Dead & Company Honors John Perry Barlow At Playing In The Sand Kickoff

Dead & Company began what is expected to be a busy 2018 with their first of three performances as part of the inaugural Playing In The Sand destination event in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The six-piece paid tribute to Grateful Dead lyricist/internet pioneer John Perry Barlow, who died last week, by delivering emotional performances of some of the songs he wrote as images of JPB were displayed behind the band.

Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann along with Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti and John Mayer opened Playing In The Sand with the fitting “Playing In The Band.” The sextet worked the loose “Playin'” into a “Me & My Uncle” that saw a youngster sit with Mickey Hart and bang on the drums. A powerful pairing of “He’s Gone” > “Cassidy” came next. Weir belted out the song featuring lyrics by JPB for the capacity crowd in Mexico.

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Mayer handled lead vocals on both “Brown-Eyed Women” and “Bertha” before Weir led “Good Lovin’.” Dead & Company worked a portion of “La Bamba” into “Good Lovin'” as the Grateful Dead did a handful of times. The group returned after setbreak to start the closing frame with “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire On The Mountain.” Bobby sang “Scarlet” while Oteil fronted the group on “Fire.” Mayer then stepped back into the spotlight to sing and unleash a firey guitar solo during “Althea” before a pairing of Weir/Barlow’s “Estimated Prophet” and Garcia/Hunter’s “Eyes Of The World.”

“Eyes” gave way to the evening’s “Drums/Space” sequence. The Rhythm Devils worked over their drum rig and infused tribal beats. After a bit of “Space” trilling, Mickey Hart and John Mayer headed over to Jeff Chimenti’s keyboards and the three played keys to bring “Space” to close. Weir then strapped on an acoustic for a heart-warming “Looks Like Rain” featuring images of Barlow displayed on the large screen behind Dead & Company. The second set concluded with a ragged “I Need A Miracle” and loping “Casey Jones.” For the encore, the members of the group traded verses on a cover of The Band’s “The Weight.” Dead & Company returns to the stage on Saturday night. A webcast is available via nugs.tv.

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Watch the wild end to “Space” and the gorgeous “Looks Like Rain” thanks to YouTube user The Zalewski Law Firm:

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Setlist

Set One: Playing In The Band > Me & My Uncle, He’s Gone > Cassidy, Brown Eyed Women, Bertha > Good Lovin’ > La Bamba > Good Lovin’

Set Two: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain > Althea, Estimated Prophet > Eyes Of The World > Drums > Space > Looks Like Rain, I Need A Miracle, Casey Jones

Encore: The Weight

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