Bob Weir kicked off his weekend-long birthday party on Friday with his first of three shows at The Warfield. For Wolf Bros‘ debut at the famed San Francisco theater, Weir wove through his catalog from the Grateful Dead and beyond, and even welcomed a surprise appearance from one of Jerry Garcia‘s guitars.
Friday’s show also featured a slightly altered Wolfpack lineup. In addition to the core Wolf Bros Weir, Jay Lane (drums), Don Was (bass), and Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), the group performed with Matthew Szemela on violin instead of Mads Tolling. Weir also welcomed his frequent collaborator Matthew Kelly (Ratdog, Bobby and the Midnites) on harmonica throughout the show.
Two days shy of his 75th birthday, Weir and company fittingly opened the show with “The Music Never Stopped”. That mantra rang true as the band wove through Weir’s latter-era Robert Hunter collaboration “Easy Answers” before a reprise of “The Music Never Stopped”, which did just that as it rolled into “Bertha”.
The show then returned to a more traditional set one tone with a cover of Johnny Cash‘s “Big River” followed by the brooding “Loser”. After that, Weir dipped into his Ratdog songbook for “She Says” before “Throwing Stones” finished off the first frame.
Weir returned solo for a take on Little Feat‘s “Easy To Slip”, with Was and Lane joining in during the instrumental breakdown. As he switched out his acoustic guitar, Weir brought out Jerry Garcia’s 1955 Fender Stratocaster affectionately known as Alligator. Bobby used Jerry’s ax on the Ratdog relic “The Winners”, which flowed into an especially gratifying “Althea” played on the guitar Garcia favored during the early 1970s.
In between songs, the crew addressed a problem of a technical nature while Weir was besieged by the crowd with requests for a story. Weir obliged to some extent, saying that the guitar he was playing used to belong to an old friend of his and they were going to play some tunes that “this guitar was on the original recording, thereof.”
Then, ready or not, there they came as Weir, Wolf Bros, and the Wolfpack appropriately offered “Greatest Story Ever Told”. With the kinks worked out, more or less, the ensemble entered the more exploratory portion of the evening, with “Scarlet Begonias” beginning a series of segues that would run through the rest of the show.
After that, the band worked partway through “Uncle John’s Band” before splitting mid-song for “Supplication”. Without stopping, the band moved into a reprise of “Uncle John’s Band” prior to Weir delivering a telling of Bob Dylan‘s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” with “Good Lovin'” finally closing the set.
Returning once more with the whole Wolf family in tow, the band closed night one with “U.S. Blues”.
Check out a gallery of images from last night courtesy of photographer Bolt of Sunshine. A collection of fan-shot videos is available on YouTube user The 11‘s channel. Bobby Weir and Wolf Bros return to The Warfield tonight, October 14th, for their second of three sold-out shows.
Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – “The Music Never Stopped” > “Easy Answers” > “The Music Never Stopped” [Pro-Shot] – 10/14/22
Bob Weir & Wolf Bros – “Easy To Slip” (Little Feat), “The Winners” [Pro-Shot] – 10/14/22
Setlist: Bob Weir & Wolf Bros | The Warfield | San Francisco, CA | 10/14/22
Set One: The Music Never Stopped > Easy Answers > The Music Never Stopped > Bertha, Big River (Johnny Cash), Loser, She Says, Throwing Stones
Set Two: Easy to Slip (Little Feat) , The Winners > Althea, Greatest Story Ever Told, Scarlet Begonias > Uncle John’s Band > Supplication > Uncle John’s Band > A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan) > Good Lovin’ (The Young Rascals)
Enc.: U.S. Blues
Matthew Kelly on harmonica throughout
 Bob starts solo with Lane and Was joining during instrumental breakdown