The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir
Drop out of school to ride with the Merry Pranksters. Form America’s most enduring jam band. Become a family man and father. Never stop chasing the muse. Bob Weir took his own path to and through superstardom as rhythm guitarist for The Grateful Dead. Mike Fleiss re-imagines the whole wild journey in this magnetic rock doc and concert film, with memorable input from bandmates, contemporaries, followers, family, and, of course, the inimitable Bob Weir himself.
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★★★★ review by Dave on Letterboxd
I've only got one bumper sticker on my car - "Caution: Driver May Be Experiencing an Awesome China>Rider". I get waves, honks, smiles, and thumbs-up almost on a daily basis from strangers who acknowledge the sticker and want to share their love of The Grateful Dead. It's a bond that's hard to explain to anyone who doesn't get it or hasn't been a part of it for the last 40+ years.
The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir is a nice way to reminisce for an hour and a half about Jerry and the boys. There are a lot of touching moments here…Bob finding and forming a great relationship with his natural father. Jerry getting away from the crowds and the fame by scuba diving in Hawaii. Jerry's last days and the last words he every spoke to Bob…"Always a hoot". I cried, and I think most long time fans will, too.
Not a fan? Well, there's probably nothing to change your mind here…if you want to dip your feet into Dead waters you're better off trying the recently released Barton Hall '77 and jumping into to the St. Stephen>Not Fade Away>Morning Dew thing. Just be careful…your life may never be the same.
First show: 8/6/74 Roosevelt Stadium-Jersey City, NJ
Shows attended: 16 (5 in '77 and the last was MSG 9/14/90)
Favorite Jam: He's Gone>Not Fade Away>Truckin' - Englishtown 9/3/77 (I'm a Donna fan, and that NFA is absolutely primal!)
★★★½ review by Bob Hovey on Letterboxd
How much you like this film will probably depend a lot on how much you like The Dead, but even if you're not a fan there's still a lot of interesting history here. Weir stood about as close to the birth of the counterculture as anyone ... he was Neal Cassady's roommate, he played in a group that got its start as the "house band" for Ken Kesey's Acid Tests, and as The Dead got more popular they came to be known as one of the signature bands of the sixties and seventies, attracting a devoted but laid-back group of followers that are probably unique in the world of popular music. Weir seems like a quiet and thoughtful person, coming across as very likable and rather contrary to what one might expect of a rock musician. The film focuses on him and his music, but it's also a wonderful homage to an entire era and to a band that tried to preserve and promote the values of peace and love through their music. Long live the Grateful Dead.
★★★★ review by Filmusicinemike on Letterboxd
Great documentary. Although my tastes specifically connect to that of a hippy (besides all of the hardcore drugs), I really don’t like that crowd. Bob Weir really brought some comfort to me as he spent a small portion talking about how some of their “fans” were really just there as an excuse to get trashed.
I’m seeing Dead and Company tonight as my first ever concert and I am quite excited. Bobby is such a well spoken man, I can’t wait to see him perform tonight.
★★★½ review by Swartacus on Letterboxd
★★★½ review by onemarathon on Letterboxd
Never been a fan of the Dead, and I've only ever heard a handful of their songs, most of them from that '87 album that put the band on the charts.
Yet, I still thought it was a blast watching this relatively informative documentary, which lacked objective details but boasted a fun 60's-70's sort of vibe. This was my first real exposure to a bigger chunk of their large body of work and I must admit I enjoyed a lot of it. The folky rock was more heartfelt and adventurous than I expected.... I always assumed The Grateful Dead were overrated strummers who were high all the time. And there's more to them than that overplayed tune Truckin'.
Lots of old footage weaves the story of Weir and his friendship with Jerry Garcia, and how the Dead were born. As gifted as Garcia was (and I will admit that now that I've seen him tearing the hell out of an acoustic guitar), Weir was the younger fellah whose job it was to provide solid yet evocative rhythms... to tie everything together. And he became a strong songwriter and vocalist in his own right.
Even if you never liked or cared about the Grateful Dead, I recommend The Other One. It's a nicely packaged doc that speaks to the non-disciple, and I suppose the Deadhead, too. Lots of music to enjoy and some insight into one of the key players in the band. And a far out trip through the history of the Dead.
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