Jerry Garcia’s legendary “Wolf” guitar was auctioned off by Guernsey’s at the Brooklyn Bowl in New York City on Wednesday night, raising a whopping $3.2M to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center. The winning bid was $1.6M from Brian Halligan, the HubSpot CEO and co-author of Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn From The Most Iconic Band in History, and it was matched by the previous owner. While the bidding war went on, the guitar was played by a group of “celebrated musicians” for one last hurrah.
The evening’s bill was Joe Russo’s Friends With Benefits, including John Scofield , Nels Cline (Wilco), Neal Casal (Circles Around The Sun, Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin, & Wood), Dave Dreiwitz (Ween, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead), Cass McCombs, Dave Harrington (Darkside, Hooteroll? + Plus), Tom Hamilton (JRAD), Delicate Steve, Scott Metzger (JRAD), Jon Shaw (Bob Weir, Shakey Graves), Erik Deutsch (Hooteroll? + Plus), Alecia Chakour (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Eric D Johnson (Fruit Bats), Jonathan Goldberger (Red Baraat, Hooteroll? + Plus), and Cochemea Gastelum (Dap-Kings). Guitarists Neal Casal, Scott Metzger, Tom Hamilton, and Cass McCombs all were gifted a chance to play the legendary Wolf throughout the night. It was a night of pure musical bliss, as you can see in the videos below, courtesy of nugs.tv.
Wolf Presentation > Truckin’
Jam > Help On The Way
The Auction, as taped by rdeal1999
Eyes of the World, as taped by rdeal1999
Stella Blue with Cass McCombs on Wolf, as taped by rdeal1999
Truckin with Neal Casal on Wolf, , as taped by rdeal1999
Garcia played with Wolf during the course of two decades of continent-spanning touring with The Grateful Dead. The beautiful guitar, which made its debut in 1973 during a Grateful Dead performance for the Hell’s Angels, was crafted by luthier Doug Irwin. After Garcia’s death, the instrument returned to Irwin, and in 2002, it was sold for $700,000, at that time breaking the record for most expensive guitar sale.
All of the proceeds from the auction go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization that fights bigotry through education, litigation, and advocacy. As the previous owner said of the auction and of the guitar: “I’ve been a fan of The Dead since I was a kid, and playing this iconic guitar over the past 15 years has been a privilege. But the time is right for Wolf to do some good. My wife and I have long supported the efforts of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and if ever we needed the SPLC, we sure do need them now.”
Check out the full gallery, courtesy of Andrew Blackstein.
Setlist: Joe Russo’s Friends With Benefits | Brooklyn Bowl | NYC | 5/31/17
Set One: Truckin @ (SM), Dire Wolf @ (CM) > Eyes Of The World @# (NC) -> Stella Blue @$ (EDJ) > Wharf Rat @% (EDJ) > Bird Song @^ (CM), The Music Never Stopped @ (SM) -> Drums & -> Morning In Marin*
Set Two: Jam + -> Help on The Way + (TH) -> Slipknot! + -> China Cat Sunflower + (NC) -> I Know You Rider + (All), The Stranger/Two Souls In Communion @@ # $$ (AC) -> Jam @@ # -> Deal @@ # (TH) > Magnificent Sanctuary Band @@ (TH), I Second That Emotion @@ $$ %% (EDJ) > Lovelight @@ $$ (AC)
Encore: ^^Terrapin Station (TH) > Throwing Stones (SM), Not Fade Away && (All) -> St. Stephen && (All) -> The Eleven && (TH & JR) -> St. Stephen && (All) -> Not Fade Away && (All)
@ – Core band was Scott Metzger (Gtr & Vox), Neal Casal (Gtr & Vox), Jon Shaw (Bass), Erik Deutsch (Keys), Cass McCombs (Gtr & Vox), Billy Martin (Drums), Joe Russo (Drums & Vox)
# – With Cochemea Gastelum on Sax
$ – With Eric D. Johnson on Keys & Vocals
% – With Eric D. Johnson on Guitar & Vocals
^ – Contained a verse of “Shady Grove” (Doc Watson)
& – Just Billy & Joe, band switch
* – Core band was John Scofield (Gtr), Nels Cline (Gtr), Jonathan Goldberger (Gtr), Dave Harrington (Bass), Cochemea Gastelum (Sax), Billy Martin (Drums), Erik Deutsch (Keys), Joe Russo (Drums)
+ – Core band was Tom Hamilton (Gtr & Vox), Neal Casal (Gtr & Vox), Dave Harrington (Gtr), Dave Dreiwitz (Bass), Erik Deutsch (Keys), Billy Martin (Drums), Joe Russo (Drums & Vox)
@@ – Core band was Tom Hamilton (Gtr & Vox), Delicate Steve (Gtr), Dave Dreiwitz (Bass), Erik Deutsch (Keys), Joe Russo (Drums)
$$ – With Alecia Chakour on Vocals
%% – With Eric D Johnson on Vocals
^^ – Core band was Tom Hamilton, Scott Metzger, Dave Dreiwitz, Erik Deutsch, Joe Russo
&& – With Neal Casal (Gtr & Vox)
[Setlist by Peter Costello]