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Bob Weir surprises crowd at film festival with Beatles cover performance

by Katie Hickox

For the first time, Bob Weir played his own unique version of the Beatles song "Dear Prudence" after the west coast premiere screening of a new film about him at the San Francisco International Film Festival, "The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir," last Thursday evening at the Sundance Kabuki Cinema in San Francisco.

The 90 minute film captures the instrumental role that Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir played in the development of the band and the music. Bob originally played rhythm guitar alongside Jerry Garcia but this film shows there was much more for Bob than than just being part of a 60s band which started out to create music for parties in 1965 known as "Acid Test" parties, which were part of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters. Weir talks about how he became one of the pranksters when he hopped aboard their bus to see what it was all about and explore taking acid which he reveals he took every week during that time.

Bob Weir on stage at the San Francisco International Film Festival

The documentary reveals for the first time when and where Bob met Jerry for the first time, how their friendship evolved and grew into a partnership, how the band developed into Bob's true spiritual family, and then how the audience became an extension of that family over the thousands of concerts performed by Bob alongside other Grateful Dead band members from the mid-60s into one of the most popular bands with hit singles into the 80s and early 90s.

Weir surprised and treated the packed house to over an hour of solo acoustical guitar with Weir singing his new songs along with a few Grateful Dead classics such as "The Other" and many others. The San Francisco International Film Festival 2014 film guide did not list that Weir was going to be in attendance or that he would be playing for over an hour.

Weir performed one of the best cover versions of "Dear Prudence" I have ever heard. The song lasted well over 6 or 7 minutes in length as Weir transformed the song into his own unique style with incredible guitar work reminiscent of classic Grateful Dead songs like "Sugar Magnolia."

The San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. Held each spring for two weeks, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in the country's most beautiful city, featuring some 150 films and live events with more than 100 filmmakers in attendance and nearly two dozen awards presented for cinematic excellence. The Festival attracts an annual audience of more than 70,000.

To learn more about Weir's guitar style, how he developed it and to get a glimpse of the more than 100 guitars he owns, be sure to watch this epic documentary when it gets released to theaters and check out the trailer here.

Published May 5, 2014

This article is Copyright © 2014, Katie Hickox, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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