Dead & Company capped a two-night stand at Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts on Friday night. The sextet featuring Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann along with Jeff Chimenti, John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge fit a pair of tour debuts and the conclusion of a “Dark Star” started one night prior into Friday’s concert.
Weir led the group through “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” to get last night’s concert underway. “Mississippi Half-Step” gave way to a “Cold Rain & Snow” featuring Mayer on vocals and dropping one bluesy riff after another. Two tour debuts followed as Dead & Company dusted off “Minglewood Blues” for the first time since June 12, 2019 and then brought back Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” which was last played by the band on November 6, 2019. Bobby sang both.
Dead & Company’s first set rolled on with Mayer belting out “Dire Wolf” and sharing vocal duties with Weir on “Jack Straw.” John Mayer also starred on the “Sugaree” that brought the set to a close. The guitarist led a build to a massive, crowd-pleasing peak with his solo on the 13-minute “Sugaree.”
Bobby was in fine form in howling out the “New Speedway Boogie” lyrics to open Friday’s second set. “New Speedway” bled into “Bertha” and then the band spent five minutes jamming on a particularly cool progression that laid the groundwork for “Truckin’.” Dead & Company left “Dark Star” unfinished on Thursday, so it wasn’t surprising when the six-piece finished the psychedelic classic last night. Spanning over 17 minutes, Dead & Company explored various soundscapes on “Dark Star” and showed off impressive full-band interplay. Chimenti alternated between piano, synth and Fender Rhodes stylings as he provided the perfect compliments to Mayer’s riffs while Burbridge played powerful, rumbling bass lines. A funky excursion was the last improvisational segment before Weir finally sang the second verse of “Dark Star,” 16 minutes after the must-hear version began.
“Terrapin Station” followed featuring Mayer on lead vocals for “Lady With A Fan.” John Mayer uncorked inventive riffs with Jeff Chimenti quickly picking up on what the guitarist was laying down as the keyboardist accentuated each melody with a fine counterpoint. The crowd roared with approval when Bobby stepped to the mic for the “inspiration” lyric and did so again when Weir sang “to get to Terrapin.” Dead & Company closed out “Terrapin Station” and then the instrumentalists vacated the stage, leaving The Rhythm Devils in the spotlight for “Drums.” Oteil didn’t wait long before returning to bang out powerful beats with Kreutzmann and Hart. The three musicians stood side-by-side to provide a groovy percussive trip.
Eventually, Mickey headed to the Beam and eeked evil and eerie sounds from the instrument. Weir, Chimenti, Burbridge and Mayer then emerged for the evening’s “Space” excursion. The free-form segment paved the way for a high-octane romp through “The Other One.” Chimenti worked over his synth and Fender Rhodes with impressive results during “The Other One” jam. Friday’s second set ended with Bob Weir fronting the band on “Morning Dew.” The +13-minute version was a winner as Dead & Company varied tempos between Weir’s impactful delivery of the verses and throughout Mayer’s emotion-laden solo. A snappy “U.S. Blues” served as the encore.
Dead & Company tour resumes in Hartford on Sunday. Livestreams are available via LiveDead.co. Stream an audience recording of Friday’s show taped by JT/NY below:
Watch two pro-shot videos as well as fan-shot footage from last night’s concert:
Setlist (via Dead & Company Instagram)
Set One: Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo > Cold Rain & Snow, Minglewood Blues, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Dire Wolf, Jack Straw, Sugaree
Set Two: New Speedway Boogie > Bertha > Truckin’ > Dark Star (Verse 2) > Terrapin Station > Drums > Space > The Other One > Morning Dew
Encore: U.S. Blues