Months in the making, last night Grateful Dead/Furthur guitarist Bob Weir performed with members of The National, Yellowbirds and other Brooklyn-based musicians as part of a free live webcast called The Bridge Session put together by HeadCount and held at TRI Studios. The 10-person ensemble performed two sets that included plenty of Grateful Dead classics, a pair of The National’s songs and even a few choice covers. Of particular note was the first version of Weir’s My Brother Esau sung by Bobby since the Grateful Dead last played the Barlow/Weir chestnut on October 3, 1987 at Shoreline as well as takes on Bob Dylan’s Most of the Time and Cass McComb’s Love Thine Enemy.
[Sing-a-long Encore via Maxwell_Goldman]
Joining Weir in the indie-meets-jam all-star troupe were Aaron Dessner, Bryan Devendorf and Scott Devendorf of The National, Josh Kaufman and Sam Cohen of Yellowbirds, Walt Martin from The Walkmen, Conrad Doucette of Takka Takka, and National contributors Thomas Bartlett and Kyle Resnick. Bobby told Yahoo! Music that, “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.” Scott Devendorf told Rolling Stone he was really happy with the way it turned out, “For us, the night definitely exceeded expectations. We were surprised that it was even going to happen in the first place, and then as we were rehearsing it became more and more real.”
Here’s the setlist from The Bridge Session…
Set 1: Help on the Way, Love Thine Enemy (Cass McCombs), Looks Like Rain, El Paso, Friend of the Devil, Cassidy, Daughters of the SoHo Riots (The National), My Brother Esau
Set 2: Me and My Uncle, Fake Empire (The National), Most of the Time (Bob Dylan), Brown Eyed Women, The Other One, Standing on the Moon, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
Encore: Ripple*, Uncle John’s Band*, Brokedown Palace*
* Before Ripple – “You’re gonna love this, or you’re gonna hate it — but we’re gonna do it.”
Bob and band form circle within the crowd and play Ripple, Uncle John’s Band, Brokedown Palace!
The setbreak featured a roundtable discussion using questions from audience members both in-person and via social networks moderated by HeadCount’s Andy Bernstein. HeadCount’s other co-founder, Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein, emceed the event. For the final three songs of the evening, Weir and the band formed a circle within the crowd and welcomed audience members to help out on Ripple, Uncle John’s Band and Brokedown Palace.