Dead & Company Kicks Off Hollywood Bowl Run: Setlist, Recap & The Skinny

The band bookended the first set with "Playing In The Band"/"Playin' Reprise" and the second set with "Sugar Magnolia"/"Sunshine Daydream."

By Scott Bernstein Oct 30, 2021 7:36 am PDT

Dead & Company took the stage at Hollywood Bowl on Friday for the first of three shows at the Los Angeles venue to cap Fall Tour 2021. The sextet toyed with the setlist as they performed rare first set versions of “Playing In The Band” and “All Along The Watchtower” and dusted off a standalone “Sunshine Daydream” for the first time since New Year’s Eve 2019.

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Guitarist Bob Weir led the group through an expansive “Playing In The Band” to get last night’s concert underway. “Playing” spanned 16-minutes and featured an impressive fusion jam. Guitarist John Mayer utilized a distorted tone for a series of frenetic runs towards the end of the song before a drop into “Deal.” Mayer handled lead vocals on “Deal” which was propelled by deep in-the-pocket basslines from Oteil Burbridge.

“Deal” concluded with Mayer and Weir vamping on the chorus ahead of a swerve into “All Along The Watchtower.” Last night marked the first time Dead & Company played the Bob Dylan cover within the first set as it usually appears out of “Space” in a similar fashion to its placement at Grateful Dead concerts. Bobby was in fine form vocally and the improv was highlighted by a reggae-tinged exploration Weir egged on by screaming “Pressure drop!” Next came “Mr. Charlie” with John Mayer growling the lyrics ala Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and a throbbing “Ramble On Rose” sung by Weir.

Earlier this tour, Dead & Co. unveiled a fast-paced “They Love Each Other” played more towards the speed of Grateful Dead versions from 1973 than takes that followed. The quicker “TLEO” saw action again last night after “Ramble On Rose” and before Burbridge shined in fronting the group on a gorgeous “High Time.” Bobby grabbed his acoustic guitar for “High Time” and stayed on the axe to make for an unusual set-closing “Playin’ Reprise.”

Read on after The Skinny for the rest of the recap and more.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Hollywood Bowl [See upcoming shows]

17,500

4 shows
5/31/2017, 6/01/2017, 6/03/2019, 6/04/2019

The Music

7 songs

9 songs

16 songs
15 originals / 1 cover / 0 misc

1974

5.83 [Gap chart]

None

Sunshine Daydream

Sunshine Daydream LTP 12/31/2019 (32 Show Gap)

Estimated Prophet 17:18

Mr. Charlie 4:41

Anthem of the Sun - 1, Workingman's Dead - 1, American Beauty - 2, Blues for Allah - 3, Terrapin Station - 1, Built To Last - 1

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Bobby dedicated the rousing “Sugar Magnolia” that opened last night’s second set to “Rob.” The sextet then embarked on a jazzy “Help On The Way” featuring keyboardist Jeff Chimenti on electric piano. Dead & Co. then unspooled a “Slipknot!” that saw Mayer and Chimenti connect on an ascending progression as Oteil provided a groovy bassline underneath. The classic trifecta was completed with a crowd-pleasing “Franklin’s Tower.” At one point the band brought the song to near silence as Jeff and John traded pretty licks and Mayer scatted along with his guitar work before exploding out of the last verse to powerfully end “Franklin’s.”

The improvisational highlight of the night came next with “Estimated Prophet.” Mayer put an auto-wah effect to use throughout the +17-minute version which saw the band blow past the song’s typical boundaries for a few glorious minutes towards the end. D&C toyed with the tempo with drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart moving to a march beat before dropping out of the mix completely. The Rhythm Devils then had their turn in the spotlight for the evening’s “Drums” excursion. Kreutzmann, who recently returned from a four-show medical leave, was all smiles as he pounded out a tribal beat along with Hart and honorary Rhythm Devil Oteil Burbridge.

Billy and Oteil vacated the stage when Mickey headed to The Beam. Hart strummed wild drones out of the instrument and eventually left a sparkling sound ringing to mark the start of “Space.” Chimenti played rolls up and down the piano as Mayer eeked out one haunting riff after another throughout the segment. Hart and Kreutzmann then re-emerged and Burbridge lit into the rumbling “The Other One” bassline. Oteil mirrored Mayer’s bluesy riffs while Bobby barked out the lyrics of one of his trademark songs. Chimenti fit in experimental synth work as the strong version of “The Other One” hit its peak.

The final “Other One” notes gave way to the second “Standing On The Moon” of the month. Dead & Co. patiently worked through one of Jerry Garcia’s last great ballads with Weir seeming to tear up as he sang the lyrics. Chimenti’s delicate piano playing was the perfect accent to Bobby’s powerful vocals. The heavy mood didn’t last with the sextet picking up where they had left “Sugar Mags” off earlier in the set. “Sunshine Daydream” arrived to the delight of the audience and featured Weir’s signature howls. Both Bobby and John Mayer then grabbed their acoustics for the evening’s “Ripple” encore.

Dead & Company returns to Hollywood Bowl on Saturday. A livestream is available via nugs.tv. Watch pro-shot video featuring the first song of last night’s sets below:

Set One


00:09:43
Dead & Company (See 79 videos)
Dead & Company (See 214 videos)

Set Two


00:40:23
Dead & Company (See 79 videos)
Dead & Company (See 214 videos)

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