Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
John Mayer Infuses Dead and Company With Forceful New Energy
NEW YORK — If you’re a fan of the Grateful Dead, or of music in general, my advice is Run, Don’t Walk, to see Dead and Company.
After seeing both of the Fare Thee Well shows this summer in Santa Clara, Calif. (but none of the three Chicago shows), this was like witnessing a totally new band from the one that killed it with five shows this summer for the band’s 50th anniversary.
John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge have infused the group with a forceful new energy after teaming up with original Dead members Bobby Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, along with Jeff Chimenti, who played keyboards on the five Fare Thee Well shows.
When I interviewed Weir back in May, he didn’t rule out the band returning to Madison Square Garden, and their return was triumphant indeed.
“This place is going to keep calling us back forever,” Weir told me.
Mayer just shreds on guitar, channeling everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards and Derek Trucks into his own dominant style.
He’s doing things on the guitar that Jerry Garcia never did. All due respect to Trey Anastasio, but Mayer is a force of nature up there.
“Whatever they’re paying him isn’t enough,” the gentlemen seated next to me said after correctly predicting that Mayer would “crush it on Deal.”
Burbridge, the longtime Allman Brothers Band bassist, settled into a groove alongside Mayer, providing yet another boost to The Dead via The Allmans. Warren Haynes, after all, played lead guitar in both bands simultaneously for a spell.
Weir, 68, seems inspired and revitalized playing alongside this younger front line of guitarists.
Weir has certainly come a long way from the night I saw him collapse on stage at The Capitol Theatre two and a half years ago during a Furthur show supposedly because he took too many Ambiens. He looks energized, refreshed and inspired.
The first-set opened with Jack Straw and it got better and better from there, with Brown Eyed Women, Ramble on Rose, Althea and Cassidy among the first-set highlights.
Led by Mayer up front, the band continued with a strong second set that featured one blazing and soulful rendition after another, from Truckin’ to Estimated Prophet (which they didn’t play in California even though everyone wanted it) to Eyes of the World to Terrapin Station to China-Rider before closing up with One More Saturday Night.
On Halloween, the encore couldn’t have been anything but Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London. It was and it didn’t disappoint. What a great night seeing this new band in action.
They’re back at MSG Sunday night and again on Nov. 7 and are touring through the end of the year. Run, don’t walk, to catch them.
Setlist via Deadheadland.comI Dead & Co.Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015HalloweenMadison Square GardenNew York, NY
Bob Weir – guitar, vocals
John Mayer – guitar, vocals
Billy Kreutzman – drums & percussion
Mickey Hart – drums & percussion
Jeff Chimenti – keyboards, vocals
Oteil Burbridge – bass, vocals
Set 1 7:45pm – 9:00pm
Jack Straw bw jm >
New Speedway Boogie bw
Brown Eyed Women jm
Ramble On Rose bw
Althea jm >
Cassidy bw >
Set 2 9:45pm – 11:55pm
Truckin’ bw >
Wang Dang Doodle bw >
Estimated Prophet bw >
Eyes of the World bw >
Lady With a Fan jm >
Terrapin Station bw >
Drums > Space >
China Cat Sunflower bw >
I Know You Rider bw jm jc >
Morning Dew bw >
One More Saturday Night bw
E: Werewolves of London jm bw
Set list compiled by Rob Scalcione
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.