Dead & Company Kicks Off 2019 Playing In The Sand In Mexico
Thursday night, Dead & Company kicked off the second Playing In The Sand destination event at The Barceló in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The performance was the first of the year for the band featuring Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, along with guitarist John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
D&C opened their first set of 2019 with a drawn-out “Shakedown Street” that seemed like it might segue into a “Feel Like A Stranger” that never materialized. Mayer led a run through the vintage “Mr. Charlie” and traded vocals with Weir on a nicely jammed “Jack Straw” and “Friend Of The Devil,” the latter also featuring Bobby on acoustic. There were some pretty moments in “Here Comes Sunshine” and “New Speedway Boogie” allowed Mayer to dig into bluesy tones. “Bird Song” opened up into a loping jam, cycling for several minutes before returning to “New Speedway Boogie” to close the set.
During setbreak, the audience was entertained by a troupe of fire dancers performing on a side stage. Dead & Company opened the second set with “China Cat Sunflower,” exactly 51 years after its first known live performance by the Grateful Dead. Ditching the usual transition into “I Know You Rider” the band instead detoured through “Cumberland Blues” before landing on “Rider.” After stretching out on “Rider,” Mayer introduced “Lady With A Fan” which Weir later answered with “Terrapin Station.” The Dead’s opus dissolved into “Drums” as the stage was left to Hart and Kreutzmann, as well as Burbridge, for several minutes of intense rhythmic soundscapes. The other members came back for “Space” that soon developed into Bobby leading the ballad “Stella Blue.”
Dead & Company lifted the energy on the beach as they closed out the set with the welcomed trifecta of “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower.” Weir and Mayer both utilized acoustic guitars for the “Ripple” encore. Dead & Company performs at Playing In The Sand again on Saturday and Sunday. Dumpstaphunk and Larkin Poe are scheduled to perform tonight. Webcasts for Dead & Company’s shows are available via nugs.tv. Watch the first and second set openers from Thursday’s webcast below:
China Cat Sunflower > Cumberland Blues > I Know You Rider
Audio | Taped by Jeff Travitz
Set One: Shakedown Street, Mr. Charlie, Jack Straw, Friend Of The Devil, Here Comes Sunshine, New Speedway Boogie, Bird Song > New Speedway Boogie
Set Two: China Cat Sunflower > Cumberland Blues > I Know You Rider, Lady With A Fan > Terrapin Station > Drums/Space > Stella Blue > Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower