Last night, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros treated concert-goers at Mershon Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio, to a debut cover of Merle Haggard and The Strangers’ signature 1969 released song, “Workin’ Man Blues.” Yesterday’s run-through represented a first for this particular collective of players–prior, Weir had powered through the country tune on April 25, 2016, when he sat in as support for the John Kadlecik Band at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, Calif.
Tuesday’s cover came after the band started their show with the Memphis Jug Band classic, “Viola Lee Blues,” which ran over into the ensuing Haggard material. After finding his strive, Weir took the lead on the lyrics of “Workin’ Man Blues,” supported by the strings and horn section known as the Wolf Pack, which christened the number with illustrious jams and powerful instrumentation. Rather than formally wrap the tune, the band reprised their set opener, beckoning back to “Viola” before a full-fledged dive into “Hell in a Bucket.”
Next, the group went with the Weir-penned “Only A River” before beckoning to his Grateful Dead days on a high-powered rendition of “Brown Eyed Women.” Weir continued his march now memory lane by turning to his Ratdog catalog, leading the band through “Shes Says,” followed by “I Need a Miracle.” Before launching into the set break, the sweet and subtle “Bird Song” lyrics cascaded through the venue and met with a final reprise of “Viola Lee Blues,” only this time, they tacked on a “China Cat Sunflower” intro, making for a special musical moment.
Upon their return to the stage, Weir and company kicked off the second part of the night with Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” followed by “Two Djinn.” The band’s take on “Come Together” was blanketed in an “Elenor Rigby” theme, making for a particularly clever mashup of two favored tunes from The Beatles. Next, they paired “Eyes of The World” with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” which included an “Eyes” reprise before the arrival of “The Other One.”
Following a series of upbeat moments, the band slowed things down and focused inward on “Stella Blue” prior to returning to their honed-in ascent via “Going Down The Road Feeling Band.” For their encore, the unit of musicians went with a classic, introspective Grateful Dead cut, “Ripple.” After Tuesday’s concert, Weir & Wolf Bros will visit Philadelphia tonight for a follow-up on The Met stage. The concert is sold out. To learn more about Weir’s upcoming tour dates, visit his official website.
Scroll down to view last night’s setlist and watch a fan-shot video for the “Workin’ Man Blues” debut.
Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros
Mershon Auditorium – Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 26, 2023
Set I: Viola Lee Blues > Workin’ Man Blues > Viola Lee Blues Reprise, Hell in a Bucket, Only a River, Brown-Eyed Women, She Says, I Need a Miracle, Bird Song
Set II: Me and Bobby McGee, Two Djinn, Come Together (Elenor Rigby outro), Eyes of the World > What’s Going On > Eyes of the World Reprise, The Other One, Stella Blue, Going Down The Road Feeling Bad
+ Debut, the first time played by this unit of musicians. Last played by Weir on April 25, 2016
Setlist via Weir’s official Instagram account.