Dead & Company Closes Out Playing In The Sand
Following the trend of bringing both band and their fans to a warm-weather destination for a weekend of music and more, Dead & Company closed out their first ever destination event – Playing In The Sand – on Sunday night in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The six-piece band, who were playing their first shows since having to cut their fall tour short due to guitarist John Mayer needing an emergency appendectomy, delivered three headlining shows over the course of four nights on the beach.
Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann along with Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti and John Mayer got their penultimate set of the event underway with the Sunday staple “Samson & Delilah.” This take on the song based on a biblical tale didn’t quite have the fire and brimstone that fans might have been used to as they eased into it at a much slower pace with Bobby delivering the lyrics a bit more deliberately. After flubbing the opening line to “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo,” Weir recovered admirably as the band served up a gorgeous 11-plus minute take on the Wake Of The Flood gem as it floated into “They Love Each Other.” The track, which originally appeared on Jerry Garcia’s solo debut, gave Mayer and Chimenti their first chances of the evening to play off each other with both laying down impressive solos throughout.
D&C took their time to work through “Greatest Story Ever Told” as Bobby once again took the gas off the pedal to slow down the Robert Hunter-penned tune. Bassist Oteil Burbridge got his second turn of the weekend to sing lead, this time with a tender take on the Shakedown Street deep cut ballad “If I Had The World To Give.” “Ramble On Rose” was turned into a big sing-along with an almost 20-minute take on “Bird Song” bringing the first frame to an end.
Dead & Company kicked off their final set of Playing In The Sand with “St. Stephen” as they dug in on the psychedelic-era classic which picked up steam around its midway point with Mayer leading the way as he threw down one fiery guitar solo after another. The old-school favorite segued straight into a stand-alone take on “Franklin’s Tower” that kept the high-energy start going. The seamless stanza rolled on with a rollicking version of “U.S. Blues” that featured some impressive slide guitar work. “Terrapin Station” was tapped next as the band played the first two sections of the suite before diving head-first into the “Drums” > “Space” portion of the evening. The rumbles of “The Other One” emerged from free-form excursion as the Dead & Company methodically worked their way into the tune, giving it a number of acid-drenched flourishes. “Morning Dew” occupied the ballad slot as Bobby dutifully handled the Bonnie Dobson post-apocalyptic song, with Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” bringing things to a close.
The band returned to finish things off with a two-song encore. Up first was “Brokedown Palace.” Then, D&C ended the entire event with a “Playing In The Band Reprise” three days after the action started with “Playing In The Band.” Now, the group heads to the Southeast to make up the three shows that were postponed due to Mayer’s surgery.
Watch pro-shot video of the opener from each set and check out the full setlist below:
Set I: Samson & Delilah, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo > They Love Each Other, Greatest Story Ever Told, If I Had The World To Give > Ramble On Rose, Birdsong
Set II: St. Stephen > Franklin’s Tower > U.S. Blues > Lady With A Fan > Terrapin Station > Drums > Space > The Other One, Morning Dew > Not Fade Away
Encore: Brokedown Palace > Playing In The Band (Reprise)