Dead & Company is the comeback of the Grateful Dead founding members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann joined by singer John Mayer, former Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge and The Dead keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. With the loss of Jerry Garcia in 1995, there could never be a true Grateful Dead show again but Dead & Co is something close enough to resurrect their old jams.
The Dead shows are like big family reunions since the band is known for having fans that travel all over the country to see them. The world’s tallest dead-head, basketball legend Bill Walton, was in attendance, not only for New Year’s Eve but on both nights closing of their tour at The Forum in Los Angeles.
The band opened the first set with “New Minglewood Blues” on Dec. 30. Fan favorites “Bertha” and “Bird Song” were some of the hits that warmed up the audience before an intermission. Dead & Co returned for the second set with Weir’s “Playing In The Band.” The last song before the encore was Bobby Blue Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light” with “Friend Of The Devil” closing the night.
“Drums” and “Space” were part of the set each night. “Drums” was Hart and Kreutzmann’s moment to show off their percussion skills with two giant drum sets on stage and Burbridge jumping on Kreutzmann’s kit during the solo for the awe of all dead-heads.
Mayer was a great fit and remained true to his sound rather than trying to sound like Garcia. As for the original three members, they haven’t changed a bit and still sound like the way they did for the 30 years they were together as the Grateful Dead. With Phil Lesh not present on the tour, Burbridge was a perfect fit to take his place. Chimenti fits right in since he’s played with each formation after the Grateful Dead ended.
As of now there are no further shows announced, but considering that a show held this past summer was meant to be the last ever Grateful Dead concert (in honor of what would have been Garcia’s 70th birthday), there’s still hope that Dead fans will be surprised with future tour dates.
Text by Alex Kluft
Photos by Paula Tripodi
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