On Friday night, Dead & Company continued their 2018 summer tour with a performance at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta, GA. Coming off a monster midweek show at Indiana’s Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center (Deer Creek), the band took the stage at Lakewood with a sense of freshness and free-flowing spirit.
Guitarist John Mayer stated earlier in the day on his Instagram that “one of my favorite setlist rarities is making an appearance,” leaving Dead & Company fans anxious to see what the night would bring. Following five (4.75) shows this tour without repeating any material, the band finally welcomed their first repetition on night six—maintaining their stride with a handful of tour debuts and a couple of tunes that had not been played since about this time last year.
After taking their time to get settled on stage, the band dropped into a cover of The Dixie Cups’ “Iko Iko”, with Bob Weir front and center lending an extra hand on the tambourine. Despite some early struggles with the lyrics, Bobby and his five compadres sounded tight—a sure sign that the band is fully warmed-up and has the shelves dusted off entering their second weekend of summer tour.
Weir kept on truckin’, taking lead vocals on “I Need A Miracle”, as John Mayer and bassist Oteil Burbridge locked in a groove, spreading the weekend vibes of TGIF all around the Atlanta crowd. John Mayer has professed an insurmountable amount of admiration for the late and great Jerry Garcia, and seeing him take the reigns on “Alabama Getaway” is quite the treat. Adding a little bit of his own spice to the lyrics, Mayer torched the crowd with scorching guitar solos, intently focused on and feeding off of Weir’s twangy rhythm riffs.
Bob Weir switched over to acoustic guitar, giving way to a beautiful rendition of “Black Throated Wind”. Nailing the vocals, Bobby was shining bright, leading the band into “West LA Fadeaway”. With Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart anchoring the band in the pocket, Mayer and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti took the reigns and found some exploratory ground together. “Brown-Eyed Women” came next, highlighted by a silky-smooth Chimenti solo, before Dead & Company brought set one to a close with an enormously well-received duo, “Lost Sailor”> “Saint Of Circumstance”, which had not been played since June of 2017.
Dead & Company came back out for set two, with John Mayer rocking a shirt stating, “Finding Time To Play The Flute To Planet Ocean”, in honor of World Oceans Day. Although there was no flute on hand, Mayer led the sextet into a gorgeous tour debut of “Here Comes Sunshine”, taking charge on vocals. In recent months, members of Dead & Company have mentioned how comfortable they feel playing together, and last night was an example of this, start to finish.
“Eyes Of The World”, which came next, is a great example of this cohesive playing. Weir and Mayer have become extremely comfortable onstage with each other, harmonizing on the chorus of “Eyes” with great delight. Chimenti got plenty of time to let it all out, delivering a massive solo tickling the ivories, as all six members had shit-eating grins from ear to ear. The “Eyes” went extremely deep, with the band giving Burbridge a segment to throw down some electric-jazzy bass, before dropping back into the main theme of the jam.
Seamlessly segueing into a rather-rare second set “Althea”, John Mayer belted out the classic Jerry Garcia tune with passion and intensity, setting the tone for the remainder of the splendid Friday evening in Atlanta. Mayer and Chimenti spit bluesy solos back and forth at each other, before crashing back into the opening theme of “Althea”.
Dead & Company kept the jams coming, with the band delivering a “Scarlet Begonias” with no walls or boundaries. As the lights animated firey tones, Oteil Burbridge led the band into “Fire On The Mountain”, erupting cheers from the crowd. Oteil’s lead on vocals is infrequent, but when he does, pure magic is sure to ensue. As Mickey’s percussive sounds grew, the Rhythm Devils dropped into “Drums/Space”, a guarantee midway point through the second set at any Dead & Company show.
Bob Weir led the band into a stellar cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”, another tour debut and favorite amongst John Mayer guitar fans. Watching Dead & Company pick their favorite covers from the Dead’s extensive catalog is quite the treat, and last night’s late-set selection was a perfect selection for a second set cover.
The somber yet grounding first notes of “Morning Dew” rang out, paving the path for Mayer to give it his all, spitting out notes like rapid-fire. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Mayer, Weir brought it all home with the lyrics, ” I guess it doesn’t matter anyway”. A perfect message to send to a receptive crowd, “Morning Dew” brought set two in Atlanta to a close. A cover of Chuck Berry‘s “Johnny B. Goode” served as the encore, after about a year on the shelf, to bring the explosive evening to a halt.
You can listen to full audio of the show via nugs.net. Next up for the band is a show at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, NC tonight, June 9th. For a full list of Dead & Company’s upcoming shows, head to their website.
Setlist: Dead & Company | Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood | Atlanta, GA| 5/8/2018
Set One: Iko Iko, I Need A Miracle, Alabama Getaway, Black Throated Wind, West LA Fadeaway, Brown Eyed Women, Lost Sailor> Saint Of Circumstance
Set Two: Here Comes Sunshine> Eyes Of The World> Althea, Scarlet Begonia>Fire On The Mountain> Drums/Space> All Along The Watchtower, Morning Dew
Encore: Johnny B. Goode