46 Years Later: Dead & Company Celebrate Cornell ’77 At Barton Hall

Bob Weir and Mickey Hart were back at the same venue where they played with the Grateful Dead exactly 46 years later.

By Andy Kahn May 9, 2023 8:35 am PDT

On Monday night, guitarist Bob Weir and drummer Mickey Hart were onstage at Barton Hall on the campus of Cornell University to perform with Dead & Company 46 years to the day the pair played the same spot in Ithaca, New York in 1977. The mythology surrounding the Grateful Dead’s Cornell ‘77 show has evolved to legendary proportions a book could be written about it – in fact, a book was written about it.

Monday’s Dead & Company concert, which was a benefit for MusiCares and the Cornell 2030 Project, came with its own intrigue and added intensity before the band even took the stage. Make no mistake, Dead & Company is not the Grateful Dead, which ended in 1995 after the death of co-founding guitarist Jerry Garcia. Nonetheless, Monday’s concert at Barton Hall – featuring two members of the Grateful Dead – was a celebration of that band’s enduring legacy, while at the same time, the band that took the stage last night writes a new, and final chapter as it relates to theirs.

Weir and Hart were the only musicians onstage at Barton Hall who were also there in ‘77 as their Dead bandmate, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, recently announced his decision to not participate in the band’s Final Tour. Citing a mutual “shift in creative direction,” Kreutzmann was said to fully endorse the band’s decision to continue without him. Monday’s concert saw drummer Jay Lane join Hart on a second drum kit, just as he had several times before filling in for Kreutzmann, including last weekend at Jazz Fest.

The first set began with “New Minglewood Blues,” the same song the Grateful Dead played to open their Cornell ‘77 show. Dead & Company did not go on to recreate the rest of the setlist from 46 years ago, though a total of seven songs would overlap both setlists.

Set One Preview

Dead & Co. then opted to let guitarist John Mayer take the spotlight with a passionate performance of “Althea,” which like the opener featured Weir’s slide guitar playing. A rare first set appearance of “Estimated Prophet” into “Eyes Of The World” ushered in spirited interplay. “Eyes” was highlighted by both Jeff Chimenti’s excellent piano solo and bassist Oteil Burbridge scatting over his own impressive solo.

Weir and Mayer volleyed through “Jack Straw” and then led their cohorts through “Bertha.” Weir’s staple “Cassidy” paired with a rollicking “Deal” to fill out the remainder of the first set.

The second set was one heavy hitter after another, an all-star team of second-set songs strung together almost entirely seamlessly from start to finish. Up first was “China Cat Sunflower” into “I Know You Rider” to start the second set. The favored transitional sequence between the two songs was a playground for Mayer and Chimenti to exchange ideas with Weir adding his auxiliary interjections.

Set Two Preview

The celebrated trio “Help On The Way” into “Slipknot!” into “Franklin’s Tower” was then presented to the audience at Barton Hall, Lane showing off his ability to steer the band through the various transitions connecting the intricate pieces. There was an elongated sequence stretching between “Help” and “Slip” with Mayer taking a commanding role in the jam.

Hart, Lane and Burbridge were then given the stage for “Drums.” The three pounded away at the vast array of drums at their disposals, triggering one rhythmic pattern after another. Hart concluded the “Drums” segment alone onstage with his drone instrument The Beam and an ample catalog of sonics that created an ambient blanket of sound. Hart’s otherworldly drone set up his exit and the return of Weir, Mayer, Chimenti and Burbridge to explore a free-form “Space” improvisation.

“Scarlet Begonias” emerged from “Space” and would find its way to its frequent companion “Fire On The Mountain.” The Cornell ‘77 “Scarlet/Fire” is among the most revered versions of the classic coupling performed by the Grateful Dead, and fittingly, the D&C performance of the two songs on Monday night featured some of the evening’s most expressive and compelling improvisation within the transition from one to the other.

Monday’s second set concluded in the same fashion as the Dead back in ‘77, closing with the ever-poignant “Morning Dew.” Dead & Company selected “Terrapin Station” for the encore, blasting past the venue’s curfew to deliver the multifaceted suite finale.

Dead & Company’s Final Tour continues on May 19 at The Forum in Los Angeles. Stream an audience recording taped by Eric Lugassy of Dead & Co. at Barton Hall below:

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Barton Hall [See upcoming shows]

The Music

8 songs

9 songs

17 songs
14 originals / 3 covers


3.47 [Gap chart]



New Minglewood Blues LTP 06/29/2022 (13 Show Gap)

The Grateful Dead - 1, Aoxomoxoa - 1, Wake of the Flood - 1, From the Mars Hotel - 1, Blues for Allah - 3, Terrapin Station - 2, Shakedown Street - 2, Go To Heaven - 1, Built to Last - 1

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