Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. bring small setup, big sound to N. Charleston PAC for tour closer


Bob Weir & Wolf Bros., his three-piece group completed by Jay Lane on drums and Don Was on stand-up bass, came the North Charleston Performing Arts Center Saturday night for an intimate show packed with big moments.

Despite the groups smaller size, they are able to create a full soundscape, with plenty of musical twist, turns, and peaks expected from any endeavors by the 71-year-old Grateful Dead torchbearer.

IT offered a different experience from the 'Grateful Dead' and 'Dead & Company' shows featuring at least six musicians, forcing Bobby to take more of a leading role the usual for the rhythm guitarist.

The PAC was close to capacity for the final show of their second tour together. Bobby got the show started on a energetic note with fan favorite "Bertha," which quickly brought some fun peaks and blinding lights.

Bob switched from electric to acoustic guitar for "The Winners," and Marty Robbins classic and Dead staple "El Paso," which he apologized for in advanced because "this one doesn't end well."

Halfway through Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row," another Dead staple in the 1980s and 1990s, Bob switched from the acoustic back to electric, followed by another acoustic tune, "Lay My Lily Down," from his 2016 solo album "Blue Mountain."

He picked up the electric guitar again for a set closing trio beginning with "Passenger." Bobby took a second to introduce the tune with lyrics by Peter Monk, one of the handful of Dead songs not written with Robert Hunter or John Perry Barlow.

Before the song started, Bobby had to stop the drummer and say, "that's too fast!" eliciting a hearty chuckle from the crowd.

Despite the tempo quip, "Passenger" rocked its way into "Wharf Rat." The tale told by August West landed into a triumphant set-closing "Deal" with some impressive lead guitar licks, that may have been influenced by Dead & Co lead guitarist John Mayer.

Bobby would stick with the electric guitar for the second set, starting with a hot "Music Never Stopped," which flowed seamlessly into late-era Weir/Barlow jam "Easy Answers," before dropping back into the ending of "Music" for a triumphant close.

The laments of a "Lost Sailor" were next, followed by regular upbeat partner "Saint of Circumstance" to get the crowd fist-pumping.

"He's Gone" followed, which was an audible to the setlist. The crowd jumped at the opportunity to fill in some of the missing harmonies.

After a dip into the psychedelic with "The Other One," another setlist audible, "Days Between" brought a tender moment of reflection.

The show ended with the highlight of the night, an blazing ride through the iconic pairing of "China Cat Sunflower" and "I Know You Rider," with the crowd roaring after each impressive lick laid down by Bobby.

The acoustic came back one more time for the soulful "Black Muddy River," a fitting choice to close out the show and the trio's second tour together.