Tag: Bob Weir
Last night during the 9th straight show Furthur was playing at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY – shit was not going good for Bob Weir. I started receiving texts from a friend at the show during “Me and My Uncle.” He was telling me that Weir was in hilariously fucked up form all night: leaning at a weird angle, forgetting all the words, strumming aimlessly. But then the texts got darker…”He just fell over”…”I think I’m gonna cry.” As you can see from the video below, Weir takes a straight up face-plant onto fake-Jerry during “Unbroken Chain.” Two crew members come out and prop him up in a folding chair as he stares aimlessly like an Alzheimer’s patient, or more like someone under the influence of a massive amount of opiates. The song ends, the band walks off stage, and then returns sans Weir to finish out the set. Phil Lesh announces that Bobby strained his shoulder earlier in the day, like that’s some sort of excuse for passing out on stage. I suppose he could have been under a good amount of medication, but that’s besides the point.
The point is something much larger. First off there’s the very ominous sign that the entire band is dressed head to toe in black. As my friend pointed out, “Maybe the whole band wanted to dress like Jerry but Bobby wanted to take heroin like Jerry.” Regardless, the scariest part of the situation is the band’s reaction – which is absolutely no reaction at all. It seems like they could honestly care less what’s happening to Weir. Now this leads to two things – First, they obviously seemed well aware that Bobby was a mess before the show started, and thus seem prepared for this potential scenario. Even the crew members seem to have a folding chair ready to go just in case it was needed. Secondly, and more importantly, they seem prepared to not give a fuck what’s happening to Weir. Now I don’t care how big of a band you are or what legacy you carry… when you see your 65 year old friend take a massive digger front and center, you fuckin’ check to make sure the dude’s OK. Hell, what if he had seriously cracked open his skull and bled there to death while Phil Lesh just kept singing “Unbroken Chain.” Clearly it seems like there is a severe break in the chain there fellas. And honestly, John “Fake Jerry” Kadlecik doesn’t seem to give a fuck either. Seriously, one of the founders of the band that this guy has modeled his life after just fell on top of him, and he just kind of takes a step out of the way.
Sometimes you gotta stop. Sometimes you need to remember you’re a human being as are the other members of your band, and make sure they’re still breathing. Honestly, I feel sad and sorry for Bobby, but I feel anger towards Phil. This is a tremendous low-point for the legacy of the Grateful Dead. It’s not sad that Bobby was so fucked up, it’s sad that nobody seemed to care if he was all right. You don’t just pretend nothing happened. It will be interesting to see what news arises about the actual background behind this situation, but it’s clear we’ve reached an odd point with the Grateful Dead. With hundreds of Dead cover bands out there, it’s become clear that the music itself is more important than the people making it, but Phil Lesh has just taken that mantra to a whole new level.
Now don’t get me wrong, these guys work their fuckin’ asses off, and I understand the desire to keep playing music and push through everything. But at least glance at the man and make sure he’s OK… maybe John could have reached down and lent him a hand at least… Ugly scene all around – get prepared if you haven’t watched the video yet – it ain’t pretty. Get well soon Bobby… and Phil.
So here’s the news… Last night, Good ole’ Bobby Weir was playing at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, CA – a venue which he just reopened a year ago. He was scheduled to play a solo acoustic set followed by an electric performance with his band, Ratdog. Bob’s solo set was cut short when he stormed off stage halfway through Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall”. It seems that a group of people, or perhaps an even larger contingency of folks, would just not stop talking during the gig, and with Sweetwater being such a small room, that shit must have echoed a little more than usual. Bobby looks visibly frustrated through the song, and pauses for a moment to ask the folks if he’s interrupting them before totally abandoning the track. I wonder if he started the tune in the first place so he could sing the line: “Ive seen ten thousand talkers whose tongues are all broken.” But you know Bob, sometimes hard rains fall and sometimes you gotta push through that shit. During the full band “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” encore, he reportedly yelled “Shut the fuck up.” I’ve thought about this all morning, and I’ve decided that Bobby was right in telling them to shut the fuck up, but wrong to walk off stage. Here’s why…
I’ve brought up this whole ‘talking during the show’ thing for a while. It totally fucked up the 2nd night of Phish’s 3-night run in San Francisco last year, and I totally wanted to kick a girl in the cooch during New Year’s. Here’s the thing – if you’ve paid a bunch of money for a band and have totally gone out of your way to see them, then why the fuck are you not going to pay attention to the show? This same thing happened when Trey played the 800-capacity Higher Ground in Burlington, VT 7 or 8 years ago. It seems that once inside these small venues, some jerk-offs feel a sense of entitlement. What’s even cooler about seeing a huge band in a small place? Not even giving a fuck that you’re there – it’s the ultimate hipster fuck-face move. So talking during a tiny Bobby solo gig is wickedly poor form. What surprises me though, is that there weren’t any other heads in the crowd who told them to fuck off. I wasn’t there, so perhaps there were, but usually in these GD crowds the older heads are not at all afraid to tell some younger lot trash to go suck a fat one. Perhaps the talkers were older fans themselves, which makes for a slightly more perplexing situation, but still one that you have every right as a fellow fan to tell them to close their traps.
Bobby telling these douche-bags to shut up is a well-deserved move, and one that we should totally respect him for. Surely bringing it to attention in such a small room is going to insure that it stops. Walking off the stage, however, is not the classiest way to handle the situation. By doing that, he not only let the talkers win the battle, but he fucked over the show for everyone else in the crowd. Yes, he can blame it on the gabbers, but that still isn’t fair for the people who are being respectful and not talking – you just cut them short on music they paid good money for. By watching the video, it does seem like a good portion of the crowd is being pretty loud, but it’s hard to tell exactly where it’s all coming from. I think the reason for his move is that he came up in a band that was always part of a greater collective scene. Unlike other smaller, hard working bands, the Dead never had to deal with inattentive rooms. If they had, then perhaps Weir would have learned that part of being an entertainer is being able to push through no matter what. You put your heart out there all the way, no matter if there’s only 2 people there, or if there’s people talking really loudly. I mean hell, the man owns this venue, it’s not like he couldn’t have asked security to intervene if they didn’t shut up after he asked them to. Anyway, it’s a shitty situation and I probably would have been really pissed off if I was there. But basically, he should have told the dumb fucks to shut up even sooner, and not let them get him so riled up. Take control, don’t act like a victim. Oh well, we all have our shoulda-woulda-coulda nights I guess. Check it out for yourself…
So I cut my media outlets early last night, thus only woke this morning to news of Bin Laden being killed. Fuck, I really would have loved to shoot my shotgun mindlessly into the air in celebration. Do you think this actually happened like 3 weeks ago, but they announced it just yesterday in order to draw away any more unprecedented media footage of Great Britain’s royal wedding? Seriously, it’s like the only media attention that England has gotten in years, and they’re uber-hyped about a big tourist boost. So wouldn’t it be just like the single-minded, war consumed heart of our American military and political leaders to hold off on celebration of this news until they could use it to even more of their advantage on the world stage? Put THAT in your cap and smoke it! That’s right, ishitmusic, your number one destination for all things new in music and ill-informed conspiracy theories.
Well, I’m sure the one thing we can all agree upon is that no other song and music video comes to mind on this glorious day of U.S. military blood-drawing then the one below – God Friggin’ Bless -