City Of Blues: Dead & Company Brings Locale Appropriate Tour Debuts To St. Louis

D&C also offered an adventurous second set which began with a stellar “Eyes Of The World.”

By Nate Todd Jun 8, 2023 11:05 am PDT

Dead & Company‘s Final Tour rolled into Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, Missouri near St. Louis on Wednesday. The band offered four tour debuts, three of which came in the first set all with connections to St. Louis. The sextet then embarked on an adventurous second set which prefaced an encore containing the final tour debut, a Bob Dylan number.

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Dead & Company got things underway in St. Louis with “Let The Good Times Roll.” The band utilized their usual lead vocal swapping with guitarist Bob Weir getting in on the solo action toward the end of the Sam Cooke tune. D&C then jumped into the geographically appropriate tour debut of “Big River.” The Johnny Cash number mentions a number of locales along the Mississippi with St. Louis being one. Bobby led the sextet down the river ahead of a rockabilly ride from guitarist John Mayer before keyboardist Jeff Chimenti fired things up on the Hammond B3 organ.

Set One Preview

The Grateful Dead classic “Friend Of The Devil” followed with Mayer and Weir swapping vocals. Bobby took another solo on the tune that had shades of the American Beauty original. Mayer then swung in with some pretty licks high up on the neck followed by Chimenti adding honky-tonk piano. The ‘70s Dead favorite “They Love Each Other” came next with Mayer singing lead and adding a twangy solo along with more B3 fireworks from Chimenti before John returned with a bliss-y trip up and down the neck leading into a stirring final build-up and chorus.

The tour debut of Bob Weir and John Perry Barlow’s road masterpiece “Black-Throated Wind” came next, the band saved the song for “St. Louis, the City of Blues.” Bobby led the band through one of his signature songs and then on home with a strong vocal showing on the coda. The sextet then played some of that blues, the “Big Railroad” variety by Noah Lewis of Cannon’s Jug Stompers, which boasted a rollicking organ solo from Jeff.

Next, D&C waxed spacey before “Dark Star” emerged with Chimenti manning a “No Quarter”-esque Fender Rhodes electric piano and Mayer peeling off flighty licks which segued smoothly into the song’s main structure and first verse led by Bobby. The jam saw freeform exploration over fills from drummers Mickey Hart and Jay Lane with Oteil Burbridge walking the bass.

Mayer and Chimenti then showed off their syncronistic chemistry in a jazz-inflected sequence before John worked the volume pedal and steered the jam back into the main “Dark Star” motif but then swerved into “Johnny B. Goode,” — last time played in St. Louis on September 13, 2021, a 50 show gap — from St. Louis’ own Chuck Berry. At one point, Bobby pointed up to the sky seemingly for the late rock ‘n’ roll pioneer just ahead of the penultimate chorus. Weir thanked the crowd and the first set in St. Louis was in the books.

D&C launched the second frame with “Eyes Of The World,” captained by Weir. Lane exhibited some slick ride cymbal work on the chorus ahead of Mayer’s stab at the first solo section. Lane and Hart provided a foundation for Oteil to groove on the bass as the rest added bells and whistles.

Chimenti peeled off an excellent jazz run to accompany Bobby as he sang the second verse. The ensuing instrumental segment saw Mayer and Chimenti trading licks in an exchange that built in intensity with the keyboardist and guitarist sometimes linking up and sometimes playing counterpoint to one another before John took over and whipped things to a boil ahead of a more cooled-down sequence and a fantastic, hit-filled segue back into the final verse.

Oteil provided a jazzy run on his six-string in the third sequence adding some vocal stylings to go along with the solo. The band then surged back in and locked into a tight groove before crashing back into “Dark Star,” which saw Mickey manning The Beam and Mayer reeling off some machine gun lines peppering Chimenti’s Fender Rhodes which landed the group in a dreamy sequence. John utilized some tapping and bending techniques with Oteil flying around the six-string before things melted into more freeform sequence and on into the song’s final lyrics. Burbridge then took the bassline for a walk and led the band into “Fire On The Mountain.”

Set Two Preview

Oteil led the way vocally as well, interspersed with sweet auto-wah-soaked solos from John. The sextet then slid into “Shakedown Street.” Bobby led the band through the disco Dead favorite with Mayer sticking on the auto-wah including a solo that joyfully played with the vocal melody. A funky “poke around” vamp boasted a quick “Brick House” “Shake it down now” tease before the groove gave way to a vibey sequence that waxed jazzy and traversed peaks and valleys ahead of a final climax that simmered down into “Shakedown’s” conclusion.

“Drums” emerged from the title track to the Grateful Dead’s 1978 album with Mickey getting things going on The Beam right away as Jay manned the bells and Hart took up residence back on Planet Drum. Oteil then joined in and things went full drum circle as the skull bobbleheads grooved along. After a cacophonous climax, Hart headed over to The Beam in earnest, utilizing his effects panel, washing the amphitheatre in synthy sounds before the band trickled back in for a somewhat sinister “Space.”

Hart and Lane then kicked the band into a rousing “The Eleven,” with Bobby leading a spirited “what now” closing sequence full of blooming licks by Mayer from which emerged “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Weir delivered a powerful vocal performance on the blues slow burner by his mentor Reverend Gary Davis, which saw Mayer exhibiting his blues chops with spicy front pickup runs complimented by bluesy B3 swells from Chimenti.

D&C wrapped the second set with the classic closer “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad,” which saw Bobby, Mayer, Oteil and Jeff each taking verses to the traditional tune to seal the second set. Dead & Company returned to encore with “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” which saw Weir picking up his acoustic guitar for the poignant Bob Dylan tune to bring The Final Tour stop in St. Louis to a close.

Dead & Company’s Final Tour continues Friday with the first of two shows at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Purchase livestreams for the Wrigley Field shows and all The Final Tour concerts via

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre [See upcoming shows]


2 shows
9/13/2021, 6/21/2022

The Music

8 songs

8 songs

16 songs
9 originals / 7 covers


10.56 [Gap chart]


Big River, Black-Throated Wind, Johnny B. Goode, Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Johnny B. Goode LTP 09/13/2021 (50 Show Gap)

Eyes Of The World 23:52

Big Railroad Blues & Johnny B. Goode 5:00

American Beauty - 1, Wake of the Flood - 1, Shakedown Street - 2

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