8/18
Set One: Uncle John’s Band*, Black Throated Wind, Cosmic Charlie, Lazy River Road, New Minglewood Blues*, Girl From The North Country, Box of Rain*
Set Two: Alligator^, Cassidy^, Jack Straw^, Mountains of the Moon^ > Rosemary^ > Mountains of the Moon^, Cumberland Blues, Viola Lee Blues > The Wheel > Morning Dew
Encore: It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
*with Wally Ingram
^with Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, and Wally Ingram