The Other One
by Martin Hafer
When a new documentary about The Grateful Dead and their lead singer Bob Weir came out, I decided to see it with a friend–one who loves the Dead and could help fill in the gaps and explain things to me as we watched. I never really listened to their music, so this was a new experience — one that was surprisingly enjoyable and held my interest despite me not being a Deadhead or even a nearly Deadhead!
While there have been other documentaries about this group, this one focuses mostly on Bob Weir and his contribution to the band. Additionally, the film talks quite a bit about Weir’s best friend and mentor, Jerry Garcia. But, I should point out that if you want to learn a lot about other individual members of the band, this may not be the best film for you. This isn’t a complaint — more an observation about the scope of the film.
What you get is mostly what you expect from this film–a lot of vintage footage of the band, a lot of interviews with band members and friends as well as interviews with Weir himself. However, what I really like is the access to Weir that the film gives you. He narrates much of the film and there is a lot of interesting insights and observations about himself that make this a most revealing film–especially when he talks about his life since the Grateful Death broke up following the death of Garcia. It also, most importantly, is very interesting and their energy is infectious. I appreciated how Weir and his band mates didn’t seem to do this for the money or fame but for a drive to perform — and Weir apparently has performed more than 6000 times on stage! So, for the uninitiated like me, it’s very enjoyable and well worth seeing because of Weir and the Dead’s love of what they do.
As far as my buddy goes, he was ecstatic and thanked me for turning him on to this film. In his words “I loved the film…every minute of it.” I think that pretty much says what a fan would likely think about the film.