Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Ahh…The Name Is Bobby, Baby!

From the quicksand that is Grateful Seconds–seriously: you get sucked in and don’t emerge for hours–comes this left-fielder. Our own Bobert Herbert Walker Weir doing some stringer duty for the Nashville Tennessean as a concert reviewer back in ’78. The Dead had played Municipal Auditorium the night before (4/22/78) to a half-full room, and were off for the evening before another show in Normal, IL, on the 24th. It appears that the troupe stayed in Nashville on the 23rd, which is understandable, and Bobby picked up some side work.

Those are the facts, Enthusiasts. This is what we know. What is left are questions, and I don’t know how many. This is an NP problem, like the Travelling Salesman’s route: we will not know how long it will take us until we are finished. Let us begin.

  1. Did Bobby do this shit all the time?
  2. Are there local newspaper archives all around the country with Bobby’s byline hiding within?
  3. Did he ever review anything other than concerts?
  4. Movies?
  5. Restaurants?
  6. Did Bobby secretly have a Dave Barry-style humor column poking gentle fun at family life?
  7. How much of the show did Bobby actually watch? (If you read closely, there’s nothing in the review that couldn’t be gleaned by someone hanging out backstage.)
  8. Was there an actual typewriter involved?
  9. Or did Bobby call the copy desk from a pay phone and dictate the review from a spiral notebook?
  10. If so, was he wearing a fedora with a press pass stuck in the brim?
  11. For how long afterwards did Bobby make everyone call him Scoop?
  12. Is there a more Grateful Dead act than a member of the Grateful fucking Dead complaining that an act is too loud?
  13. Who went with?
  14. If Billy, was there a problem?
  15. Such as telling the joke about the kids jumping on the bed, and how to stop them?
  16. When the balloons dropped, did Bobby go, “Oooh.”
  17. What was Bobby’s reaction to the fog machine?
  18. Did he think there was a fire?
  19. Was there payment for this?
  20. Seriously: why the fuck did this happen?
  21. WAIT.
  22. Was the concert reviewer from the Nashville Tennessean a lanky, brunette fox that Bobby went to the show on a date with, and then she got him to do this?
  23. Was it a dare?
  24. Boredom?


  1. Pithy solos? What actually makes a solo pithy, and would he have ever described Jerry as a pithy soloer?

  2. I would surmise that a common interest in cocaine fueled this fine slab of rock criticism. Way better than Christgau though Weir was beginning to show his age by bemoaning the volume. I want to know if Bootsy was using the Wall of Sound. I love that Ray Parker’s early group Raydio was an opener.

    A live clip from 1976 for some context. The 78 clips weren’t as good:

    Bobby mentioned Bootsy playing with James Brown, so why not watch some of that. With brother Phelps “Catfish” Collins on guitar. From 71 in Italy:

  3. “…yet there was no trouble, perhaps in contrast to other recent shows…”

    It WAS an open letter!

  4. LivinInAmerica!

    March 23, 2018 at 8:44 am

    What’s the deal with the second drummer. He just sits there holding his sticks. And no beam? Was he being punished?

  5. Mean, Green, Devil Eating Machine

    March 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    The second drummer, who is just seemingly sitting there, is rocking it for the seat dancers.

  6. Mean, Green, Devil Eating Machine

    March 23, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    The clip that was posted is from 04-24-71. Here is another clip from that Italy ’71 tour, Bologna, this time: James Brown – Bologna, Italy – BOOTSY COLLINS – April, 1971 – Complete Broadcast

  7. I did see Furthur up in Maine July 4, 2010 and George Clinton played first, but I dont think Bootsy was there (or not). My cool hip wife does listen to I’d Rather Be With You-hoo

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