Dead & Company brought sunshine daydreams to a rainy sky in Burgettstown, PA on Thursday night at the KeyBank Pavilion. Both sets were laced with Grateful Dead classics that were superbly played through, exemplifying the tear the band has been on this tour. Eleven shows into summer, the band used the evening to introduce a few tour debuts to the mix.
With the forecast set for rain and thunderstorms all night, the band kicked off the show with purpose. The set started off with a funky “Feel Like a Stranger” and “Easy Wind.” Guitarist John Mayer rocked it, with his blues guitar and vocal prowess matching the song perfectly. Pictures of Pigpen flashed on the screen towards the end of the song, with the crowd approving mightily. It was during this song that the torrential downpour hit. It didn’t last long, but left the place wet and muddy enough to add some extra fun to the lawn.
“Cumberland Blues” had percussionist Mickey Hart playing what appeared to be shoes, clapping them together throughout the song. Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti shined on his solo, tickling the ivories for the song’s solo. “Throwin’ Stones,” played at a slower tempo, allowed a euphoric peak to be hit by Mayer. The jam was heavy on the energy and that brought the set to a great closing. It was also the song’s tour debut.
As the sun was setting, the grooves ensued for a second-set opening “Jack Straw” that was monstrous. Mayer kept insisting that they delay the guitar chords, and when they finally sang “Jack Straw from Wichita…,” the place erupted. It was an amazing version.
“Viola Lee Blues” kept the place dancing. Besides his playing, Mayer’s stage demeanor was entertaining. The way he was moving and shaking with his own groove was impressive. “He’s Gone” was wholesome to hear. “The Wheel” had a nice jam that turned reggae, with Mayer really belting out the outro lyrics before getting incredible dark.
All of the sudden, a low rumble roll escaped Oteil Burbridge’s bridge, each note increasing in tone, culminating in the beginning of “The Other One.” The way he perfectly executed it was distinct to his own playing while still reminiscent of others who have done the same thing. “Drums” and “Space” were out there, and eventually landed in the conclusion of “The Other One.” The band finally played fan-favorite “Wharf Rat” on this tour, and it was soulful as ever. “Casey Jones” ended the set with a bang. The final tour debut of the evening was the encore-appropriate “Liberty.”
Watch the first few songs from the first set below, courtesy of nugs.tv.
Setlist: Dead & Company | Burgettstown, PA | KeyBank Pavilion | 6/15/17
I: Feel Like A Stranger, Easy Wind, Cassidy, West LA Fadeaway, Row Jimmy, Cumberland Blues, Throwin’ Stones
II: Jackstraw, Viola Lee Blues > He’s Gone > The Wheel > The Other One v.1 > Drums/Space > The Other One v.2, Wharf Rat > Casey Jones
Enjoy the gallery below, courtesy of Daniel Ojeda.