Dead & Company Kick Off Summer Tour At PNC Music Pavilion In Charlotte

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Grateful Dead members Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart brought their Dead & Company project featuring John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge back on the road on Friday night. The six-piece kicked off a 24-date Summer Tour on Friday at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina where they worked a debut into the setlist and plenty of lengthy jams.

Dead & Company decided to go ahead with their lone show of the summer in North Carolina despite their opposition to the state’s recently passed HB2 law by donating $100,000 to the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina. A rainbow flag also served as the backdrop on PNC Music Pavilion’s stage, within the Dead’s famed “Steal Your Face” logo and on a shirt worn by Burbridge. Musically, the band seemingly referenced the law which discriminates against the LGBT community by performing “They Love Each Other” and “Liberty” within the first set.

The late era Garcia/Hunter gem “Liberty” was a Dead & Company debut and was the 100th different song the band has played since first taking the stage back on October 29, 2015 in Albany. Weir handled vocals on the debut as he did on the evening’s opener, “The Music Never Stopped.” Mayer took his first turn fronting the band by leading Dead & Company through “Cold Rain & Snow.” Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti shined on the “Friend Of The Devil” that followed ahead of the aforementioned “They Love Each Other” and “Liberty.” It was “Cassidy” that featured the night and tour’s first expansive improvisational segment. Dead & Company toyed with the tempo throughout a languid jam. Bobby and John showed off impressive interplay, while the drummers and bassist Oteil Burbridge moved the speed from slow to super-slow and back to a more healthy tempo before the sextet nailed re-entry to the end of “Cassidy.” Chimenti stole the show with a rollicking piano solo during a set-closing cover of Chuck Berry’s “The Promised Land.”

“Eyes Of The World” opened the second set and contained plenty of jamming. Once again, Chimenti starred with a frenzied piano solo that was propelled by Oteil’s masterful bass skills. Burbridge displayed a sense of lead bass that is a signature of Phil Lesh’s style throughout the smoking “Eyes.” John Mayer also shined on the 20+ minute “Eyes” by stringing together Jerry-esque leads throughout the song’s second jam. Mayer and Chimenti were then at the forefront for the “Deal” that followed complete with a pair of scorching guitar solos from John and powerful organ solo courtesy of Jeff. Next up was a strong “Estimated Prophet” which led into the evening’s “Drums” segment. Kreutzmann and Hart worked over their massive rig and threw in all sorts of samples while pounding out a throbbing beat. Mickey moved over to “the beam” to elicit a droning sound that served as the base for a “Space” exploration.

The instrumentalists took the music “out” for a few minutes before connecting on a melody that eventually gave way to “Feel Like A Stranger.” Weir’s chunky rhythms were at the heart of Dead & Company’s version of the tune. From there, the group took on one of Jerry’s ballads as Bobby sang “Black Peter.” At this point it was becoming clear the band was running into the 11 p.m. curfew and they ended the encore-less show with a quick romp through “Turn On Your Lovelight.” Dead & Company now heads to Bonnaroo to headline with two sets on Sunday night.

Audio (Taped by Team Dirty South)

Photos by Steven Limentani

Setlist

Dead & Company at PNC Music Pavilion

Set 1
  • The Music Never Stopped  
  • Cold Rain and Snow  
  • Friend of the Devil  
  • They Love Each Other  
  • Liberty  
  • Cassidy  
  • The Promised Land  
Set 2
  • Eyes of the World  
  • Deal  
  • Estimated Prophet  
  • Drums  
  • Space  
  • Feel Like a Stranger  
  • Black Peter  
  • Turn On Your Love Light  

Tour Dates for
Dead & Company