Bob Weir & Wolf Bros wrapped up their winter tour over the weekend with back-to-back shows at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. The pair of concerts at the Mother Church of Country Music saw extensive sit-ins from celebrated harmonica player Mickey Raphael.

With the Wolf Pack string/horn section at his back, Weir and company opened the run on Saturday with a trio of Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter songs, “New Speedway Boogie” into “Crazy Fingers” and “Ramble On Rose”. The ensemble then dusted off The Beatles‘ “Blackbird” for the first time since February 22nd, 2022.

Raphael then made his first appearance of the weekend, lending his harp to “Catfish John”. Raphael is perhaps best known for his work with Willie Nelson, touring as part of The Family since 1973. A pair of RatDog originals came next with “Even So” > “October Song” before “Bird Song” closed the first frame.

When Raphael was onstage blowing on his harp, one couldn’t help but think of the Grateful Dead‘s original frontman Ronald “Pigpen” McKernan, who died 50 years ago last week. Raphael’s presence throughout the run can be seen as a tribute to the late bluesman, with a more overt reference to come on night two.

Related: Bob Weir Talks Jerry’s Death, Pigpen & Janis Joplin, More With Andy Cohen [Watch]

Leading off the second set, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros delivered their second-ever performances of “Help On The Way” and “Slipknot!”, naturally leading into “Franklin’s Tower” to close the movement. Precipitation drizzled through the historic Ryman for a take on “Looks Like Rain” before Bobby transported Nashville to the burning shore with “Estimated Prophet”.

A continuous stream of improvisation would guide the ensemble through “Eyes Of The World”, with a detour into Marvin Gaye‘s “What’s Going On”, before a reprisal of “Eyes”. Violinist Mads Tolling had plans of his own, throwing in Danny Elfman‘s theme for The Simpsons before “Eyes” gave way to the set-closing “Morning Dew”. Like clockwork, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros returned to the stage with Raphael to deliver the obligatory “One More Saturday Night”.

Related: Guests Pour In For Billy Strings’ Ryman Run: Bob Weir, Les Claypool, Ronnie McCoury, More [Photos/Videos]

For Sunday’s tour closer, Bobby embraced the spirit of the Ryman by leaning into the folksinger tendencies that have guided his performance style in the post-Jerry Garcia years. Opening up with the Ace track “Cassidy”, it wasn’t long before Raphael returned to the stage for the bluesy Pigpen-favorited Jimmy Reed song “Big Boss Man”.

Shedding Raphael (for the time being), Bob Weir & Wolf Bros shared articulate tellings of “She Says”, “Althea”, and “Mission In The Rain” before returning to Ace for “Greatest Story Ever Told”. Closing out the first set, the band delivered a sprawling “Weather Report Suite” with the customary “Let It Grow” ending.

It wouldn’t be a Sunday show without “Samson and Delilah”, with Raphael stepping out to help the band kick off the final set of the winter tour. Bobby’s singer-songwriter stylings came back to the fold for “She Knows What I’m Thinkin'” and “Black Throated Wind”, before stepping into the more traditionally explorative second set vibe with “Shakedown Street” featuring Raphael.

The ensemble once again touched on The Fab Four’s catalog with “Come Together”, leading into the increasingly expected “Eleanor Rigby” jam, before bursting out the other side into “The Wheel”. Jay Lane then dumped coal into the engine of the speeding locomotive “The Other One” which barrelled down the tracks toward “Days Between”. Burning out the last bit of fuel, the engine finally pulled into the “Terrapin Station” suite to close out the second set.

Finally, Bob Weir, Wolf Bros, The Wolf Pack, and Mickey Raphael took the stage one last time. Closing out the show, the run, and the tour, the band bid farewell with “Brokedown Palace”, as Raphael’s mournful harp punctuated the tearful goodbye.

Up next for Bob Weir & Wolf Bros is an intimate five-night trio residency at The Guild Theatre in Menlo Park next month. After that, Weir will take part in Willie Nelson‘s 90th birthday party at the Hollywood Bowl and then head out on Dead & Company‘s The Final Tour. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit his website.

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – “New Speedway Boogie” [Pro-Shot] – 3/11/23

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower” [Pro-Shot] – 3/11/23

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, Mickey Raphael – “Big Boss Man” (Jimmy Reed) – 3/11/23

[Video: Tennessee Ed]

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – “Samson And Delilah” (Traditional), “She Knows What I’m Thinking” [Pro-Shot] – 3/12/23

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, Mickey Raphael – “Brokedown Palace” – 3/11/23

[Video: Tennessee Ed]

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