LIVE: Dead & Company @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 6/21/16

Back in October, the latest spin-off incarnation of the Grateful Dead launched their inaugural tour with a concert at Albany’s Times Union Center. The pieces didn’t quite all fit together perfectly, but there was no doubt that the new line-up of Dead & Company – featuring Grateful Dead alum Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann augmented with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti – definitely showed promise.

On Tuesday evening (June 21), the band returned to Greater Nippertown for their debut at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, where the Grateful Dead still hold the record for the biggest concert crowd. And this time around, they lived up to the promise…

Pete Mason’s review and Jim Gilbert’s photographs at NYS Music
David M. Johnson’s review at The Troy Record
An excerpt from David Singer’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Mayer’s unexpected attacks through the night were fun and exciting set against the mostly feint, bendable layers of the older members. The other younger players — Oteil Burbridge on bass and Jeff Chimenti on keys — jumped in with Mayer’s aggressiveness while the drummers and Weir laid it down subtly. No one could dispute that Mayer gave it his all on every tune. Original Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Billy Kreutzmann are far from the fascinating four-armed spectacle they were in their heyday. Certainly the visual show is gone. Now they lay back, underneath it all, hit the drum softly, Hart mostly with brushes, and occasionally bang a tight tom-tom drum that offered a nostalgic thud or two, but never the thunder they brought to the jams years ago. The Dead have never been a blues band, but Mayer changed all that with his hardcore playing on Weir’s cover of ‘Little Red Rooster.’ Weir still plays his slide guitar solo on this song, and it has not improved in 30 years.”
An excerpt from Jim Shahen Jr.’s review at The Times Union: “The group opened with a song played at the Albany show, ‘Feel Like a Stranger.’ At that show, Mayer interacted with vocalist/rhythm guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Oteil Burbridge during the song to find the right groove to settle into. That wasn’t a problem Tuesday night, or at any point during the set. From the beginning, the entire band was locked in, transitioning through songs with ease and with a heightened sense of urgency to their playing. Weir’s vocals were less raggedy, Mayer’s fretwork was still otherworldly and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart picked up the tempo, keeping the songs humming along with no real letdown in effort or energy.”

Feel Like a Stranger
Here Comes Sunshine
Brown Eyed Women
Little Red Rooster
Cassidy > Deal
Iko Iko
Estimated Prophet
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
Drums > Space
Uncle John’s Band
Days Between
Good Lovin’
Brokedown Palace
Johnny B. Goode

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