Dead & Company Trucks Into Cincinnati
After Saturday’s show was cut short by lightning, Dead & Company continued their summer tour on Monday night at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati. The six-piece focused mainly on staples from the Grateful Dead repertoire, threw in a pair of Bob Dylan covers and were led by bassist Oteil Burbridge on a beautiful ballad.
The members of Dead & Company took the stage and jammed for a bit before revving into “Truckin’.” Bob Weir had issues with his vocal delivery as he coughed throughout the opener but starting with the “Big River” that followed was just fine for the rest of the night. John Mayer had his first chance of the evening leading the group on a beautiful “They Love Each Other.” Weir then strapped on an acoustic for a tender “Friend Of The Devil” featuring sublime piano work from Jeff Chimenti. Next, Burbridge stepped into the spotlight to sing a gorgeous “If I Had The World To Give.”
There are certain Dead songs that are right in John Mayer’s wheelhouse and one of those is “Sugaree.” Last night’s version saw Mayer build his solo to a euphoric, crowd-pleasing peak. “Sugaree” faded into a set-closing “New Speedway Boogie” featuring a passionate vocal delivery from Weir as he impressively scat-sang the “Darkness got to give” line throughout the end of the song.
Dead & Company kicked off Monday’s second set with a fierce “Deal.” Chimenti’s organ work meshed nicely with Mayer’s lead and Weir’s chunky rhythms throughout the lengthy version of the song. Eventually, “Deal” faded out and “He’s Gone” began. Burbridge showed off his lead bass skills in providing a stellar bottom end. Next came the tour’s first “China Cat Sunflower”/”I Know You Rider” pairing. The sextet quickly moved from the former to the latter, yet took their time on a near 14-minute “Rider.”
The instrumentalists vacated the stage after “I Know You Rider” for Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann’s “Drums” segment. Last night’s excursion was highlighted by a middle section in which Kreutzmann pounded out a thunderous beat while Hart worked over The Beam. Soon thereafter, Burbridge, Chimenti, Weir and Mayer joined forces for the evening’s exploratory “Space” sequence. The drummers returned soon as the sextet embarked on a wild jam.
Just when it appeared Dead & Company would move into something fast-paced, they instead transitioned from “Space” into a cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” Weir masterfully delivered the many lyrics of the song. The night’s first Dylan cover was followed by romps through “Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad” and “U.S. Blues” to bring the frame to a close. Mayer and Weir then teamed to lead the group through an emotion-laden “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” encore. Dead & Company now heads to Ruoff Home Mortgage Center in Noblesville, Indiana for a Wednesday night show. A webcast is available via nugs.tv.
Watch a pair of pro-shot videos provided by nugs.tv:
Setlist (via Ratdog.org)
Truckin’ > (bw) Big River (bw), They Love Each Other (jm), Friend Of The Devil (bw, jm), If I Had The World To Give (ob), Sugaree (jm), New Speedway Boogie (bw)
Set Two: Deal (jm) > He’s Gone (bw, jm) > China Cat Sunflower (bw) > I Know You Rider (all) > Drums > Space > A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (bw) > Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad (all) > U.S. Blues (jm, bw)
Encore: Knockin’ On Heavens Door (bw, jm)