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I Saw Dead People.

Dead+&+Company2

…and I was one of them.

On Sunday night at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ I saw roughly 20,000 Dead people all there to see Dead & Company, the current post-Jerry configuration of the band which includes long time members: Bob Weir, Bill Kruetzmann and Mickey Hart as well as newer members John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti. This configuration was formed post-Chicago Fare Thee Well shows in the summer of 2015. In “preparation” for the show (not that prep was necessary) I watched all four hours of Long Strange Trip, the terrific new documentary about the Grateful Dead which premiered on Amazon last month. It’s a must see for Deadheads and chronicles the group’s birth in the 60s through Jerry’s passing in 1995.

kiddiesI went to the show with my buddy Jon Seitz of MayoSeitz Media and our kiddies, Carolyn and Carl, shown here. Glad to have passed the appreciation of the Dead to the next generation, even though they never had an opportunity to see Jerry.

Obviously the group has changed over the years. Pig Pen, organist, blues lover and an original member, was gone first in 1973. And most importantly, the group’s spiritual leader, Jerry Garcia, passed away in 1995. In addition, Bassist Phil Lesh, who continues to tour with his band, is not accompanying this Dead incarnation. But the band, while different, still captures the spirit of the original. My biggest surprise continues to be how well lead guitarist John Mayer has fit with the group. He’s not a Jerry sound alike but provides tons of energy, vocals and great guitar playing.

This was the third time I’ve seen Dead & Company—first in 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City and the last two summers in Camden. That follows the 50+ Grateful Dead/Kingfish/Jerry Garcia Band/Rat Dog, Furthur, etc. shows I’ve seen since 1971 (yes the 1971 show was with Pig Pen—I am showing my age). The vast majority of shows I have attended were in the 70s and 80s.

I have never been disappointed seeing the Dead or their various spin offs, yet on the other hand, never fully satisfied. When you have a catalog of hundreds of songs you will never have a show that includes all your favorites, though Sunday’s show was special to me.

dead concertThe concert included many tunes from my personal favorite concert wish list, including Casey Jones at end of set one, Sugar Magnolia, at then end of set two, and Brokedown Palace as the encore. The full set list for the Camden show was:

Set 1:

Feel Like a Stranger

Brown-Eyed Women

Ramble On Rose

They Love Each Other

Little Red Rooster

Big Boss Man

Cumberland Blues

Casey Jones

Set 2:

Iko Iko

Deal

Help on the Way

Slipknot!

Franklin’s Tower

Drums & Space

The Wheel

Stella Blue

Sugar Magnolia

Encore

Brokedown Palace

The original band members will now all be in their 70s (Weir will turn 70 later this year), so I go to each show knowing it might be their last tour. Obviously the inclusion of the original members is critical, because without them, the Dead would merely a tribute band, regardless of the talent in the band.

I am also not a spring chicken any longer (at least not in body, but am I in mind). But going to see the Dead provides me 4 hours of musical pleasure, fun and memories along with the opportunity to see 20,000 Dead people.

Fare Thee Well. Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul. Until next time…




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