Last night, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh continued their inaugural “Bobby & Phil Duo” tour with their first of two performances at the Wang Theatre in Boston, MA. After Saturday night’s full-set sit-in from Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, expectations were through the roof for the Grateful duo’s Boston opener. Nothing was off the table on Wednesday night, and once again, Bobby & Phil refused to disappoint.
Weir and Lesh dove into the show with a tight and spirited rendition of “Loose Lucy”, the intricate guitar and bass lines intertwining beautifully. While there was inevitably going to be a learning curve as the two got acclimated to this new format, it was clear from the song’s opening notes that they were rapidly finding their footing. [Note: If you need more proof, give a listen to the “Loose Lucy” from the tour’s opening night for comparison].
Despite some frequently-noticeable hoarseness, Bobby continued to lead the charge with a short and sweet “Me & My Uncle” before moving into a swaying rendition of Bob Dylan classic “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. The “Deep Elem Blues” that followed restored the twang to the set, as Lesh and Weir playfully chased each other around the chugging blues progression for just shy of 10 minutes.
An interesting “Althea” came next, as Weir opted to layer in sparse flourishes on his Stratocaster and let Lesh do the vast majority of the heavy lifting musically as he sang lead. The result was surely not the greatest version of the tune ever played, but one that’s worth a listen as a clear glimpse of Phil’s rock-solid bass work.
Percussionist Wally Ingram emerged for the “Bird Song” came next, with Phil on lead vocals. With the boost from Ingram’s rhythmic texture, the tune proved to be the improvisational highlight of set one, stretching past 16 minutes in length. Finally, a sing-along “He’s Gone” capped the show’s first frame.
When Bobby & Phil returned to the stage for their second set, they had a few extra players in tow: Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, the husband-and-wife duo best known for their work with the late Levon Helm on his “Midnight Ramble” shows at The Barn in Woodstock, NY. Williams and Campbell (as well as Ingram) would remain onstage throughout the set.
They started things off with a rendition of “Crazy Fingers” that slowly rose to a blissful climax. “Friend of the Devil” came next, followed by “Tennessee Jed”, Williams’ vocal harmonies adding beautiful depth to both tunes.
A rendition of Daniel Lanois‘ oft-covered “The Maker” came next. As the tune faded out, as Weir stepped to the mic to joke, “So much for our seamless segue … As you can readily discern, this stuff is meticulously well-rehearsed and so we want your undivided attention here at all times.” As Bobby finished, a mischievous Phil piped up “Bobby, tell me the yellow duck story,” a running, sarcastic joke that’s repeatedly come up throughout the run. Bobby eventually demurred, saying he’d tell it tomorrow. As Phil replied, “That’s better than the yellow duck story, thank you.”
The set continued with a mystical “Cryptical Envelopment” > “The Other One”, which gave Campbell the chance to let loose a wave of jagged blues riffs. “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” once again shifted the momentum from the stars back to the saloon, with Phil taking lead vocals. A tender “Black Peter” followed, before the Bobby & Phil duo (+3) closed out the set with a bouncing “The Music Never Stopped”. “Touch of Grey” served as the encore, and although its ending was awkwardly cut short, it did little to take away from another memorable show. Three down, three to go…
You can watch a selection of pro-shot videos from the performance below via Nugs.tv. Order your webcast for any of the upcoming Bobby & Phil Duo shows here.
Bob Weir & Phil Lesh – “Loose Lucy” – 3/7/18
Bob Weir & Phil Lesh w/ Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Wally Ingram – “Crazy Fingers” – 3/7/18
Bob Weir & Phil Lesh w/ Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Wally Ingram – “The Maker” – 3/7/18
Bob Weir & Phil Lesh w/ Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Wally Ingram – “Cryptical Envelopment > The Other One” – 3/7/18
Setlist: Bob Weir & Phil Lesh | Wang Theatre | Boston, MA | 3/7/18
Set One: Loose Lucy, Me & My Uncle, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Deep Elem Blues, Althea, Bird Song, He’s Gone
Set Two: Crazy Fingers, Friend of the Devil, Tennessee Jed, The Maker, Cryptical Envelopment, The Other One, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Black Peter, The Music Never Stopped
Encore: Touch of Grey
Notes: Entire 2nd set with Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, and Wally Ingram
The Bobby & Phil Duo tour continues tonight with their second and final Boston show before they head to Chicago for a pair of performances this weekend. For more information, head to the tour website.
See below for a full gallery of photos from the performance courtesy of Old King Cole Photography.