Grateful Dead’s Bobby Weir Over the Decades, as Seen Through the Eyes of Photographer Bob Minkin

As Senior Photographer for Relix magazine from the 1970s to 1990s, and later, Chief Package Designer for Grateful Dead Productions, I’ve enjoyed unique access to the Grateful Dead world and insights into the music scene we love.

After my last book, Just Jerry, I wanted to show some love to Bobby (Bob Weir) and was kicking around ideas for a new project — Just Bobby seemed a natural follow up.

The first time I photographed Weir was at the Capitol Theatre on December 5, 1975 when he was fronting Kingfish. Fast forward to this past October and his 75th birthday shows at The Warfield — that’s over 45 years of Weir! Over that time I’ve grown close to Bobby, shot family portraits at his home, and many other intimate moments. Some of my favorites have been in the green room with him while he’s working out material before the show. I often feel like a fly on the wall capturing these precious scenes. 

I pored through every photograph of Bobby I ever took to find the most special shots to include in this collection. Just Bobby has 192 pages full of Weir onstage and offstage with the Grateful Dead, Ratdog, Further, Wolf Brothers, Dead & Company and many other lineups. Additionally there are essays and stories to accompany the photographs from people and musicians who were close to Bob or who were influenced by him. These indelible images capture peak moments from concerts at venues such as Red Rocks, Winterland, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Capitol Theater, Shoreline, Oakland, and even Europe, along with Sweetwater Music Hall, Terrapin Crossroads and Bob’s TRI Studios. I’ve included many previously unseen and unpublished images from my archives.

Grab a copy of Just Bobby here.

Sweetwater Music Hall, Bobby and Natascha

Bob & Natascha Weir

Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley

12.15.13

On the way home from Neil Schon’s wedding, Bobby and his wife Natascha stopped by Sweetwater. By a lucky coincidence Jerry Garcia’s iconic “Wolf” guitar was in the house and Bobby was reacquainted with Jerry’s old guitar.

Bobby Giving Gratitude

Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael

10.7.16

Taken during The Campfire Tour where Bobby was backed by members of The National in support of his solo album Blue Mountain.

Benefit Concert

Bob Weir & Les Claypool

142 Throckmorton, Mill Valley

12.6.12

Bobby has given his time to play countless benefit concerts. This event benefited the children of the Peruvian orphanage, Casa de Milagros and the Haitian Relief Organization. Taken backstage in the green room as Bobby was warming up. These are moments I live for to be allowed in the “inner sanctum” and document those private moments.

Move Me Brightly

TRI Studios, San Rafael

8.3.12

Bobby Weir and a rotating lineup of musicians that included Phil Lesh, Neal Casal, Jeff Chimenti, Donna Jean Godchaux and Joe Russo performed a five-hour concert called “Move Me Brightly: Celebrating Jerry Garcia’s 70th Birthday”. Tamalpais Research Institute (TRI) is a state of the art multimedia performance studio conceived by Bobby Weir. I was a house photographer at TRI and it was a privilege to capture these events. I loved photographing at TRI because the studio was so intimate and the lighting was fantastic.

Just Bobby

Mill Valley

7.19.00

This was for a magazine cover shoot. I drove up to Weir’s place in the hills of Mill Valley. We took some photos in his garden and then he suggested we walk to the end of his street where the light on the oaks was beautiful. He took his young daughter on his shoulders and I carried George Benson Ibanez and we picked blackberries on the walk. The best thing was that he played the guitar the whole time during the session.

Dead & Company, Chase Center

Dead and Company Chase Center San Francisco 12/30/19 December 30, 2019 Photo Credit: Bob Minkin/Mediapunch

Chase Center, San Francisco

12.30.19

John Mayer’s discovery of the Grateful Dead happened by chance. In 2011, while listening to random suggestions on Pandora, he heard the Dead song “Althea,” and with that he began a deep-dive into the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog and he became a committed “Deadhead.”

In 2015, while appearing as a guest host on The Late Late Show, Mayer had the opportunity to perform with Bob Weir. The song they played together was Althea. A bond was formed between them, and by the end of that year, Mayer was invited to join Dead & Company. Dead & Company has announced they will do a final tour in 2023.

Sweetwater Music Hall

Sweetwater Music Hall 10/7/17 @Sara Siana Wasserman @Music Heals International

Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley

10.7.17

Bobby again, giving gratitude at a benefit for Music Heals International which supports music programs for kids in Haiti.