On Thursday, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros tore through Red Bank, New Jersey for their second of two shows at the legendary Count Basie Theatre. Weir, now 71 years old, pounced on stage looking fitter than most people half his age (for proof, see Bobby’s workout videos on his Instagram). His powerful howls echoed his years spent on the road, an auditory testament to his expansive musical career. His guitar licks were in peak form as lead guitarist, taking a step away from his traditional rhythmic role.
To open the night, Bobby and his Wolf brethren aced a delectable cover of Little Feat’s “Easy to Slip”. This song selection, the third rendition of Weir’s ongoing tour, coincides with Little Feat’s 50th year anniversary tour. To follow, Bobby kept his acoustic guitar in hand and entranced with “Gonesville”, a selection off his 2016 album of cowboy songs, Blue Mountain. A rare cover of The Beatles‘ “Blackbird” was sung next, with a heartfelt Weir vocalizing the Lennon/McCartney tune. Going back to the Grateful Dead’s repertoire, the Wolf pack once again broke out “K.C. Moan”. This song is credited to Memphis Jug Band, but as with many old blues standards, many suspect it was written before M.J.B.’s recording.
After Bobby traded his acoustic for an electric, the band cooked up a mean “Odessa” from Ratdog’s catalog. Crowd favorite “Hell in a Bucket” whipped the audience into a frenzy before the band slowed things down for a cover of Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me”. The Dead’s “Corrina” concluded sentimentally before Weir, Jay Lane, and Don Was closed the first half of the show with a fiery “Deal” leaving the audience hungry with anticipation for the second set.
Upon returning from set break, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros hunted down a version of John Phillips’ “Me and My Uncle”. Phillips wrote the song during a legendary drinking session with Judy Collins, Neil Young, and Stephen Stills, though many Deadheads know it from its years in the Grateful Dead’s live repertoire. A soaring “Cassidy” followed, complete with a heavy bass-laden culmination of furious jamming. Keeping the Dead tunes coming, the Wolf Bros stomped out a one-of-a-kind “Truckin’” featuring flawless guitar playing from Weir.
Leaving “Truckin’” on the open road, the Wolf Bros segued into a heated cover of Eddie Cooley’s “Fever” that had the audience standing on their seats before the band broke it down once more for “Ashes & Glass”, another Rat Dog tune. Keeping the audience salivating, the Wolf Bros moved into a suave “Don’t Let Go”, written by Roy Hamilton but popularized by Jerry Garcia Band, and back into “Ashes & Glass” for a quick reprise.
Returning to the Grateful Dead repertoire once again, the musical sunshine came through with a positively beaming “Eyes of the World” featuring a hearty dose of Don Was. To follow, a “Standing on the Moon” shined brightly with Bobby outstanding on lead. To close the explosive second set, Bobby and the Wolf Bros executed a seamless rendition of “Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad”. To add to the audience’s complete satisfaction, Bobby returned with an electric guitar and slide in hand to display his patriotism with a “U.S. Blues” encore.
The Wolf Bros. roam onward with a stop in Buffalo, NY tonight at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Bob Weir and Wolf Bros offer a savory selection of the Grateful Dead’s catalog in a stripped-down, bare-bones song structure. Bobby continues his tour in excellent form, and is a must-see for fans young and old.
Below, you can watch a selection of videos and check out a gallery of photos from the performance below courtesy of photographer Chris Capaci. For a list of upcoming Bob Weir and Wolf Bros tour dates, head here.
Bob Weir and Wolf Bros – “Easy To Slip” [Little Feat cover, Pro-Shot]
Bob Weir and Wolf Bros – “Me and My Uncle” [Pro-Shot]
Setlist: Bob Weir and Wolf Bros | Count Basie Center For The Arts | Red Bank, NJ | 3/14/19
Set One: Easy to Slip*, Gonesville*, Blackbird*, K.C. Moan*, Odessa, Hell in a Bucket, She Belongs To Me, Corrina, Deal
Set Two: Me and My Uncle, Cassidy, Truckin’ > Fever, Ashes and Glass > Don’t Let Go > Ashes and Glass, Eyes of the World, Standing on the Moon, Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad
Encore: U.S. Blues
*Bob Weir on acoustic guitar