Although neither of them are Centennial State natives, there’s no more “Colorado” moment than seeing Nathaniel Rateliff—arguably the most famous musician to burst out of Denver in decades—sing the line “I’m as honest as a Denver man can be” on stage with Bob Weir at the Mission Ballroom.

Fans can check that sight off their Mile High City bingo cards after Ratefliff sat in with Weir and Wolf Bros (featuring the Wolfpack) on Saturday to start the fourth and final set of a tour-closing two-night run. The outlaw country classic “Me and My Uncle” was an excellent choice to start the collaboration, and brought ecstatic howls from the Denver crowd with its Colorado references. Rateliff stayed to duet with Weir on the Grateful Dead staple “Tennessee Jed”, trading verses on the slowly bopping space-folk anthem with twangy levity worthy of John Prine.

Before that, Weir and his eight-piece band, missing keyboardist Jeff Chimenti for the first set due to an unspecified emergency, took the Mission Ballroom stage at about 8:30pm, rolling through the old Memphis Jug Band song “Viola Lee Blues”, which the Dead played for about four years in the late ‘60s, at such a slow pace it recalled a Leadbelly dirge.

Related: Bob Weir Reflects On Kennedy Center Orchestral Run On NPR [Listen]

Weir, now 75 years old, was always the youngest member of the Grateful Dead—he joined as a Bay Area teenager—but is now 23 years older than Jerry Garcia was when he passed away in 1995. On Saturday at Mission Ballroom, Weir clearly paced himself, leading his band (featuring bassist Don Was, longtime drummer Jay Lane, a “Wolfpack” of horns and strings, and Barry Sless on pedal steel) through slow, often quiet and dusty versions of gems from his nearly 60-year career.

The performance didn’t lack grit, edge or excitement, though. Weir’s biggest musical inspiration is McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane’s famously “lyrical” pianist, and that influence made him a unique rhythm guitarist—coloring the Dead, RatDog, and other groups rather than driving them—so hearing him truly lead Wolf Bros is at once wild and captivating. Legendary Garcia/Hunter tunes such as a venue-appropriate “Mission In the Rain” (which transports you to midnight in Dolores Park if you close your eyes), “New Speedway Boogie”, and “Crazy Fingers” (a Wolf Bros debut) were downright magical with the eccentric, authentic Weir at the steering wheel, delivering lyrics that continue to take on meaning decade after decade.

Weir’s post-Jerry groups often don’t get as “out-there” as Phil Lesh’s from an improvisational standpoint, instead allowing Weir to aptly play balladeer, but at Mission Ballroom “The Other One” and “Estimated Prophet” showed off the underrated creativity of his playing, with exotic chords and harmonics impressing the guitar geeks and freaking out the freaks. The Wolfpack also brilliantly resurrected some long-forgotten melodies from ’60s Dead tunes like “China Cat Sunflower” and melted minds with deft, beautiful arrangements supporting “Weather Report Suite” > “Let It Grow”.

Related: Denver Comes Alive Announces Two-Day Lineup For Expanded 2023 Event At Mission Ballroom

Sure, Denver concert-goers got to hear “One More Saturday Night” on a Saturday night and erupt at the “Colorado rain” line in “I Know You Rider” but In the end, the best reason to see a Bob Weir show is to hear an original member of the Grateful Dead regale you like a genuine troubadour. “Stella Blue,” the only Grateful Dead song that plausibly could have appeared on a Tom Waits album, found Weir not just channeling the spirit of his old bandmate Garcia but striking gold while mining the depths of profound old-time American music and Kerouac’s poetry of the working wanderer.

To paraphrase “I Know You Rider”, we will miss him when he’s gone.

With Wolf Bros tour in the rearview, Bob Weir will now shift his attention back to Dead & Company for the 2023 edition of Playing In The Sand and the band’s final tour. For a full list of upcoming dates, head here.

Scroll down to watch a selection of pro-shot videos via Relix and check out a gallery of photos from the final Wolf Bros Mission Ballroom show via Josh Hitchens/Bolt of Sunshine.

Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros ft. The Wolfpack – “Viola Lee Blues” > “Crazy Fingers” [Pro-Shot] – 11/5/22

Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros ft. Nathaniel Rateliff, The Wolfpack – “Me and My Uncle”, “Tennessee Jed” [Pro-Shot] – 11/5/22

Setlist: Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros | Mission Ballroom | Denver, CO | 11/5/22

Set One: Viola Lee Blues* > Crazy Fingers* > She Belongs to Me*, Money for Gasoline, Mission in the Rain, New Speedway Boogie*, Weather Report Suite* > Let It Grow*

Set Two: Me and My Uncle*^, Tennessee Jed*^, Throwing Stones*, Estimated Prophet* > The Other One* > Stella Blue, China Cat Sunflower* > I Know You Rider*

Encore: One More Saturday Night, Brokedown Palace

Notes: “Crazy Fingers” was a Wolf Bros debut. Money for Gasoline was last performed by Weir on 7/10/14. Jeff Chimenti did not perform during set one due to an unspecified emergency.
*with The Wolfpack
^with Nathaniel Rateliff