Bob Weir on Saturday rounded up his extended Wolf Bros family at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY for a celebration of his 1972 solo debut, Ace, which was famously recorded with members of the Grateful Dead as the backing band and went on to be extensively integrated into the Dead’s repertoire. The performance saw Weir and his ever-growing outfit welcome Tyler Childers, Brittney Spencer, and Ron Carter throughout the show.

Bobby took the stage solo to start the evening, beginning with a cover of Bob Dylan‘s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”, perhaps a nod to this celebration of 50 years of his own enduring masterpiece. His Wolf Bros bandmates Jay Lane (drums), Don Was (bass), Jeff Chimenti (keys), and Barry Sless (pedal steel) then filed out to join in on “Me & My Uncle”, followed by “Loser”.

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – “When I Paint My Masterpiece” (Bob Dylan), “Me & My Uncle”, “Loser” – 4/2/22

The Wolf Pack horn and string section then took the stage, accompanied by Tyler Childers, to begin a full reading of Ace that ran for the rest of the set. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has maintained a low profile since the release of 2020’s Long Violent History, playing only two concerts this entire year. Childers lent his voice to “Greatest Story Ever Told”, the lead track from Ace.

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, Tyler Childers – “Greatest Story Ever Told” – 4/2/22

[Video: Matt Frazier]

Bidding farewell (for now), Childers left the extended ensemble to “Black-Throated Wind”, which allowed multi-instrumentalist Sheldon Brown the space to shine on saxophone. Weir and company then welcomed yet another guest with Brittney Spencer, a singer-songwriter whose profile continues to rise following a run of gigs opening for Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, as well as appearing on the group’s 2021 Georgia cover album, Georgia Blue.

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Spencer joined Bobby on “Walk In The Sunshine”, the only song from Ace that did not become a Grateful Dead setlist staple for years to come. Weir provided some background on the oft-overlooked track, recalling his experience writing the song with his late lyrical partner John Perry Barlow. As Bobby explained, the night before he recorded the final vocal parts on Ace, he found himself in a bind: He still needed to finish the lyrics for his “C Shuffle”, but he also needed to get some sleep if he was going to record them the next day. Barlow volunteered to write while Bob slept and in the morning, much to Weir’s chagrin, he turned in a set of dark, disturbing words. Of course, knowing that Bobby probably wouldn’t go for the more macabre lyrics, Barlow also penned a set of “hippie-dippie” lyrics, which went on to appear on Ace as “Walk In The Sunshine”.

Weir and the extended Wolf Pack then dished out Ace‘s improvisational mammoth, “Playing In The Band”. By now, it had become clear that the band was moving through the 1972 LP in sequential order. Spencer then returned to the stage for “Looks Like Rain”, where her role as the de facto Donna Jean Godchaux of the evening became fully illuminated. The connection between Weir and Spencer felt timid at first, but the time the song hit its big climax, the two had locked in to thrilling effect. After taking a trip down south with the “Mexicali Blues”, a fitting and fiery “One More Saturday Night” and a sprawling, breezy “Cassidy” closed out both the Ace run-through and the evening’s first frame.

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, Brittney Spencer – “Looks Like Rain” – 4/2/22

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – “Mexicali Blues” – 4/2/22

[Video: Matt Frazier]

Weir and the core Bros were once again joined by Childers when they trotted back out for set two. The country musician played to his strengths with a take on Hank Williams‘ “You Win Again”, a cover favored by The Dead between 1971 and 1972. Trading Childers for The Wolf Pack, the group descended on “Weather Report Suite”, pairing it up with “Let It Grow”.

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – “You Win Again” (Hank Williams) (w/ Tyler Childers), “Weather Report Suite” > “Let It Grow” – 4/2/22

Spencer then re-entered the chat to aid on to “Shakedown Street”, which dripped into jazzy territory courtesy of The Wolf Pack horns. Speaking of jazz, celebrated bassist Ron Carter took over for Don Was on the ensuing “Dark Star”, helming the low end duties before switching off on “Eyes Of The World”. Though the music never stopped between songs, Spencer was able to slide back into the fold for Marvin Gaye‘s “What’s Goin’ On?”, which lead back into the conclusion of “Eyes Of The World”.

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, Ron Carter – “Dark Star” – 4/2/22

Bob Weir, The Wolf Bros, and The Wolf Pack then offered up late-era Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter reflection “Days Between” before a reprise of the “Playing In The Band” from the first set closed the second. After briefly clearing the stage, Weir once again returned with the Wolf Pack to close down the evening with the everlasting sing-along, “Ripple”.

Bob Weir & Wolf Bros return to Radio City tonight, April 3rd, for another night celebrating Ace. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit his website. Scroll down for a gallery of images courtesy of photographer Jay Blakesberg.

Setlist: Bob Weir & Wolf Bros | Radio City Music Hall | New York, NY | 4/2/22

Set One: When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob Dylan) [1], Me & My Uncle, Loser, Greatest Story Ever Told [2] [3], Black Throated Wind [2], Walk In The Sunshine [4] [5], Playing In The Band [2], Looks Like Rain [2] [4], Mexicali Blues [2], One More Saturday Night [2], Cassidy [2]

Set Two: You Win Again (Hank Williams) [3], Weather Report Suite [2] > Let It Grow [2], Shakedown Street [2] [4], Dark Star [2] [6] > Eyes Of The World [2] > What’s Goin’ On? (Marvin Gaye) [2] [4] > Eyes Of The World [2] [4], Days Between [2], Playing In The Band [2]

Encore: Ripple [2]

[1] Bob Weir solo

[2] w/ Wolf Pack

[3] w/ Tyler Childers

[4] w/ Brittney Spencer

[5] LTP 1/24/10

[6] w/ Ron Carter


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