Dead & Company Delivers Tour Debut & Bust Out In Oregon
On Saturday night Dead & Company continued their summer tour moving down the West Coast from Washington to Oregon for a gig at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene. The six-piece act delivered a tour debut and a bust out during an exploratory jam-heavy second set.
Dead & Company got their evening underway in the Beaver State with “Deal” as guitarist John Mayer and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti fed off each other throughout. A short and punchy take on the John Phillips-penned “Me & My Uncle” came ahead of a gorgeous and expansive “Here Comes Sunshine.” The Wake Of The Flood gem was followed by Bob Weir strapping on an acoustic guitar as he belted out his trucker anthem “Black Throated Wind.” D&C reached for “Cold & Rain Snow” next, the folk tune that was turned into a psychedelic garage rock rave-up by the Grateful Dead was followed by another traditional tune as Weir again grabbed his acoustic guitar for “Peggy-O.” A slow-building “Sugaree” was stretched out for nearly 15 minutes as the band leaned-in and brought it to a frenzied peak. An unusual first set closing, but day appropriate “One More Saturday Night” kept the high energy end to the frame going.
The familiar opening guitar lines of “Dark Star” got the band’s second set of the night going. The traditional jam-vehicle unfolded over the course of the next 17-plus minutes as the band patiently explored a number of different interstellar soundscapes. After delivering the majority of the tune Weir reached for his acoustic guitar yet again as they continued to toy with the tune. As Mayer was laying down a fierce solo, the bottom dropped out as it melted into the tour debut of “El Paso.” The unusual pairing of the Marty Robbins cowboy tune and “Dark Star” was not without precedent as the Dead offered up a couple of memorable takes of the pairing during the early 1970s. Unlike most versions of “El Paso” last night’s featured a brief jam in the midst of the wordy tune, which wound its way back into “Dark Star” as Mayer continued to tease “El Paso.”
D&C stuck with their old-school material serving up “Saint Stephen” next. For the second time this summer the crowd-pleaser featured its “William Tell Bridge” section which signaled that “The Eleven” would follow. The odd time-signature classic segued into the “Drums”/”Space” portion of the night. Bonnie Dobson’s post-apocalyptic ode “Morning Dew” was tapped as the landing point out of the cosmic playground. The band then unearthed “Turn On Your Lovelight” for the first time since last summer. Weir vamped throughout on a particular feisty version of the Bobby “Blue” Bland classic to bring their stanza to a close. A campfire sing-along take on “Brokedown Palace” brought the night to an end.
Dead & Company returns to the stage tomorrow tonight at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Caliornia. A webcast is available via nugs.tv.