When the Dead's guitarist Bob Weir canceled tour dates last year, citing "exhaustion" as the reason, fans of both his old band and his current group, Ratdog, were concerned, especially since "exhaustion" can sometimes be slang for overdoing it on the rock-related partying. It would be great to report that Weir's back and better than ever, but that's simply not the case: Reports from the beginning of this tour have Bobby stepping to the side and letting his band do the work; at a recent show in San Diego, he didn't even play with the band for their second set.
That being said, longtime Dead fans will be happy to know that Ratdog is resurrecting such classics as "Shakedown Street" and "Truckin," on a regular basis, and -- in a year without a Dead tour on the books -- that's plenty of reason to haul out to a show. Weir just rereleased Ace, really a 1969 Dead recording that includes the classic "Mexicali" -- for Deadheads, the CD's release is monumental. Those fans who turn up at the House of Blues Tuesday can't be blamed if they're hungry for a hint of nostalgia -- and a chance to see Bob Weir play, even if it's just a few tasty licks.