For all its foibles and annoyances, 2019 has been a banner year for live music, especially when it comes to the classics. A number of major American cities—including Los Angeles—played host to a parade of melodic legends from Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder, to the Rolling Stones and the Who.

However, Los Angeles was the only city—unless you count the Bay Area as one giant municipality—to see Dead & Company come through not once, but twice. Four times, if you include both shows at each stop. Or eight times, if you break it down into sets.

Whichever mathematical methodology you subscribe to, the Grateful Dead’s latest reincarnation, Dead & Company, came back to The Forum in Inglewood, CA on the Friday following Christmas to kick off its four-night year-end Fun Run celebration. If Night One was any indication, the rest of this sprint is not to be missed.

Bob Weir continued the fine form he’s flashed from end to end in 2019. The 72-year-old brought a more vibrant voice to bear on Dead standards, with “Truckin’” off the top. He and John Mayer alternated on lead vocals with aplomb. That allowed the 42-year-old singer and guitarist to strut his stuff on “Alabama Getaway”, “They Love Each Other”, and “Brown Eyed Woman” while his senior belted out “Ramble on Rose”, “Me and My Uncle”, and “Cassidy”—and that was just during the first set.

Dead & Company – “Ramble on Rose” – 12/27/19

[Video: Norm Smyth]

The second set took things a bit slower, starting with extended renditions of “Playing With the Band” and “Terrapin Station”. Oteil Burbridge took his turn putting his pipes to work—in addition to his perfunctory work on bass—as the lead on “China Doll”, and stuck around for the barrel-banging fun with Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart on “Drums”. That, along with “Space”, comprised the filling of a sonic sandwich with “The Other One” as the bread.

After a steady romp through “Wharf Rat”, Dead & Company ramped the energy in The Forum back up for “U.S. Blues” before returning for an acoustic encore with “Ripple.”

Dead & Company – “Wharf Rat” & “U.S. Blues” – 12/27/19

[Video: Digby]

All the while, the crowd of 17,000-plus that filled The Forum—including a few miracles from the parking lot’s Shakedown Street and, of course, Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton—sang their lungs out and danced through the aisles.

Check out pro-shot videos of both the first and second set openers below.

Dead & Company – “Truckin'” – 12/27/19 – [Pro-Shot]

[Video: nugsnet]

Dead & Company – “Playing in the Band” – 12/27/19 – [Pro-Shot]

[Video: nugsnet]

While the Fun Run has one more night in Los Angeles, and another two at the brand-new Chase Center in San Francisco, the herd of Deadheads that came out for the opening night wasn’t about to wait until New Year’s Eve to celebrate like it’s 2020.

2019 was an outstanding year in live music for fans and artists alike. Here’s to hoping 2020 turns out to be just as groovy, if not more so.

Below, check out a gallery of photos from the show courtesy of Mattew Rea.

Setlist: Dead & Company | The Forum | Inglewood, CA | 12/27/19

Set 1: Truckin’ > Alabama Getaway, Ramble on Rose, They Love Each Other, Me & My Uncle, Cassidy > Brown Eyed Women, Don’t Ease Me In

Set 2: Playing in the Band* > Lady With A Fan> Terrapin Station, China Doll, The Other One > Drums > Space > The Other One > Wharf Rat, U.S. Blues

E: Ripple


*w/Led Zeppelin “No Quarter” tease