Dead & Company tour rolled into Darien Center, New York on Wednesday, where the band honored Charlie Watts one day after his death by debuting a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time.” The group’s take on the Stones’ 1965 single came within last night’s second set at Darien Lake Amphitheater.
The sextet consisting of Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann along with Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti and John Mayer began Wednesday’s concert by performing “Viola Lee Blues.” Dead & Company made it through two verses and showed off impressive interplay before landing on a Mayer-sung “Cold Rain & Snow.” Next up was a lengthy take on “Feel Like A Stranger” led by Weir featuring a particularly funky jam between verses.
Dead & Company took it down a notch with John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge teaming up to sing a gorgeous “Ship Of Fools.” The band then lit into “Friend Of The Devil” before capping the frame with “Loose Lucy” and “New Speedway Boogie.”
Last night’s second set began with a bit of improvisation that laid the groundwork for the tour’s second “Truckin’.” Spanning nearly 15 minutes, Mayer shined by stringing together one fiery lead guitar riff after another. “Playing In The Band” came next and featured more fretboard fireworks from John Mayer ahead of the band concluding “Viola Lee Blues.” Next up was the familiar pairing of “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider.”
“Rider” gave way to “The Last Time,” a song the Grateful Dead performed 69 times between 1990 and 1995 as per Setlist.FM. Bobby handled lead vocals as an image incorporating both The Rolling Stones’ logo and the Dead’s Steal Your Face logo was projected behind the band. It was then time for the evening’s “Drums” segment. Burbridge joined Kreutzmann and Hart in pounding out powerful beats before Mickey headed to the Beam. The instrumentalists returned for a dark and eerie “Space” excursion that bled into “Uncle John’s Band.”
Dead & Company took “Uncle John’s” deep as one of the improvisational highlights of the night. Weir then led the group through the beloved Garcia/Hunter classic “Wharf Rat” for the first time this tour. “Wharf Rat” flowed into “Playing In The Band Reprise” to close the set. The six-piece ended the show with a “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” encore. Dead & Company picks up the tour on Friday night at SPAC in Saratoga Springs, New York. A livestream is available via LiveDead.co.
Watch fan-shot video of “The Last Time” captured by DanLucky11 along with pro-shot video of the songs that opened each set:
Stream an audience recording of last night’s show taped by JT/NY below:
Setlist (via Dead & Company Instagram)
Set One: Viola Lee Blues > Cold Rain & Snow, Feel Like A Stranger, Ship Of Fools, Friend Of The Devil, Loose Lucy, New Speedway Boogie
Set Two: Truckin’ > Playing In The Band > Viola Lee Blues > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > The Last Time > Drums/Space > Uncle John’s Band > Wharf Rat > Playing In The Band Reprise
Encore: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door