Pro-Shot Full Show Video: Dead & Company Kick Off 2018 Summer Tour In Mansfield
Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann teamed up with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti to open Dead & Company‘s 2018 Summer Tour on Wednesday night at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Burbridge had hinted that the six-piece would perform material from the Grateful Dead’s live repertoire they hadn’t played before and Dead & Company didn’t wait long to do just that at the venue originally known as Great Woods.
Dead & Company began the night with a slow and throbbing “Shakedown Street” sung by Weir. The band patiently worked through the first jam of the evening, which featured impressive interplay between the guitarists and dynamic electric piano work from Chimenti. Jeff hit upon a particularly cool theme towards the end of “Shakedown” that his mates quickly picked up on as huge smiles were exchanged all around. What followed was a pair of Dead & Company debuts. First was the band’s first ever “Alabama Getaway.” Mayer handled vocals on D&C’s straight-forward version of the Hunter/Garcia classic. Next came “It’s All Over Now,” a song written by Bobby & Shirley Womack that the Grateful Dead performed over 150 times between 1969 and 1995. Bobby sang the tune as he did with the Dead. Chimenti shined on both debuts with a powerful organ solo in “Alabama Getaway” and barrelhouse rolls towards the end of “It’s All Over Now.”
The first set of tour continued with “Brown-Eyed Women,” one of the songs Dead & Company has played most since their start in the Fall of 2015. Mayer put passion and emotion into every line and worked a few inventive licks within his lead guitar parts. A funny moment came during the “Tennessee Jed” that followed when Weir exclaimed “Aw shit!” after forgetting a lyric. Bobby recovered nicely to help the sextet end “Jed” in fine fashion. Dead & Company closed out the frame by inserting “Loose Lucy” within “Bird Song.” The sequence began with a spacey interlude before the band launched into the Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia-penned tribute to Janis Joplin. Weir and Mayer shared vocals on “Bird Song,” while Bobby belted out “Loose Lucy.” Jeff Chimenti was at the forefront of both the segues out of “Bird Song” into “Loose Lucy” and the more awkward return to “Bird Song.” Mickey Hart strummed The Beam towards the end of “Bird Song,” which added a nice drone to the mix.
Dead & Company focused on the Grateful Dead’s 1970s output over the course of the second set in Mansfield. Weir helmed the “Scarlet Begonias” that opened. Mayer was a ball of energy during “Scarlet” as he jumped up and down while he delivered a fierce solo between verses. The band then embarked on a tension-filled jam that eventually gave way to “Fire On The Mountain.” Oteil sang “Fire” as the crowd gave him a nice hand when he stepped to the mic for his first lead vocals of tour. Next came an “Althea” that was highlighted by Chimenti and Mayer connecting on a powerful peak. The pair wailed away and pushed each other to great heights.
The six-piece moved from “Althea” into “Estimated Prophet.” Chimenti focused on electric piano work, while Mayer utilized an envelope filter tone as he strung together one creative lead after another. Weir’s voice was strong throughout the night especially on “Estimated.” The jam out of “Estimated” featured heavy doses of psychedelia and just when it appeared Dead & Company would launch into “The Other One,” they weaved into “Eyes Of The World.” John Mayer kept the melodies flowing as Bobby sang “Eyes.” Oteil Burbridge took a meaty solo towards the end of the song before the instrumentalists vacated the stage to leave The Rhythm Devils to provide their “Drums” segment.
Kreutzmann and Weir pounded out tribal beats at the start of “Drums.” Mickey then inserted vocal samples into the mix and went on to focus his attention on The Beam, while Billy hammered away at various parts of his massive rig. Oteil and Jeff were the first instrumentalists to return and added subtle textures and tones to the adventurous segment. A free-form “Space” excursion followed. When all six members were back they launched into “Stella Blue.” Bobby handled lead vocals on the ballad, which featured a tasteful and soaring solo from John Mayer. Weir then revved into “Touch Of Grey.” He almost whispered the first few lyrics and traded verses with Mayer. The band ran up against the venue’s strict 11 p.m. curfew and as such didn’t play an encore.
Next up for Dead & Company is a Friday night show at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey. A webcast is available via nugs.tv and a contest is underway for a free Unlimited Devotion Webcast Pass here.
Pro-Shot Full Show Video
Set One: Shakedown Street, Alabama Getaway, It’s All Over Now, Brown-Eyed Women, Tennessee Jed, Bird Song > Loose Lucy > Bird Song
Set Two: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain > Althea, Estimated Prophet > The Other One Jam > Eyes Of The World > Drums > Space > Stella Blue > Touch Of Grey