Dead & Company used the band’s first night at Wrigley Field in Chicago to send a clear message about where they stood on Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which struck a major blow to women’s rights in the United States. The band played a few woman-themed songs accompanied by images of protest and the “Save Our Rights” female empowerment stealie, and Bob Weir cursed the Court with an altered lyric, changing a line in the politician-damning “Throwing Stones” to, “Money green’s the only way you can buy the whole goddamn Supreme Court today.”
Weir arrived on the stage sporting his Elvis Presley TCB sunglasses at 6:45 p.m. ready to take care of business with help from Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, and Jay Lane, who filled in for Bill Kreutzmann once again as the Grateful Dead drummer took time to heal after pulling a muscle at the band’s show in Boulder, CO. Kreutzmann posted on social media before the concert, alerting fans to the lineup change.
“After getting my MRI results back this morning and then having lunch with Jay Lane, I asked him to take the wheel for the night so that I can come back at 150% for the rest of the tour… and beyond,” he wrote. Bill the Drummer did grace the stage during “Drums” and returned for the final song of the evening despite his injury, helping to close the show with a triumphant “Not Fade Away”, but the rest of the two-set show featured honorary Rhythm Devil and veteran Dead & Co sub Jay Lane, whose solid but laid-back playing subtly influenced the band’s musical trajectory throughout the night.
The band opened with a predictable choice, sticking up for womankind with a reminder that “women are smarter” as they played King Radio‘s “Man Smart, Woman Smarter”. Powerful photos of marching protestors carrying poignant signs, including Weir himself and his wife Natascha, gave context to the song in case it was unclear to anyone what the band was trying to express.
Dead & Company – “Man Smart, Woman Smarter”
John Mayer then guided the ensemble as they slid right into a blissful “Eyes of the World” featuring Bob Weir on lead vocals. Mayer then took the lead on “Bertha” and a rare cover of Junior Parker‘s “Next Time You See Me”, marking the second performance since 2018 of the blues number sung by Ron “Pigpen” McKernan in the Dead’s early days.
Dead & Company – “Next Time You See Me”
[Video: Scott Sigman]
The band then got celestial, offering the first verse of “Dark Star” before segueing into Traffic‘s “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, which Dead & Co recently debuted at the tour opener in L.A., with Weir and Mayer supplying tag team vocals.
Dead & Company – “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, “Hey Jude” Reprise
Next the band reprised “Hey Jude”, having played a moving rendition of the song to honor Sir Paul McCartney‘s birthday in Boulder, CO a week prior. They then wrapped up the first set with “Althea”, with John Mayer singing the song that brought him into the Grateful Dead world after he performed it with Bob Weir while guest hosting The Late Late Show in 2015.
After a 40-minute set break, Dead & Company returned with a reminder of the night’s main theme—women’s rights. First they played “Throwing Stones”, which included the aforementioned reference to the corrupt Supreme Court, after which John Mayer sang lead on “Brown Eyed Women”, marking the first-ever appearance in a second set of the first set staple.
Dead & Company – “Throwing Stones”
In traditional set two fashion, the band then got a little experimental with the odd-timed “Estimated Prophet”, which led directly into the second verse of the first set’s unfinished “Dark Star”. Things then got sentimental with a soul-stirring “Sing Me Back Home” with both Weir and Mayer on vocals.
The band then kicked the energy up a notch with a sequence beginning with “Truckin”, which featured a “Foxy Lady” jam, perhaps intended as another reference to women. Bill Kreutzmann then made his first onstage appearance of the night as the band descended into a psychedelic “Drums”, with Oteil Burbridge also joining in on the percussive fun. Needless to say, “Space” came next, leading the band back into earthly music as they played a cover of Miles Davis‘s “All Blues” for the very first time.
“Cumberland Blues” arrived next, with Weir and Mayer sharing vocal duties, followed by a rapturous “Stella Blue”. Finally, Bill Kreutzmann returned to the stage to cap off the night with “Not Fade Away”, signaling that the band is not yet finished—either with their run in Chicago, which continues tonight, or with their fight for a just America, which is never-ending.
View photos from Dead & Company’s show at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on June 24th, courtesy of photographer Dave Vann, below.
Dead & Company – “Cumberland Blues”, “Stella Blue”, “Not Fade Away”
[Video: Scott Sigman]
Dead & Company – Wrigley Field – Chicago, IL – 6/24/22 – Full Show
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Setlist: Dead & Company | Wrigley Field | Chicago, IL | 6/24/22
Set One: Man Smart Woman Smarter > Eyes of the World > Bertha, Next Time You See Me, Dark Star > Dear Mr. Fantasy > Hey Jude Reprise, Althea
Set Two: Throwing Stones, Brown-Eyed Women, Estimated Prophet > Dark Star > Sing Me Back Home > Truckin’  > Drums  > Space > All Blues  > Cumberland Blues > Stella Blue, Not Fade Away
 w/ Foxy Lady jam
 w/ Bill Kreutzmann
 Dead & Company debut
Jay Lane filled in for Bill Kreutzmann on drums for most of the show