Bob Weir - rhythm guitar, vocals; Bobby Cochran - lead guitar, vocals; Dave Garland - keyboards, saxophone, vocals; Alphonso Johnson - bass, vocals; Billy Cobham - drums, vocals
Opening with a funky and fun version of the Coasters classic, "Youngblood" (also a hit for Leon Russell and Bad Company), Bobby & The Midnites give a memorable performance from New Jersey's Capitol Theater, one of several shows recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour.
"Bombs Away," "Salt Lake City," "Heaven Help The Fool," "Josephine," and "Too Many Losers," all sung by Weir, shine, as does the opening jam song, "Bahama Mama" written by bassist Johnson. Billy Cobham, who was coming off of several successful years as a solo artist, is featured in a seven-minute drum solo. The band does a rockin' remake of the Chuck Berry classic "Around and Around" before finally ending with "Too Many Losers."
Bobby & The Midnites was one of a few solo band projects that Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir kept going throughout nearly all of the 1980s. The original version featured Weir, guitarist Bobby Cochran, harmonica player Matt Kelly (who created Kingfish, a band Weir had played in during the '70s), Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland, bassist Tim Bogart (who had been in Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, and Beck Bogart & Appice), and Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer, Billy Cobham.
By the time this 1982 recording was made for the King Biscuit Flower Hour at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey, Kelly, Mydland, and Bogart had left and were replaced by keyboardist/saxophonist Dave Garland and jazz bassist Alphonso Johnson. The group had signed with Arista Records, and its debut album, simply entitled Bobby & The Midnites, immediately charted upon its release in November, 1981.
Most of the material here is from the debut album and was written or co-written by Weir. The best of all the vocalists in the Grateful Dead, Weir contributed some of that band's most radio-friendly material. The same was true for Bobby & The Midnites, which appeared to be an attempt to take the success of the Dead and cross it over to a much wider commercial audience.
The fact that the Dead members all had solo project outlets is one of the reasons why the band endured for so long. This classic performance by Bobby & The Midnites is proof positive that Bob Weir clearly had a career outside of his day job. But, once the initial blast of touring and recognition were over, the band members would all return to their other, more established careers and bands, causing Bobby & The Midnites to go kaput.