Dead & Company Welcomes Back Bill Kreutzmann In Phoenix: Setlist, Recap & The Skinny

Dead & Company Welcomes Back Bill Kreutzmann In Phoenix: Setlist, Recap & The Skinny

Drummer Bill Kreutzmann returned to the kit for Dead & Company‘s Fall Tour 2021 stop in Phoenix on Monday. Kreutzmann had missed the last four shows of the run due to a non-COVID-19 related illness with Jay Lane stepping up to fill-in for the group’s Colorado concerts.

“This was the first time in my entire career that I ever had to call in sick, but sometimes you just have to give yourself a time out,” Kreutzmann wrote on his social feeds before the concert at Ak-Chin Pavilion. “I’m pleased to report that the doctors have cleared me to return to the road and continue doing what I love the most – playing music for all of you – for a long time to come.”

While the weather was clear and temperatures approached 90 degrees in Phoenix, Dead & Company went with “Cold Rain & Snow” to open last night. Guitarist John Mayer handled vocals on the traditional tune which gave way to the tour’s first “Loser.” Bob Weir passionately sang the heavy number as Mayer unleashed one firey blues-tinged riff after another and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti echoed each melody. The guitarists continue to pass the lead vocal baton back and forth with Mayer fronting “Dire Wolf” and Weir stepping back into the spotlight for the tour debut of the “Lost Sailor”/”Saint Of Circumstance” pairing. Bassist Oteil Burbridge starred on the sequence by providing a deep in-the-pocket feel throughout, especially ahead of the transition into “Saint Of Circumstance” and the ensuing jam.

John Mayer stepped up next for a rollicking “Big Railroad Blues.” Then, Burbridge fronted the band on a gorgeous “China Doll,” yet another tour debut. It’s tough to remember a time when Oteil didn’t sing lead with Dead & Company but it took nearly two years before the bassist was given the opportunity and it all started with “China Doll” back at Shoreline in 2017. The sextet followed “China Doll” with an expansive “Let It Grow” to end the set. Chimenti urged Mayer on during the smoking “Let It Grow” jam, which featured stellar interplay between the two.

Read on after The Skinny for the rest of the recap and more.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Ak-Chin Pavilion [See upcoming shows]


1 show

The Music

8 songs

9 songs

17 songs
14 originals / 3 covers / 0 misc


7.8 [Gap chart]


Loser, Lost Sailor, Saint Of Circumstance, China Doll, Touch Of Grey, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door LTP 08/25/2021(21 Show Gap)

Black Peter 15:19

Big Railroad Blues 5:47

The Grateful Dead – 1, Workingman’s Dead – 3, Wake of the Flood – 1, From the Mars Hotel – 3, Shakedown Street – 1, Go To Heaven – 3, In The Dark – 1

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Dead & Co. kept fans on their toes by kicking off last night’s second set with “Jack Straw,” the first time the song has appeared in one of the band’s second set since June 15, 2017. The band patiently worked through every segment of “Jack Straw” with Mayer going falsetto for his part of the duet with Weir. An unusual “Althea” featuring a slide guitar solo from Weir followed. More surprises were in store for the crowd as the ensuing “Scarlet Begonias” bled into “Touch Of Grey” instead of “Fire On The Mountain.” John Mayer let the fretboard fireworks fly throughout “Scarlet” while Oteil kept on hinting at “Fire.” The sextet pulled off an impressive swerve transition into “Touch” deftly led by Bob Weir.

The audience wouldn’t have to wait long for “Fire” to arrive as Oteil kicked into the fan-favorite as the final notes of “Touch” rang out. Burbridge powerfully delivered the lead vocals and provided a funky base for a concise jam featuring organ and piano solos from Chimenti. “Fire On The Mountain” faded to near silence as the instrumentalists left The Rhythm Devils on stage for the evening’s “Drums” excursion. Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart went heavy on samples last night and were soon joined by Oteil Burbridge for the adventurous percussion trip. Eventually, Hart headed to the Beam and utilized a particularly cool sample to lay the groundwork for “Space.” Chimenti gave a tour of his rig during the nine-minute improvisation as he used every keyboard in his setup. Jeff landed on an eerie progression he played over and over again before the drummers returned for “Casey Jones.”

Last night’s spirited “Casey Jones” was followed by the heavy “Black Peter.” The band took their time moving through the Hunter/Garcia ballad which spanned over 15 minutes and was the longest song of the night. Weir’s heartfelt and emotive vocals earned hearty cheers from the crowd. Bobby responded with some of his trademark howls. Dead & Company went with a lighter feel to end the set with “U.S. Blues.” Yet it was back to the dark and reflective feel for the evening’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” encore. Weir played acoustic guitar on the band’s first rendition of the Bob Dylan classic since August.

Dead & Company resumes the tour on in Chula Vista, California on Wednesday. Livestreams can be purchased via Watch pro-shot video featuring the first song from last night’s sets below:

Set One