Weir, Lesh Lead Benefit Concert at Sweetwater

Grateful Dead founding members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh team up with Stu Allen & Mars Hotel to play a benefit concert for Tommy Oliver, a mutual friend to the performers.


The  opens its doors tonight to reveal a world akin to a Deadhead heaven.

Grateful Dead founding members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh are set to be joined by Grateful Dead cover band Stu Allen & Mars Hotel for what organizers promise will be a thrilling night of music from the Dead catalog.

The concert is a benefit for San Anselmo auto mechanic Tommy Oliver, who met event organizer John "Stewball" Stewart in 1987 when he joined John's flag football team, the Tamalpais Chiefs, in the Mill Valley Flag Football League. One of their teammates was Weir, and the group quickly became close friends.

"We were all Deadheads going to shows and stuff, Tommy became a big part of our team and we are all good friends," said Stewart.

Stewart has lived in Marin since 1983 and first met Weir in 1986. They became fast friends, as Stewart was enamored with the music of the Dead and Weir was eager to pick the brain of Stewart, a former college quarterback, about football.

The purpose of the benefit concert is to raise funds to support Oliver and his family financially, Stewart said. According to the Marin Independent Journal, Oliver was diagnosed in March with metastasized cancer in his brain and torso. 

"The objective is to raise financial support for Tom and his family, just generating love and support for our good friends," said Stewart, a guitarist who will be performing on-stage with the gang.

"We've sold out the Sweetwater nearly every time we've played," he added. 

The doors open at 7 p.m. and the event starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $375.

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