Ratdog Performs Without Its Owner

The Pearl at Palms, July 5


Photo by Erik Kabik

After a small delay, it was announced that Bob Weir was under the weather and was advised not to perform, but the Ratdog band would still go on. You could hear the air go out of the venue. The box office offered refunds, but most of the crowd stuck around to check out what Ratdog would do without Weir.

The band mostly stuck to Grateful Dead material, typical of a Weir and Ratdog show minus some solo Weir material. Without Weir’s signature rhythm guitar and unique vocal stylings (drummer Jay Lane sang), it seemed like the night was doomed. Lane was obviously unfamiliar with singing the vocals. The band’s choppy and slowed-down versions of the first few tunes were not promising. Nonetheless, only a few fans peeled off.

For those who did stay, the rest of the night ended up being a treat. By the end of the fourth song (“Loser”), something clicked, and the music started to flow. With Steve Kimock on lap steel, Ratdog played an inspired and haunting instrumental “Stella Blue,” followed by an upbeat and fun version of “Not Fade Away” that had the audience singing and clapping along. Kimocks’ leads were loud and crisp and beautifully executed, and it seemed as if he stepped up his solos in Weir’s absence. Lane continued to have some vocal missteps, but he did an amazing job for jumping in last minute. After a drum solo that led into a rocking “The Music Never Stopped,” Ratdog played a standing ovation-worthy cover of the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence,” although most of the audience was already standing and dancing. Toward the end of a two-hour-plus performance, Lane sang out, “Bob Weir has a huge heart.” And the band and fans continued on, united in their love of Weir. ★★★✩✩

U.S. Blues
Hey Pocky Way
Big Boss Man
I Need a Miracle
Stella Blue (instrumental)
Not Fade Away
The Music Never Stopped
Dear Prudence
Shakedown Street
Ramble on Rose
Minglewood Blues

Photos by Erik Kabik