For over thirty years, The Grateful Dead was a juggernaut that couldn’t be stopped. Generation after generation, kids have fallen in love with the band’s free-form groove, free- love attitude, and free your mind propaganda. And while leader Jerry Garcia was always the heart of the band, Bob Weir was the backbone. And watching him last night with Rat Dog at The Palace Theater showed how talented he has always been, and makes you wonder why he stood in Jerry’s shadow for so long.
The first set opened with three Dead classics including the upbeat “Shakedown Street”, followed by an explosive rendering of “Loose Lucy”, and then the sprawling “Ship of Fools”. He returned to The Dead’s cannon to close the set with “He’s Gone” and a cover of the classic Cajun anthem of “Iko Iko”.
With the exception of “Candyman”, “The Golden Road to Unlimited devotion”, and “The Wheel” – the entire second set was comprised of Weir and company tearing through covers of artists they admire. During the acoustic portion the band played intense versions of both “K.C. Moan” and Bob Dylan’s “Most of the Time”. Once they plugged back in, the guys rounded the set out with a string of covers that included: “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles, another Bob Dylan song called “Senor”, and Wilson Pickett’s classic “After Midnight”.
For the encore Rat Dog came out and led us through a slow, soulful version of the Dead classic “Big Muddy River” – thereby bringing the energy of the show around 180 degrees. As the lights came up, and we emerged from the theater reeking of pot and patchouli – I couldn’t help but hear the echoing refrain of “Loose Lucy” as it bounced around my head…screaming: Hey, Bob! “Thank you, for a real good time.”