Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

May 3, 2012

Bob Weir Solo Acoustic

Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA
by Eric Sutter

"Lay your burdens down" was the general feeling present at Colonial when Bob Weir's Solo Acoustic Tour came through Pittsfield. The performance had been postponed from last August, so a mighty anticipation was obvious. The legendary rhythm guitarist from The Grateful Dead performed in an intimate living room style setting, making use of his devoted following who sang, danced and clapped along to nearly every song.

Weir opened with his own "The Music Never Stopped," which sounded powerfully good. The warm receptive audience shined the lights from cell phones and captured his image in photo. He was barefooted and humble as he passed a nod of recognition to Bob Dylan with a rendition of "Maggie's Farm" on bottleneck slide guitar. The Marty Robbins cowboy tale "El Paso" was an unexpected treat. He followed with other tales such as the sparse sadness of the Dylan lament "Desolation Row" and continued in a similar vein with the traditional murder ballad "Frankie and Johnnie" which featured nimble guitar playing.

Strangely, the fire alarm in the Colonial went off, and audience members were told to evacuate until the Fire Department could check things out. After 20 minutes, Weir resumed. In spite of the interruption, he kept it rolling along with the mellow sing-a-longs "Artificial Flowers" and "At The Festival." The crowd was enthusiastic and full of song and dance. Some looked like open -handed human umbrellas as they praised the sound with hundreds of parachuting memories.

An intricate guitar instrumental became another vehicle for celebration and set up the classic "Cassidy." The collective consciousness of the Dead Head audience was placated by the opening acoustic guitar chords of the Beatles "Dear Prudence." The joyously visceral Bo Diddley beat of Buddy Holly's "Fade Away" had the put the audience in Weir's hands. In loud unison, the audience became a boisterous chorus. The fluttering farewell was like some low voltage charge of electricity. "Brokedown Palace" tapped into a secret place of coagulated energy. The tribe went out happy.