A New York Welcome at Citi Field – Review/Photos by Steve Malinski
It was otherwise just a typically warm summer NYC evening to usher in this past Friday night when Dead and Company took the stage at Citi Field. After some strange times in the two-year gap since their last stop in NYC (and some Covid-19 checks before entering), however, the music restored a sense of normalcy and familiarity with experiencing a large-scale concert.
Just as if Dead & Co. hadn’t skipped a beat since their 2019 tour, they took the stage without an ounce of rust from their pandemic downtime. As they shuffled into the first set with “Good Times,” John Mayer commanded the mic, signaling the core role he has developed in this iteration of the Grateful Dead family. Bob Weir stepped up to the plate sharing the lead with Mayer on vocals throughout the night, rallying the Queens crowd for the New York City line in “Ramble on Rose.” The youngest surviving member of the original Grateful Dead lineup, Weir was nimble on his feet as he enjoyed crafting the rhythms just as much as the crowd relished the sound.
Set two took a trip to the late 1970s-era Dead setlists, featuring the classic pairing of “China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider” and fluidity from the start to finish of the set. The night was capped off on a high note with an energetic “U.S. Blues” and an encore covering The Band’s “The Weight,” featuring a trade of choruses between Jeff Chimenti, Mayer, Weir, and Oteil Burbridge.
Dead and Company Citi Field – Flushing, NY 8/20/21
Set 1: Let the Good Times Roll, Bertha, Good Lovin’ -> Big Railroad Blues, Ramble On Rose, They Love Each Other, Cassidy -> Casey Jones
Set 2: Eyes of the World -> Uncle John’s Band -> China Doll -> China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider -> Drums/Space -> Spanish Jam -> Althea, Stella Blue, U.S. Blues
Encore: The Weight
Dead and Company Recreate 1969’s Woodstock Performance at Bethel Woods – Review by Matt Romano, Photos by Steve Malinski
It’s true, The music never stopped for the Grateful Dead. It’s newest reincarnation as Dead and Company continued its trip through the Empire State at Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center on Monday, August 23. The band played on a stage set among the rolling hills of the original 1969 Woodstock festival. A sense of delight was in the air for all those on the adjacent path of the site towards the stage for this year’s festivities.
They opened with “Hell in a Bucket,” this time enjoying the ride. Jeff Chimenti immediately stepped out as he would the whole night on the keyboards. The band really seems to play off Jeff and the musical ideas he passes onstage. John Mayer especially picks up on the mixolydian blues concept Pigpen started in the ‘60s by taking lead on “Easy Wind.” This track is ideal for Mayer’s blues background and the words, “Easy wind going ‘cross the Bayou today. There’s a whole lotta women. Out on the streets in a red today.”
Mayer also stepped out in front for “Brown Eyed Women,” singing as humbly as Jerry sang about Delilah Jones. The band then drifted off into the seas to end the first set. A “Row Jimmy” out in the mist led to a “Lost Sailor,” and they came back to shore with a “Saint Of Circumstance.”
Tigers in trance deserve a second chance. That’s what the band was able to get on the other side of the hill from their Woodstock ‘69 performance. The Grateful Dead may have been one of the more famous performers at Woodstock, but their set didn’t exactly knock it out of the park. They played from 10:30 pm to midnight on the second day, but their entire performance was filled with technical difficulties. The band was even subject to electric shock on stage although that truly could have been them representing their infamous logo.
But on this night on the other side of the hill, Bob Weir said at the start of the second set, “Now 50-some years ago right here, we tried this next little sequence and it didn’t go so well. It didn’t work so we’re gonna try it again.” With that, Dead and Company, in all their glory, recreated the five song setlist from the 1969 festival that includes covers by Merle Haggard and Bobby Blue Bland: “St Stephen,” “Mama Tried,” “Dark Star,” “High Time,” “Turn on your Lovelight.”
Weir, who was 22 during the original Woodstock, sang Merle’s “Mama Tried” with the same howl in 2021 that he had in 1969. “I turn 21 in prison doing life without parole. No one could steer me right but Mama tried.” Bobby Bland’s “Lovelight” percolated throughout the set with John Mayer, who is no gravity stranger, wanting to be where the light is. The old memory set faded into a “Drums/Space” jam that featured a new “bass” segment from Oteil Burbridge – who has joined the Rhythm Devils on Halloween at Madison Square Garden – took his own featured piece. He was left on stage solo with only pure bass notes to the crowd’s ears. The band joined Oteil on his sky journey for “Space” While up there, they decide to return to the Garcia classic “Standing on the Moon,” to remind of summer tours past. Bob Weir and John Mayer then brought out the acoustics to send everyone back on the tree lined paths with “Ripple.”
You certainly could feel Jerry’s spirit in the same rolling Catskill hills that his music happily haunts. His music helped Dead and Company continue to set the bar high for likely their only recreation of this old performance. “It’s not enough to be the best at what you do. You must be perceived as the ONLY one who does what you do”
Dead and Company hit Darien lake Wednesday night, then head to Saratoga Springs on Friday.
On your way to SPAC, don’t forget that Stewart’s Shops is your ice cream shop! With over 345 shops in 31 counties across New York and southern Vermont, the convenience store chain is known for their fresh & local dairy products. With dozens of choices at the cone counter, you’re bound to find something you love! Try a shake, sundae, or cone today, What’s Your Flavor?
Dead and Company Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center – Bethel, NY 8/23/21
Set 1: Hell in a Bucket, Easy Wind, Loser, Brown-Eyed Women, Throwing Stones, Row Jimmy, Lost Sailor -> Saint of Circumstance
Set 2: St. Stephen -> Mama Tried -> Dark Star -> High Time -> Turn On Your Love Light, Drums/Space/Oteil Bass Solo -> Deal -> Standing on the Moon -> Turn On Your Love Light