Dead & Company Delivers Debut At The Gorge
After wrapping up the first leg of their 26-date summer tour with a pair of shows last weekend in at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre, Dead & Company took a five-day break from the road as they headed west. On Friday night the six-piece band began their West Coast swing with a gig at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. The band continued to make good on the promise of including new material for this tour as they offered up yet another live debut last night.
Dead & Company got their night going in the Pacific Northwest with one of the longest-titled songs in the Grateful Dead songbook “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo.” Bob Weir belted out the Americana-tinged tune from Wake Of The Flood as John Mayer helped hit the high the notes. Mayer took charge next as they barrelled full steam ahead into “Bertha.” The band stayed in the Dead’s mid-70s output next with “Tennessee Jed.” The biggest surprise of the night followed at D&C offered up their debut “Mister Charlie.” The bluesy Robert Hunter-Ron “Pigpen” McKernan collaboration, which the Dead played roughly 40 times between 1971 and 1972, was sung by Mayer and saw the guitarist and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti lock in throughout the initial rendering on the song. The band slowed things down a bit next as they worked their way through “Loser” and instrumentally-complex “Crazy Fingers.” A bouncy “Cumberland Blues” brought the opening frame to a close.
The band’s second set got underway with a 15-minute-plus take on “Playing In The Band” once again using the song as an exploratory springboard serving up a number of standout moments as Mayer took charge throughout. A blissful “Eyes Of World” kept the jam-heavy start to the set going. Bassist Oteil Burbridge got his chance to front the band next singing lead on the Jerry Garcia ballad “Comes A Time.” “Terrapin Station” came ahead of “Drums”/”Space” with “New Speedway Boogie” occupying the post-psychedelic exploration slot last night. Workingman’s Dead chestnut “Black Peter” followed as D&C returned to a reprise of “Playing In The Band” to close things out with the summertime anthem “U.S. Blues” tapped as the encore.
Dead & Company returns to the stage tonight Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. A webcast is available via nugs.tv.