By Jeff Cornell
Dead & Company brought their summer tour to the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in Southern California on Tuesday (July 26). The nearly three-hour concert saw the band perform songs from the vast catalog of the Grateful Dead that chiefly focused on the band’s early material. In fact, the most recent song performed was 1978’s “Fire on the Mountain.”
The band, for those who don’t know, features core Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, percussionist Mickey Hart, guitarist Bob Weir, along with John Mayer, bassist Otiel Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
Throughout the show fans would remark about how incredibly well John Mayer fits in the band. His bluesy style and smooth vocals were on display all night. Each member of the band took ample time to shine throughout the evening including bassist Otiel Burbridge, who dropped stunning runs complimenting the songs all night.
The venue was about a quarter full when the band took the stage at 7:23 PM. 6-foot 11-inch NBA Hall of Famer, and renowned “Dead-Head,” Bill Walton was hard to miss as he walked through the concourse posing for pictures, high-fiving fans as the crowd began to find their seats at the outdoor amphitheatre. Dead & Co kicked off the night with a John Mayer-led version of “Cold Rain and Snow.” The fans were still filing in during a stellar version of “Jack Straw,” which featured amazing interplay between Mayer and Weir. The beautiful guitar work showed off their growing chemistry to the delight of the capacity crowd.
First set highlights included a high-energy version of “Bertha,” the classic Weir-led song “Black-Throated Wind” and a set closing “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo.”
The second set had many musical peaks including a stellar “Scarlet Begonias,” which saw the band pushing boundaries with lots of tempo and dynamic changes, along with a blazing guitar solo from Mayer before it folded into the aforementioned “Fire on the Mountain.” In the middle of the second set the music took a psychedelic turn with a jaw dropping section featuring “Dark Star” which effortlessly flowed into Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart’s “Drums” and “Space,” followed by an experimental rendition of “The Other One.”
A fun romp through the politically themed 1974 track “U.S. Blues” ended the 90-minute set. Dead & Co finished the show with the double encore featuring the 1970 ballad “Brokedown Palace” and an up-tempo cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”
Dead & Company will take the stage tonight, July 27, in Chula Vista, California and will wrap up their summer tour at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California on Saturday, July 30.
Dead & Company Set list – Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Cold Rain and Snow
Big Boss man
Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
Fire on the Mountain
The Other One
Johnny B Goode