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BEING THERE: Bob Weir & Wolf Bros @ The Met

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Bob Weir & Wolf Bros @ Met Philly Friday night. Photo by JOSH PELTA-HELLER

Though lift off initially felt a little wobbly, when Bob Weir and Wolf Bros finally noodled their way out of a nebulous aural haze and into a discernible set opener Friday night at Philly’s Met, the Grateful Dead founder, fronting a stripped down trio of legendary producer Don Was on upright bass and Primus alumnus Jay Lane on drums, still managed to elevate the sold-out crowd to stratospheric highs with new interpretations of some old tunes and debuting some unexpected new ones. The opener, Weir’s 80s-era jam, “Hell In A Bucket,” came off as a bit familiar, if not phoned-in. When followed by the Garcia standard “Bertha” and a rather wooden take on Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately,” it seemed as though the evening might only yield low hanging fruit from the OG psychedelic warrior’s technicolor repertoire. Things picked up with “Gonesville,” a number from Weir’s 2016 Blue Mountain, which finally delivered on the Wolf Bros’ promise of cowboys and campfire vibes. The trio brought out Philly homeboy Tom Hamilton, an alumnus of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and other satellites in the Dead’s orbit, for a rousing run through Daniel Lanois’ “The Maker,” a first for the band. In a nod to International Women’s Day, they opened the second set with Harry Belfonte’s “Man Smart, Woman Smarter” — a long time Dead setlist staple, but another first for Weir and the Wolfs — and wove it into a string of jams that included the Altamont cautionary tale, “New Speedway Boogie,” and Kesey Acid Test anthem, “The Other One,” before gently touching back down on terra firma with an elegiac “Brokedown Palace.” Noice. — HERBIE GREENE

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