Drummer Bill Kreutzmann will not be in the lineup when Dead & Company takes the stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO tonight, October 19th. The Tuesday performance, the band’s first of two shows at the famed natural amphitheater this week, will serve as Dead & Company’s Red Rocks debut.

According to an update posted shortly before showtime, Kreutzmann will be sitting out due to an illness unrelated to COVID-19. In Billy’s place, drummer Jay Lane—familiar to Deadheads through his work with Wolf Bros and various other Grateful Dead-related projects—will fill in on drums alongside Mickey Hart.

[UPDATE 10/20/21]: Check out our full recap of the eventful show here.

Kreutzmann went into more detail in a post on his own Facebook page. Read the full note from Bill Kreutzmann on his absence from tonight’s Dead & Company show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre below:

Friends, one of the many things this pandemic has reminded us is that health is more important than anything. I developed some cold-like symptoms this week and had it checked out and I am relieved to report that it isn’t covid and also isn’t anything serious. However, out of an abundance of caution, my medical team has advised me to take it easy so that I can continue to do what I love – make music with my brothers.

Having just been to Red Rocks with the Kids, I can tell you that the altitude up here really affects me and can compound with the respiratory symptoms I’ve been experiencing today to make for unnecessary difficulties. So out of an abundance of caution we called in my friend Jay Lane to assist in the drum chair tonight.

I love you and don’t worry — I’m not going anywhere. I’m just taking a breather, so to speak, so that we can continue to dance and shake our bones. I’ll be back to full steam ahead momentarily.

Thanks for understanding,

Neither Kreutzmann nor the band has yet noted whether the drummer will be available at other upcoming shows, which include Wednesday’s second night at Red Rocks and a pair of shows at nearby Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Englewood, CO on Friday, October 22nd and Saturday, October 23rd, likely opting to take a wait-and-see approach.

As Bob Weir noted when the band took the stage with Lane just moments ago, “So, we got a bit of a situation here tonight, and JonBo [John Mayer] here’s gonna help me explain it to y’all.”

“It’s not COVID…” Mayer began. “…But it ain’t good,” Weir added. “And so, Billy is not gonna be joining us tonight, Billy Kreutzmann. And to make matters worse [laughs], we have Jay Lane on here.”

“But Bob,” Mayer chimed in matter-of-factly, “what would you say to the people in the crowd who are now concerned about the condition of our friend and brother, Billy Kreutzmann?” Bob responded, “Billy will be just fine. It’s not a COVID situation, and we look forward to his return, but in the meantime, the show must go on.” With that, the band launched into a show-opening “Not Fade Away”. Watch a video of the intro and the show-opening tune below.

Dead & Company – Intro Message > “Not Fade Away” > “New Speedway Boogie”

While Dead & Company has never performed at Red Rocks, this Dead spirit runs deep in Morrison. The Grateful Dead performed there numerous times during the group’s three-decade run, while GratefulDead/Dead & Co members Bob Weir (with Wolf Bros) and Bill Kreutzmann (with Billy & The Kids) have both already performed at the venue in 2021. We’ll have to wait and see whether Billy is ready to get back on stage at Red Rocks with Dead & Co tomorrow.

Feel better, Billy K, and break a leg, Jay! Head here for a full list of upcoming Dead & Company tour dates and check back on Live For Live Music tomorrow for a full recap of the performance.


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