Soft Machine: Dead & Company Plays Texas Favorites At Final Tour Stop In Dallas

D&C opened the second set with a Texas two-step of “Jack Straw” and “Truckin.”

By Nate Todd May 27, 2023 9:38 am PDT

Dead & Company brought The Final Tour to Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas on Friday. The Grateful Dead offshoot loaded the first set with tour debuts and opened the stellar second set with a pair of songs sure to please the Texas audience.

D&C “Let The Good Times Roll” to kick off the first set at the Fair Park shed. The band did their usual passing around of the verses with guitarist John Mayer on the first. Guitarist Bob Weir handled the second and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti the third.

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The sextet then jumped right into “Hell In A Bucket,” which saw Mayer reeling off some spicy riffage throughout to compliment a strong vocal showing from Bobby. Bassist Oteil Burbridge dive-bombed on his six-string over thunderous drum fills from Mickey Hart and Jay Lane. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the ride.

Mayer then engineered “Big Railroad Blues” driven by a walking bassline from Oteil and punctuated by a saucy Hammond organ solo from Chimenti. “Big Railroad” melted into the vibey “Lost Sailor.” Weir led the way through his dreamy tune and on into its companion “Saint Of Circumstance.” The latter boasted some wild, almost sitar-like runs from Mayer before the vocalists came together on the final refrain.

Set One Preview

The nautical theme continued with the ballad favorite “Ship Of Fools,” with John and Oteil swapping vocal lines. After a couple verses and choruses, Mayer worked a solo high up on the neck which cascaded over a bed of B3 laid down by Chimenti.

Next, the sextet picked things up a bit with “Brown-Eyed Women.” Mayer tore into the first solo, this time utilizing the whole neck with some tasty ascending and descending double stops before turning things over to Jeff for a honky-tonk-tinged ride on the 88s. John’s second solo began as a wailing affair with tumble-down piano from Chimenti, who then steered things more in a rocking direction with Mayer returning to the double stops.

From there, Bobby dropped the band into “The Music Never Stopped.” The sextet kicked back into the floating sequence which took a Latin Jazz turn captained by Hart and Lane but abruptly fell back into the funkiness of “Never Stopped” with Bobby rapping on those exact words. Oteil laid down a meaty baseline with John riffing and Jeff switching to clavinet as Jay and Mickey built the jam. D&C ground the funk to a halt to wrap up the first frame.

Dead & Company launched the second set with a fitting “Jack Straw.” Hart and Lane underpinned a spirited version with bounding fills. The band built up some anticipation ahead of the “leaving Texas” verse with Mayer reeling off some sweet runs ahead of the beloved lyric line for the Lone Star State. Oteil took the bass for a walk on the second instrumental break, with Chimenti intertwining piano within John’s flights.

Set Two Preview

“Jack Straw” melted into a jazzy opening sequence to a boisterous “Truckin.’” While the Grateful Dead classic mentions several American cities, Dallas just wanted to hear about the “soft machine,” although there was a good showing from Houston as well, proximity to New Orleans notwithstanding. With some jazzy chords, Jeff steered the band into a buoyant segment that flowed flawlessly into “He’s Gone,” which saw Bobby and John trading vocal lines. Mayer’s tone cut with a golden overdriven sound on his solo ahead of the bridge. Finally, a bluesy closing vamp gave way to “Playing In The Band.”

Hart and Lane kept the jam at a good clip while Chimenti trickled in sparkling piano and Mayer revved things up with flighty licks. Oteil then took the wheel with a bubbling baseline. John began showcasing rhythmic right hand work high up on the neck mirroring the chord progression as Chimenti laid down rocking piano licks. The sextet then swerved back into a more freeform psychedelic sequence that saw Weir and Mayer playing off each other.

Jeff then roped the band into a nice modulation that paved the way for “Uncle John’s Band.” The jam floated off into space where all the players came together and then separated before heading back into the conclusion of “UJB.” A drone washed over the venue as Mickey began working cowbells and Jay headed back to “Planet Drum.” “Drums” saw Oteil getting in on the action alongside Lane. All three percussionists coalesced behind the kits for a good while before Mickey manned The Beam, using a metal device like a slide, then a bow across the strings.

The band trickled back in for “Space” with Chimenti adding slightly sinister piano lines which built into another Latin Jazz motif with Mickey working some spacey synths before Chimenti signaled “All Along The Watchtower.” Bobby handled the Bob Dylan tune with the heaviness it demands before Mayer tore into a solo with a fiery tone backed up by percussion organ from Chimenti.

The sextet then dropped into a reggae vamp that led into the minor “Playin’ Reprise” riff which segued into the major triumphantly and a seamless drop into “Standing On The Moon.” Bobby delivered the contemplative latter-day Dead masterpiece and added slide guitar stylings to boot. Dead & Company then jumped into “Not Fade Away,” from Lubbock, Texas’ own Buddy Holly & The Crickets. An apropos conclusion to the second set in Dallas. After a brief break, Dead & Company brought The Final Tour stop in Texas to a close with the favorite, “Touch Of Grey.”

Dead & Company’s Final Tour continues on Sunday in Atlanta. Livestreams are available via

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Dos Equis Pavilion [See upcoming shows]


2 shows
7/02/2019, 10/14/2021

The Music

8 songs

10 songs

18 songs
14 originals / 4 covers


8.3 [Gap chart]


All But Brown-Eyed Women, Jack Straw, Truckin, He's Gone, Playing In The Band, Uncle John's Band, Standing On The Moon, Not Fade Away

Ship Of Fools LTP 06/22/2022 (21 Show Gap)

Space 17:12

Playing In The Band (Reprise) 3:05

Workingman's Dead - 1, American Beauty - 1, From the Mars Hotel - 1, Blues for Allah - 1, Go To Heaven - 2, In The Dark - 2, Built to Last - 2

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