Fresh from a collaboration with Phish's Trey Anastasio, members of the National have announced a project with another towering figure of jam rock, the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir. Anchored by the National's Scott and Bryan Devendorf, and fronted by Weir, the all-star group will perform a special one-off concert under the name the Bridge Session on March 24th. The show will go down at Weir's TRI Studios in San Rafael, California which means that only around 50 fans will be in attendance – but the show will be webcast live, for free, to anyone with an Internet connection.
"They're a good, young band and this is going to be fun," Weir told Rolling Stone, en route to the Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico where he is vacationing.
Fans can expect a selection of National tunes, Grateful Dead classics and politically-minded cover songs. The Bridge Session's title reflects the event's aim to "bridge the gaps" between people of different ideological standpoints while also nodding to geography – TRI Studios is located just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, while the National live a stone's throw from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Between sets, Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow will anchor a roundtable discussion, alongside Weir, discussing unifying issues such as First Amendment rights and Occupy hot topics like getting the money out of politics. Home viewers will be able to interact directly through social media and submit questions to the panelists, in real time, via Twitter. Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein will act as the evening's MC.
Weir recently built TRI Studios – which stands for Tamalpais Research Institute – precisely to host events such as this. The state-of-the-art performance space broadcasts live HD video and audio streams to a variety of end user equipment including mobile devices, game consoles, tablets, computers and Internet equipped HDTV. The research facility is currently exploring ways to support interactivity among an audience of fans the wide world over by way of real-time social media.
The Bridge Session is being produced by HeadCount, a non-profit voter-registration organization that has found ways to promote discussion of the democratic process at live music events and has encouraged political involvement among music fans. Weir serves on the Board of Directors.
While anybody and everybody will be able to watch the Bridge Session from their iPads or MacBooks or whatever, if you want to be an actual part of the studio audience, HeadCount is giving away two tickets through an online contest. Visit HeadCount's official website for details.