Grateful Dead shows have a certain history in Albany, and ever since the opening of the Knickerbocker Arena in 1990, now the Times Union Center, Deadheads have flocked to the Capital District. At the start of Dead and Company’s Fall tour, the crowd enjoyed warm pre-show weather and an even hotter show inside as Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart brought John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti along for the strong start to a promising tour.
Opening with “Playing in the Band” was an apt way to welcome the two newcomers – Oteil and John – into the fold, and set the tone for the night. Fan favorites “Cold Rain and Snow” and “Tennessee Jed” followed and the bar was set. Mayer nailed the Jerry tone throughout the show, particularly during “The Music Never Stopped,” “Lost Sailor,” “Help on the Way”>“Slipknot,” and “Space”>”The Other One”. He is a great choice to fill the Jerry role as Trey Anastasio and John Kadlecik were in different iterations of Grateful Dead alumni shows.
Although restrained early on in the show, with Bob Weir setting a slower pace for songs, Mayer burst forth on “Bird Song,” a highlight of the first set. Periods of good jamming emerged from “Drums”>”Space”>”The Other One,” and a perfect segue into “Slipknot!” provided the highlight of the second set. “Franklin’s Tower” had atypical singing of later verses and a rough transition from “Slipknot!”, but some rust can be expected on the first night of the tour. As the next few weeks progress, the sound will become more cohesive and develop an even more well honed sound from this supergroup.
Dead and Company, Times Union Center, Albany, NY 10/29/15
Set 1: Playing in the Band > Cold Rain and Snow, Tennessee Jed, Feel Like a Stranger, He’s Gone, Bird Song, The Music Never Stopped
Set 2: Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance, Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower, Drums > Space > The Other One, Stella Blue > Not Fade Away
Encore: Touch of Grey
Listen to the show via Archive.org