Dead & Company Unite with The Dead Heads In New Jersey
Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019
Dead & Company returned to New Jersey for the second East Coast performance of their summer tour 2019 on Thursday night. The band was firing on all cylinders right from the beginning notes of “Music Never Stopped”, which perfectly describes the night. The band rolled through track after track without slowing down through their first set. With each song in the first set the crowd got louder, happier and more funky.
Deadheads are a tribe consisting of fans that eat, breathe, and sleep all things the Grateful Dead. The phrase “Deadhead” is believed to have started in 1971 as the name for fans that went to every show possible following the band everywhere and anywhere they roamed. As the years have passed and the largely still growing group of fans had multiplied, it morphed into the digital age with an email list and an online newsletter that has grown to almost a 100,000 fans with no end in sight. In 1971, Deadheads officially started taping every single concert, to preserve the heritage of the music, and to share it with other fans. The recording were blessed and encouraged by the band.
Dead Head’s are unique and generally amazing, fun fans to be around. Before the performance audience members were greeting each other, gifting one another stones and stickers and during the performance of songs like “Row Jimmy” and “Tennessee Jed” they danced in harmony and passed a beach ball around the crowd.
John Mayer along with Jeff Chimenti (Ratdog) and Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers) joined founding members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart to form Dead & Company in 2015. A gift to fans like myself who never got to witness The Grateful Dead, especially before the passing of Jerry.
Dead & Company are not the Grateful Dead, however they’re also not a cover band or tribute group either. No – rather Dead & Company are more like an evolution of the Dead’s allowing for the magic and meaning of the music to live on and be heard like never before. Since the birth of the band 4 years ago, they’ve kept growing, experimenting and boldly bringing music to new and exciting places.
Vocalist Bob Weir’s voice was on point throughout, whether it was songs like “Brown Eyed Girl” or “Ship of Fools”. The grit and passion echoed through the amphitheater. The singing of the 15,000 strong in the crowd helped Weir by belting out songs “Truckin” and “Throwing Stones” like a backing track for the band.
Watching guitarist John Mayer play these songs was spiritual. Mayer, who in my opinion is one of the greatest modern guitarists of our generation, adds something special and beautiful to the songs, Shredding with a blues like feel on songs like “Dancing In The Street” and “Estimated Prophet”. Mayer putting all his passion into every note and even smiling with enjoyment at the crowd.
In the end, Dead & Company deliver a spectacle of a show, it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen both visually and musically. The band just cruised through two sets consisting of about 18 tracks with no help from an opener. The quality of the music, performance and production exceeded all my expectations and my preconceived notion of expecting a show sold basically on nostalgia where shattered and rebuilt instantly into understanding that Dead & Company are the real deal. Everything seems fresh and new, even though it’s old and familiar. It’s clear John Mayer is now the leader of the band, taking the music to places where it’s never been before and receiving a ton of Dead Head love from the packed crowd. No drugs were needed to get high from this experience although I’m sure the drugs wouldn’t heart for those looking to get further elevated by the band. As the fan next to me said “Drugs not necessary, but always recommended”.
Dead & Company are coming to a venue near you this summer; I highly recommend you don’t miss it, it’s a show you won’t regret. Check out the band’s official website to see when they’re coming your way by visiting https://deadandcompany.com/.