Dead & Company made their triumphant return to New York City Sunday night, playing an instant classic show at Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, home of the New York Mets. The band, comprised of Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart alongside John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti—performed two tremendously stacked sets with the help of a very special guest: Jerry Garcia’s beloved guitar, Wolf. While Wolf is currently on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of their amazing “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll” exhibit, it appropriately made its way to Queens and into the hands of Mayer for Dead & Co’s lone NYC date of the summer.

The night after an absolute heater of a show at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the band kicked off one of the most noteworthy performances of their career with a powerful “St. Stephen” to greet the New York City crowd. The slinky notes of the outro jam soon gave way to “Cold Rain and Snow”, which found Mayer exploring the bluesy, gritty tones of his instrumental heirloom as the sun set in neon strips of orange and pink over Flushing Bay.

Bob Weir built up a crawling, Sunday-appropriate “Samson and Delilah” that emerged from the lingering blaze of blues arpeggios, making up in funkiness what it lacked in speed. Mayer found new space between bassist Oteil Burbridge and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart in the deep groove. Weir and Burbridge teamed up next for a beautiful take on “High Time,” with Burbridge’s clear tone ringing true through the fading light of the big Queens night.

Next, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and Mayer clearly couldn’t wait to bust out “They Love Each Other”, which has been more scarce during this summer tour. Their enthusiasm shined through smokin’ organ licks and scorching tremolo-heavy guitar solos. Weir then led the stadium on a spirited romp through “Ramble on Rose” before Mayer recaptured the reins for a standout performance of “Sugaree” that sent Wolf’s sweet melodies twisting through the air. Finally, an intense and dynamic rendition of “Jack Straw” brought a dream first set to a galloping close.

Set two began on a grand scale, with the mystical opening chords of “Lady With a Fan/Terrapin Station” splaying out against the inky sky. The epic favorite came to a rumbling climax before the unmistakable pop of “Althea” drove the crowd over the edge. Mayer loves playing this song in New York City, and it certainly showed in the way his frenetic soloing led the song up and over several wild peaks. From this funky madness came “Scarlet Begonias” like an old friend, a rendition which featured particularly flaming interplay between Chimenti and Mayer.

Burbridge then took over lead vocals for “Fire on the Mountain,” which proceeded according to plan for a few minutes until a major sound malfunction cut the audio from the speaker towers. The band continued to play, seemingly unaware of the issue, for an uneasy few seconds. The discovery of the malfunction, followed by a remarkable (albeit brief) “Fire” singalong, led the band to descend into the depths of “Drums/Space”, perhaps a little preemptively. Attentive fans with their eyes on the stage screens also caught a glimpse of the remainder of the night’s setlist taped to Billy’s drum riser, sparking excitement for what would be a few stellar final “innings.”

The crew did recover relatively quickly, fixing some apparently bad sound issues in time for the band to launch into “The Wheel”. Next, the manic rhythms of “The Other One” filled the stadium, culminating in a breakdown that birthed an absolutely transcendent “Morning Dew”. The band took their bows before quickly returning to the stage to encore with a brief yet tender singalong of “Brokedown Palace” to finish just under the 11 p.m. curfew.

All in all, the show was an instant classic, with two monstrously stacked sets full of definitive renditions of crowd favorites. Fans will surely be discussing this show for decades to come. Aside from what was, in itself, one of the band’s best performances to date, the emotional impact of Wolf’s presence and power can’t be understated. The Doug Irwin-designed guitar’s magical glint from the stage and its familiar, long-lost voice moved many in the audience to tears. More than that, Mayer’s humility and discipline in the face of overwhelming responsibility has endeared him with Deadheads over the course of five tours and counting. The fact that he felt accepted enough to play Wolf, the symbol of this very responsibility, at such a significant gig should speak for itself.

Watch a selection of videos from Dead & Company at Citi Field below. You can also scroll down to check out a gallery of photos from the performance courtesy of photographer Kevin Cole.

Dead & Company – “St. Stephen” [Pro-Shot]

[Video: Dead & Company]

Dead & Company – “High Time”

[Video: Sean Roche]

Dead & Company – “Ramble On Rose”

[Video: Sean Roche]

Dead & Company – “Jack Straw”

[Video: Sean Roche]

Dead & Company – “Lady With A Fan/Terrapin Station” [Pro-Shot]

[Video: Dead & Company]

Dead & Company – “Althea”

[Video: Sean Roche]

Dead & Company – “Morning Dew”

[Video: Sean Roche]

Dead & Company – “Brokedown Palace”

[Video: Sean Roche]

View Videos

Next up for Dead & Company is a performance at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia on Thursday, June 26th. For a full list of upcoming dates, head here.

Setlist: Dead & Company | Citi Field | New York, NY | 6/23/19

Set One: St. Stephen, Cold Rain and Snow, Samson & Delilah, They Love Each Other, Ramble On Rose, Sugaree, Jack Straw

Set Two: Lady With a Fan/Terrapin Station, Althea, Scarlet Begonias, Fire on the Mountain, Drums/Space, The Wheel, The Other One, Morning Dew

Encore: Brokedown Palace