Dead & Company hit Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado, last night, welcoming in the first of two nights at the University of Colorado – Boulder. For Friday night’s show, the Grateful Dead act came out of the gates swinging, adding a new song to their repertoire with the debut of “Dancin’ in the Streets.” After the disco-tinged “Dancin’ in the Streets” led by Bob Weir, the group moved into “Cold Rain and Snow,” featuring John Mayer on vocals, which offered a welcome change of pace and promises of a cooler day after a ninety-plus degree day in Boulder.
Dancin’ In The Streets
Considering that the first set was composed of eight distinct songs, with the band focusing on the internal jams of each number rather than the flow amongst them, “Hell in a Bucket” signaled that Dead & Company had fully settled into the groove of the show, dialing in energetically with the audience and one another and loosening up for the remaining songs in set one. Both Mayer and Weir commanded “Hell in a Bucket,” with the bluesy interplay between Weir’s vocal and Mayer’s guitar (as well as his pristine solo that closed the song) a highlight of the first set.
From there, after a laid-back and twangy rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Big River,” the group moved into perennial favorite “Althea,” which featured patient and methodical guitar work from Mayer and the first of many standout moments for Jeff Chimenti last night on the baby grand. Picking things up following the soaring climax of “Althea,” the group moved through a slinky rendition of “New Speedway Boogie” and a soulful “The Music Never Stopped” propelled by the galloping intertwining rhythms provided by Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. Both Weir and Mayer switched over to acoustic guitars for “Ripple” for the final number of the first set.
Following set break, Dead & Company returned with “St. Stephen” to open up the second set. In true Dead fashion, some forgotten lyrics led to some confusion during “St. Stephen,” with Bobby stifling laughter as they moved through the bridge. Despite this initial mix-up, spirits were high, and the song eventually tightened up, with a gorgeous and tight jam closing out the song. From there, “Estimated Prophet” followed, which featured some exceptional interplay between Oteil Burbridge and Mayer, with their parts riffing off one another and exploring an almost dub-influenced sound as they tangentially explored the more traditional parts of the number. Billy and Mickey led out of “Estimated Prophet” with a syncopated and abrupt drop into “Eyes of the World” — a song the crowd basked in, which featured Chimenti again hitting the baby grand hard and a melodic Oteil solo building up to the climax of the song.
Another highlight of the night came during “Deal,” which saw Mayer and Weir having a blast during their collaborative vocal jam toward the end of the song. After this unexpected moment, a shimmering transition led into “Let It Grow,” before the jazzy and grinding number moved into the “Drums” portion of the show. With Mickey and Billy mediating in and out of more abstract rhythmic patterns before settling into a shared groove and then back out again, last night’s drums was pulsing, airy, and exploratory. Eventually, Mickey was left alone, making for a heavy and ambient introduction as Bob, Oteil, Jeff, and John came back to the stage for the tail end of “Space” while Mickey went to join Billy off stage.
“Space” eventually crawled its way into “The Other One,” before the dramatic tune finally dropped into a sublime rendition of “Morning Dew” to close out the second set. The show came to an end with an encore of “Touch of Grey” that got off to a cowbell-heavy start. During the feel-good encore, security guards began passing out water bottles on the field, only reiterating the communal vibe found at such shows and letting attendees leave happy and hydrated.
Setlist: Dead & Company | Folsom Field | Boulder, CO | 6/10/2017
Set One: Dancin’ in the Streets, Cold Rain and Snow, Hell in a Bucket, Big River, Althea, New Speedway Boogie, The Music Never Stopped, Ripple
Set Two: St. Stephen, Estimated Prophet > Eyes of the World, Deal > Let It Grow > Drums > Space > The Other One > Morning Dew
Encore: Touch of Grey