Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Weir and The Waybacks

A festival highlight for me was the two sets The Waybacks performed with Bob Weir, especially the Hillside stage double set with additional guests Sam Bush, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. This was the fourth appearance at MerleFest for James Nash, Stevie Coyle and the Waybacks.

Weir brought out more Deadheads in the audience than I would have predicted, and they were rewarded with a big helping of Dead tunes, from Jack Straw and Brokedown Palace to Brown-Eyed Woman and Casey Jones. The most inspired choice for me was St. Steven. They also sourced material from Led Zeppelin (Kashmir) and The Stones (19th Nervous Breakdown), as well as more predictable selections such as The Weight and All Along the Watchtower. The encore for both shows was Like a Rolling Stone.

After one night in San Francisco earlier in the week, the MerleFest shows were the first time Weir and Waybacks had played together as an announced act. According to the interview Weir gave to PJ Finn at Martha's Vineyard Radio, he first met The Waybacks at a wedding where he was a guest and the band had been booked. He has sat in with them a few times since, and they rehearsed at Weir's home last week.

In the interview Nash said "the thing with Sam [Bush] and Kashmir took shape around 3 this afternoon. That's the great thing about festivals. You see people backstage and ask them to be a guest for your set."

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