The Grateful Dead and Van Halen seem to occupy two completely different ends of the rock and roll spectrum. One act were jam band gods, almost single-handedly preserving the hippie lifestyle for decades to come. The other were a lean, mean, hard rock machine who set the template for all hair metal bands who followed. Why would former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar and former Dead guitarist Bob Weir ever be in the same room together, much less share a stage?
Well, as it turns out, the two have at least a slight connection with each other. Back in 2016, Weir appeared on Hagar’s AXS TV show Rock and Roll Road Trip. Hagar is willing to hang out with just about anyone who wants to make an appearance on the show, and one of the best episodes of all time revolves around the unlikely trio of Hagar, cook Guy Fieri, and Tool singer Maynard James Keenan. Based on that group, the pairing of Hagar and Weir doesn’t seem so ridiculous in comparison.
Hagar is currently on tour with his backing band The Circle, which also includes former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, BusBoys guitarist Vic Johnson, and former UFO drummer Jason Bonham, best known for reinterpreting the work of his father John in various Led Zeppelin-centred tours. The shows usually consist mostly of Hagar’s solo tunes, Van Halen songs, and the occasional Led Zeppelin number as well. During his show on Tuesday, March 8th in Nashville, Tennessee, Hagar welcomed Weir onto the stage for some classic rock staples.
First off was Buddy Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’, which any Deadhead will no doubt see as an all-time concert closer for the Dead. But then the group took on a song that doesn’t quite seem in Weir’s wheelhouse: Led Zeppelin’s hard rock magnum opus ‘Rock and Roll’. Not that Weir has any kind of aversion to old-school rock (just look at ‘One More Saturday Night’ or his various Chuck Berry covers), but he doesn’t exactly rock out in the ways that Hagar and the Van Halen boys used to.
That didn’t stop him from strapping on a guitar, finding the song’s only three chords, and letting a solid rhythm part fly while Hagar stomped around the stage. Pulling off his best Robert Plant, Hagar still has some mighty pipes at 74. Fun fact: Hagar and Weir are actually the same age, and have birthdays only three days apart, with Hagar actually being the slightly older one of the two. It’s a bizarre partnership, but both Hagar and Weir have had plenty of odd experiences in their lives, so this one can’t be too out there.
Check out Bob Weir joining Sammy Hagar and the Circle for ‘Rock and Roll’ down below.