Bob Weir & the Wolf Bros. // Live @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium // 2.22.2023 CONCERT REVIEWS FEATURED MUSIC by Jason Robey - February 24, 2023 Photos and review by: Jason Robey ASHEVILLE, NC — It’s hard to believe that last month marked 57 years since a young Bob Weir first stepped on stage as a founding member of the Grateful Dead. It’s even harder to believe it’s been that long when you see the energy and spirit he still emits with every performance. Weir hasn’t spent any notable time away from the road in that entire time, constantly touring with Grateful Dead, other incarnations of the Dead since the death of Jerry Garcia, and several other side bands he’s fronted. Weir is spending first part of the year on the road with Wolf Brothers, with a sold-out stop in Asheville on Wednesday. As with all the other groups he’s had, the setlist is primarily Grateful Dead songs and cover songs that the Dead played, but every group has a different flavor. The Wolf Brothers, whose core members are Weir, Don Was on double bass, Jay Lane on drums, Greg Leisz on pedal steel, and Jeff Chimenti on keyboards, also bring a five piece horn and string section, known as the Wolfpack, to the stage for the bulk of each show. The first set was heavy on grooves, beginning with a mid-tempo “Mississippi Half Step Toodeloo,” a classic 1973 Grateful Dead song. The Wolfpack then joined them for “Odessa,” from another of Weir’s projects, Ratdog, his primary band from roughly 2000 – 2014. “West L.A. Fadeaway” was easily the highlight of the set. An extra groove-laden version of the Grateful Dead song, it was the perfect vehicle for meshing the improvisational nature of the Dead with the precision playing of the Wolfpack. Before the song was over, each member would have a chance to shine with their own solo. The band saved the real heat for the second set. Weir showed his impeccable blues soloing skills on a cover of Peggy Lee’s “Fever,” before bringing out special guest guitarist Grahame Lesh, son of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. He brought the energy to a new level, joining the band for “Scarlet Begonias,” a scorching version of “Viola Lee Blues,” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” A beautiful rendition of “Standing On the Moon” and a rocking “Around and Around” closed the set. Lesh returned with the band for a spellbinding, country-tinted rendition of the long-time Dead favorite “Ripple.” Bob Weir & the Wolf Brothers will be on tour throughout the Spring, before Weir hits the road with Dead & Company for their final tour in May.