Packed to the brim, Deadheads and Weir-dos conjugated together to groove at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles Thursday, October 18th. Bob Weir and his pack of Wolf Bros band were promised to perform, with a possible surprise guest in tow. The Theatre, a silent movie theater crafted by visionary actor of the silver screen Charlie Chaplin back in the age of golden cinema, has since turned music hall, with regal décor and welcoming arched entryways. Elaborate murals stretch across the ceiling of the cathedral common hall, a place where the bar now resides. Lines to get in overflowed down both sides of the sidewalk in either direction, a sold out show.
Song after song the audience sang, with such unified essence as if back at Woodstock.
Once inside, stangers were getting acquanted based off of their Grateful Dead merchandise on their heads or their backs. Some T-shirts boasted tour dates back in the 70's. The lights dimmed to Weir taking the stage alongside a stand-up bassist and a drummer at the helm of a fuzzy drum kit. Every song prompted the audience to sing along from their seats and it wasn't long before fans lined the walkways and freaked in the front corners of the room, enjoying the musical high. Or other highs. Mellow, controlled, Weir went from solo stuff into classic Dead anthems with shouts of "happy late birthday, Bobby" in between. Bob Weir cordially thanked the belated wishes, being that his birthday was, in fact, the day before.
Intermission separated the show into two sample sizes: the first being too short for most, leaving the second with nervous, yet zenful energy. Another mic was subtly set up during the break. Who was coming out? Will it be John Mayer – a Dead bredren? Lo and behold, a few songs into the second set had Weir saying, "I want to welcome a good friend of mine to the stage, Mr. Perry Farrell." The crowd erupted into cheers as the Jane's Addiction frontman waved and smiled his way to the second microphone stand. A Dead duet later, Farrell apologized for jumping the gun on a verse, laughing away his error since Weir had already warned him to just keep singing if he stumbled. "I just kept going, that's what I was supposd to do!" That said, Farrell took the lead on the next one: Weir's and Farrell's own jazzy version of Tom Petty's "Breakdown". After a solid tribute performance to the late rock legend, Farrell exited the stage for the evening as Weir bounced back into his set. Song after song the audience sang, with such unified essence as if back at Woodstock. Generational gaps were bridged in the dark, as young and old alike honored every last minute of the once-in-a-lifetime, intimate experience they shared together with Bobby Weir that night in LA.
Photography by Kristy Rose