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Bob Weir - “Ace (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)” Album Review

Story posted January 17, 2023 in Arts & Entertainment by McKenna Wall.

50 years after “Ace,” Bob Weir has decided to release a deluxe edition of his debut solo album.

Weir was foundational in establishing The Grateful Dead in 1965. Once the band broke up in 1995, he never stopped playing his music.

This album is the horns section and Weir having a conversation, and the result is magical. It is no surprise to Grateful Dead fans that Weir is a master storyteller, and this edition of “Ace” is a reflection of his best tales.

The American rock artist split this album into two parts. The first half contains eight 2022 remastered songs. The second half has live, unique versions of the same eight songs, plus an introduction to “Mexicali Blues.”

The live songs on the album were recorded at the Radio City Music Hall concert on April 3, 2022. Tyler Childers and Brittney Spencer appear on these tracks with Weir’s band, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros.

No surprises here: a consistent theme in the tracks are epic guitar solos. “Playing in the Band - 2022 Remaster” and “Looks Like Rain - 2022 Remaster” have lovely guitar breakdowns. The riffs balance on the lively drum rolls and, in other sections, the delicate crying of the piano.

Weir’s vocals are impressively strong, with an authentic rasp. However, the instrumental elements of this album took full control.

The keys, drums and guitar all play a significant role in this nearly two-hour listening experience, but the horns stole the show.

The back and forth of Weir and the instruments having their special moments make the entire album feel like a live concert, not just the Radio City Music Hall tracks.

While a few songs are especially lengthy, Weir keeps the energy up. “One More Saturday Night - Live at Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY 4/3/22” is a good ol’ rock and roll song.

The keys dominate the first half of the song with a jazzy, quick tempo. This is worth listening to for anyone that wants to feel ready to face the world. Whether in the car, on a walk or lying in bed, this song will get fans pumped.

“Mexicali Blues - 2022 Remaster” is another mesmerizing tune to get people on their feet. It has an old-school jive feel, reminiscent of a song that belongs on a jukebox. This lighthearted beat is great for buoyant dancing or the simple tap of a foot.

Weir was not alone in his effort to perform groovy tunes. Tyler Childers is a country singer with incredible live recordings in his own discography, so it was no surprise that his live performance at Radio City Music Hall was spectacular.

“Greatest Story Ever Told (feat. Tyler Childers) - Live at Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY 4/3/22” oozes a cool, classic style.

The song starts with a guitar riff, then the drum roll crashes down, and horns chime in; thus, beginning the best song on the album.

Childers’ voice was made for this song. He sings it deeply, matching the excellence of the instrumental accompaniment. The audience in New York liked it too, according to the loud applause heard at the end of the track.

Another feature worth mentioning is Brittney Spencer. She has vocals in “Walk in the Sunshine (feat. Brittney Spencer) - Live at Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY 4/3/22” and “Looks Like Rain (feat. Brittney Spencer) - Live at Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY 4/3/22.”

Weir did not disappoint in his 2022 remastered songs, and based on the Radio City Music Hall tracks, his band certainly knows how to put on a concert.

Playing in the band will continue for Weir as Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros hits the road for a 2023 tour, kicking off on Feb. 2.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Playing in the Band - 2022 Remaster,” “Looks Like Rain - 2022 Remaster” and “Greatest Story Ever Told (feat. Tyler Childers) - Live at Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY 4/3/22”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: “Cassidy - 2022 Remaster”

McKenna Wall is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email mew6140@psu.edu.