There was no opener. There was no Wall of Sound. It was evident from the jump that this was going to be an exemplary showing of acoustic singer/songwriters. The energy in the room was anxious as the trio took the stage. Weir delighted the crowd with big swooping guitar stokes during the opening, "Berth." Grateful Dead songs were abundant, including a version of "Candyman" that faded nicely into the traditional "Deep Elem Blues." By this time everyone was out of their seat, belting out the chorus as if they were auditioning for lead singer.
The set settled, as did the crowd, once Jackie Greene took quietly to the stage for a couple of solo numbers. Chris Robinson and Bob Weir would each follow with their own two-song, acoustic set. Robinson played to the audience with his greeting, "Hello, hill people." "Sunday Song" drew cheers as Robinson sang, "Hallucination nation; We got our vaccine / dancing for quarters / ain't as underground as it seems / just like water on the ground /we will find our way." Weir would keep the pace with a relatively obscure, "roadie-requested" Bobby Darin tune, "Artificial Flowers." To the joy of the audience, a slowed-down rendition of "Corrina" was followed by a singalong "Tennessee Jed."
Somber news accompanied set break, as Weir announced the passing of the Appalachian music legend and North Carolina native Doc Watson. Weir would dedicate the next song to Doc, "Deep River Blues."
The crowd left the venue abuzz. A handful of Grateful Dead songs would close the show out, seemingly giving the audience exactly what they had come for — and more.
Set list: May 29, 2012, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Wake Up Little Suzie
Ain't Broke But I'm Badly Broken
Deep Elem Blues
I Don't Live In A Dream (JG Solo)
Gone Wanderin' (JG Solo)
Do Right Woman (CR Solo)
Sunday Sound (CR Solo)
Artificial Flowers (BW Solo)
Corrina (BW Solo)
Deep River Blues (Dedicated to Doc Watson)
Goin' To Alcapulco
West L.A. Fadeaway
China Cat Sunflower >
I Know You Rider
E: U.S. Blues