Does anyone have some toast? Because Saturday night's event was oh-so jammy sweet! Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and members of indie rock ensemble The National teamed up for an intimate show entitled "The Bridge Session" at Weir's TRI Studios in San Francisco, CA. Bridging the gap between east and west coasts, the band blended together beautifully for the special event benefiting voter registration group HeadCount.org. Yahoo! Music streamed the entire show live, so viewers could catch every juicy moment of classic rock goodness!
[ Photos: More images from Saturday night's show ]
With Weir front and center, the band launched into two hearty, head swaying sets of Grateful Dead tunes with the National's songs and covers of Bob Dylan's "Most of the Time" and Cass McCombs' "Love Thine Enemy" peppered in. For the encore, the band went acoustic, dimmed the lights and made the already intimate show even more so. Huddling the small audience around the band, the studio had an eyes-closed, feel-good sing-along of some of the Grateful Dead's biggest hits that must've had Deadheads watching the stream turn greener with envy.
The one-off supergroup consisted of Weir, Bryan and Scott Devendorf, and Aaron Dessner of The National, plus Brooklyn music scene cohorts Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman), Sam Cohen (Yellowbirds), Josh Kaufman (Yellowbirds), Conrad Doucette (Takka Takka), Kyle Resnick (The National collaborator) and Walter Martin (the Walkmen). While the band may have had a noticeable abundance of players, no one got lost in a wall of sound.
"China Cat Sunflower" and "I Know You Rider" - From funk to blues, the seamless transition of the two songs live actually started in 1969, and (save two times) haven't separated since! Good to see the tradition alive and well, a must-see for any Deadhead.
The National's "Daughters Of The SoHo Riots" - Bob Weir takes lead vocals on the National song's from their 2005 album Alligator. Excellent choice for Weir--who has a beautiful guitar solo at 2:40--and a spectacular moment for the National!
"The Other One" - This is where you see the musicians really flex their jam muscles--one of the most rockin' points of the show.
"Uncle John's Band" - This is probably the coolest moment of the show, when the band gathered the crowd around them and had everyone sing along. It's always neat to see the barrier between performer and viewer come down (the people behind Weir are living!). And you can't help but think: This may never happen again, lucky audience!
After the show, Weir told Yahoo! Music, "I was surprised by how many instruments in the ensemble we could get music out of. Usually that many instruments in an ensemble and everybody's playing all the time it gets to be too thick … but these guys are good at leaving room for music to happen. And it did I thought."
Weir went on to say his experience working with members of the National and the other musicians "fell together rather sweetly. These guys are good players… I did a couple of their tunes, at their insistence. I learned 'em and loved 'em."
A rock legend playing your songs—can it get more epic than that?
"It was surreal," gushed the National bassist Scott Devendorf. "We've been huge fans for a very long time. That this actually came together was a little miraculous." On playing opposite Weir, Devendorf said, "It was really nice to see how down to earth Bob is. He's really dedicated and really hard working. We did ten to twelve-hour rehearsals for a couple days out here… he's got a real consistent thing. We started at noon and didn't finish till midnight."
How did the event come about? Bob Weir is a board member of Headcount.org, an organization that uses their love for music to spread social consciousness and to getting people to flex their voting power. Between sets, a lively panel discussion took place covering topics like personal freedom, money in politics, domestic energy production, women's rights, and how particularly crucial it is for young people to vote. Weir was joined by independent presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, No Labels co-founder Mark McKinnon, climate change activist Jessy Tolkan, and Grateful Dead lyricist and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow. Pulling from Twitter and Facebook, a few lucky fans even had their questions to Weir answered live! The most interesting tidbit Weir revealed was that while hanging out at San Francisco's exclusive Bohemian Club, he happened upon having drinks with the original head of the OSS (the agency which later became the CIA)!
And for you music superfans out there, here's the show's complete set list (share away!):
Help On The Way
Love Thine Enemy (Cass McCombs)
Looks Like Rain
Friend Of The Devil
Daughters Of The SoHo Riots (The National)
My Brother Esau
Me + My Uncle
Fake Empire (The National)
Most Of The Time (Bob Dylan)
Brown Eyed Woman
The Other One
Standing On The Moon
I Know You Rider
Uncle John's Band