Donald Trump Introduces Bob Weir & RatDog

By Scott Bernstein Oct 16, 2015 9:00 am PDT

Current presidential candidate and billionaire Donald Trump has gotten himself in trouble with Steven Tyler, R.E.M. and Neil Young over recent months for using their music without permission at campaign functions, but there’s one rocker who actually invited “The Donald” to MC one of his shows and that rocker is birthday boy Bob Weir. Weir, the surviving Grateful Dead guitarist who turns 68 today, was introduced to the crowd at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on April 6, 2006 by Trump.

Donald gave his best Bill Graham impersonation as he toyed with the crowd and announced, “I have some really good news for you tonight. Bob Weir will not be able to perform but I’ll be taking his place.” The audience gave Trump a Bronx cheer as Donald went on to say no one sold out Madison Square Garden more than Bobby and came up with a figure of 251 shows that Weir sold out at MSG, which just isn’t true. Donald ended with, “So it’s my honor tonight to present Bob Weir and RatDog and enjoy it, so long.”

The Trump/Weir summit came together thanks to the efforts of real-estate investor Billy Procida. A New Yorker article reveals Procida had dinner with Bobby when Donald Trump’s name came up. “Someone mentions Trump, and, next thing I know, they’re voting on it. Bob’s not a dictator. Everything is voted, and it’s approved: we bring Donald to the RatDog show,” Procida – a former Trump employee – told the New Yorker. However, it almost didn’t happen since Donald had a full schedule that night. Then, shortly before the show was scheduled to start, Trump called Procida and told him “It’s Trump, I can make it, but I only got ten minutes.”

Here’s more from the New Yorker about what went down:

Before a show, Weir gathers the band members in his dressing room to warm up their voices. They were just about to run through the song “Attics of My Life.” “Then there was The Donald in the hallway,” Weir says. “I haven’t seen that much of him, but I knew who it was. He had the suit and the hair.” They talked for a few minutes—Trump said that he might like to have Weir on “The Apprentice”—and then it was time for the musicians to perform. The band walked on with Trump, and Weir followed a few feet behind. The audience fell silent. There were some catcalls. “He was walking straight into the teeth of a fairly tough crowd,” Weir says. “He’s got nerve.”

Though Trump said he only had ten minutes to spend at the concert, he wound up staying for the opening stanza. Fans continued to approach “The Donald” throughout the evening so Billy arranged a wall of bankers around the tycoon. “He leaves just after the first set ends. His tie’s undone and hanging off to the side. In all the years, I never saw him that way,” Procida revealed.

Outside of Donald’s intro, the rest of the show is well worth hearing. RatDog had a particularly strong night at the Upper West Side venue with standout versions of “Bird Song,” “New Speedway Boogie” and “Sugar Magnolia” among the highlights.

Listen to RatDog’s April 6th, 2006 performance at the Beacon Theatre including Donald Trump’s introduction via an audience recording on Archive.org:

Setlist (via RatDog.org)

Set One: Jam > The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion > Bertha, Jam > Bird Song > Little Red Rooster, Odessa, Senor > Crazy Fingers > Jus’ Like Mama Said > New Speedway Boogie

Set Two: K.C. Moan@3, Peggy-O@, The Weight@, China Cat Sunflower* > I Know You Rider*, Stuff*, Wharf Rat > Sugar Magnolia

Encore: Attics of My Life, Foolish Heart

*-with DJ Logic (Turntables); Stuff – Jay/Logic > Jay/Logic/Kenny/Jeff > Jay/Logic/Kenny/Jeff/MK/Robin > all/Logic

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