Bobby and the Midnites and The Mule Power Trio
Govt Mule and RatDogs co-headlining tour has served as a springboard for a number of interesting collaborations, but it wasnt until Friday that Bob Weir himself actually sat in with The Mule. Near the end of Fridays show at Murphys, CAs Ironstone Amphitheater, Weir and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti emerged for a take on the Grateful Deads Loser, a song Govt Mule has covered numerous times over the years. In addition, Weirs former Kingfish/Bobby and the Midnites collaborator Matt Kelly appeared with Govt Mule on a rousing rendition of 32/20 Blues and, along with RatDog guitarist Mark Karan, It Hurts Me Too. A bit later, Karan, who was also an early member of RatDog, joined his former bandmates for Walter Jacobs Juke, October Queen, The Deep End and a guest-heavy version of West L.A. Fadeaway that featured both Warren Haynes and Danny Louis.
RatDog and Govt Mule temporally split up on Saturday, while Weir and company performed at Indio, CAs Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. Meanwhile, Govt Mule offered a two-set performance at Ventura, CAs Majestic Ventura Theater, the first of which did not feature Louis, who took a rare personal set due to a previous commitment. Haynes, bassist Andy Hess and drummer Matt Abts used the occasion to offer the first power trio Mule set in years, relying on several older songs like Trane.
The two groups hooked up again last night for a joint appearance at Los Angeles The Greek Theatre. Weir jammed with Govt Mule for the second time in three days, this time on a cover of Bob Dylans All Along The Watchtower that also featured RatDog saxophonist Kenny Brooks. Though Weir stepped to the side after the classic-rock staple, Brooks remained for a take on Devil Likes It Slow. Finally, both Haynes and Louis sat in with RatDog on Bertha. RatDogs performance was also notable for the groups debut of Bonnie Dobsons Morning Dew, one of the few songs the Grateful Dead consciously played throughout its entire career.
RatDog and Govt Mule will likely collaborate once again at San Diegos Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay tomorrow. For more on RatDog, please read our recent Jambands.com Readers Interview.