Bob Weir & Wolf Bros Continue Run With National Symphony Orchestra At Kennedy Center
See highlights from the second night of orchestral Grateful Dead songs in Washington D.C.
Bobby Weir and Wolf Bros featuring The Wolfpack assembled with the National Symphony Orchestra at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on Thursday. Weir and the massive collective worked through a batch of symphonic Grateful Dead classics that included a number of changes from opening night.
Once again, the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Steven Reineke came out first to deliver an “Overture” to get last night’s memorable concert underway. A climate activist rushed the stage and unrolled a sign stating “Declare Emergency” before the NSO had a chance to start the instrumental piece featuring a taste of many GD favorites. The protester was quickly removed as the concert proceeded without further incident.
Grateful Dead/Dead & Company guitarist Bob Weir emerged with Wolf Bros bandmates pianist Jeff Chimenti, bassist Don Was and drummer Jay Lane as well as the five-piece Wolfpack brass and string section to follow “Overture” with “Shakedown Street.” Weir donned a suit last night after wearing a formal tuxedo on Wednesday. The title track from the Grateful Dead’s 1978 studio album included a riveting composed section played by the NSO before Bobby and Wolf Bros jammed on the disco-fueled tune with the symphony providing accents throughout.
The large ensemble unveiled the orchestral score for “Playing In The Band” next. Bobby’s Ace gem gave away to the beloved “Dark Star.” Last night’s show saw “Dark Star” split between the two sets with a handful of short excursions into the tune found at other points of the night. The first foray into “Dark Star” on Thursday led into the initial “Jack Straw” of the run. Violins swirled as Bobby belted out the song he wrote with Robert Hunter.
The ensuing “Wharf Rat” contained an otherworldly score filled with peaks and valleys. Weir came in early a few times but quickly recovered to the delight of the audience. Last night’s first set then came to a close with the second “Cassidy” of the run.
“Lost Sailor” and partner song “Saint Of Circumstance” were paired to kick off Thursday’s second set. The 16-minute piece thrived in the symphonic setting. Weir sang the end of “Sailor” in falsetto providing the perfect lead-in to “Saint,” which bled into another round of “Dark Star” that incorporated the second verse. From there, the orchestral “Stella Blue” was debuted. The Hunter/Garcia chesnut was followed by a segment featuring reprises of both “Uncle John’s Band” and “Playing In The Band.” Next up was “Touch Of Grey” after which Weir, Chimenti, Lane and Was were left to perform Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell’s “Fever” before The Wolfpack emerged for the evening’s “Not Fade Away” finale.
The run resumes at Kennedy Center on Saturday. Check out fan-shot videos from last night’s show below:
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