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Dead and Co, Back Again

Ellen Levitt

Posted on July 18, 2022 12:01

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The Grateful Dead's spinoff band has returned for its latest summer tour.

This summer, there are many opportunities to see bands and musical performers on tour. The summer of 2020 saw very little live music due to the Covid pandemic, and 2021 had a moderate amount. That pent-up demand from fans and the desire of musicians to face audiences has contributed to a summer of multiple musical options.

The Grateful Dead, from the mid-1960s through 1995, frequently toured, especially in the warmer weather. After guitarist Jerry Garcia's death in 1995, the band took a breather but returned to touring in 1998 as The Other Ones, then the Dead, and a few years later as Furthur. (I saw them in each incarnation.) Band members also have their own spinoff acts.

In 2015, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, original members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzmann (and Mickey Hart, who has been with the Dead since a few years into its life) reunited with a few younger musicians and played a set of summer shows.

Since 2015, the band has called itself Dead and Company and has toured with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti as the regular additional musicians, with Bob, Bill, and Mickey from the original band. And each of those years, my daughters and I have gone to at least one show per tour.

I first saw the Grateful Dead in July 1987 and enjoyed the music from the start. There really is no other band quite like the Dead, especially live. Their mix of rock 'n roll genres, blues, jazz, country, and world music styles, coupled with their jamming, is not quite like any other band's music. I realize that the band has detractors, but it also has a huge, dedicated fanbase like no other, and Deadheads have always appreciated the band for allowing fans to tape shows and follow them around the US and even elsewhere.

My girls and I attended the final show of the 2022 summer tour at Citifield in Queens, NY. I'd not realized it was the last show, and it was a particularly charged atmosphere, even with puddles in the parking lot and light drizzle during the second set of the show. The big news was that drummer Bill returned after serious back trouble. Each time he appeared on the giant screens flanking the stage, the audience cheered.

My younger daughter had bought (with my blessing) a very good seat in section 110 (usually, I opt for cheaper seats). We really don't know how many more years this band will be around, so I indulged my kids. We also got to see three of my friends from high school and one post-HS, which lent the show a super-social mood. (Older daughter also found a college pal here.)

The show was very good, highly enjoyable. I loved their version of "The Eleven." Some of their jamming was weird as heck, but that's almost expected. Each show setlist is unique, their specialty. I hope they tour again and again, amen.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on July 18, 2022 12:01

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Source: NYT

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