Giants of jam joined forces at Boulder, CO’s Folsom Field on Monday as Dead & Company welcomed a surprise sit-in from Dave Matthews—the only other artist to headline the venue in the past 30 years. In true Dave fashion, the South Africa-born guitar slinger wielded his usual acoustic axe as the augmented septet tore through Bob Dylan‘s “All Along the Watchtower” and The Crickets‘ “Not Fade Away” at the end of the second set, subsequently returning for a two-song encore featuring another Dylan cover, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, and The Band‘s classic “The Weight”.

Before the show, rumors of a Dave Matthews sit-in swirled among fans both in attendance and on social media, but the concert started out normal enough with a first set led by “Bertha”. The opening frame continued with Dead & Co. staples “New Speedway Boogie”, “Cold Rain and Snow”, “Jack Straw”, and “Althea” before the band left “Playing in the Band” unfinished for the duration of set break, which was extended due to a weather delay. Upon their return, Dead & Company completed the tune before starting the second set proper with “Uncle John’s Band”.

Dead & Company – “Bertha”, “New Speedway Boogie” [Pro-Shot] – 7/3/23

“Help on the Way”/”Slipknot!” offered a cryptic hint of what was to come. Then, after rolling away the dew with “Franklin’s Tower” and stealing a face with “He’s Gone”, Dead & Company returned to “The Other One”, having left the song unfinished the night before. The band completed the tune’s second verse before descending into “Drums”/”Space”.

Dead & Company – “Playing In The Band”, “Uncle John’s Band”, “Playing In The Band” (Reprise) [Pro-Shot] – 7/3/23

A spectacular drone show with floating rainbow Stealies and other elements of Grateful Dead iconography would have been the highlight of the evening, if not for the heady history that was about to unfold. After returning from their cosmic trek and “Standing on the Moon” to catch their breath, Dead & Company brought their Final Tour to new heights as they welcomed a surprise appearance by Dave Matthews, who notably wowed fans with a drone show of his own at The Gorge Amphitheatre last summer.

Dead & Company – “Space” (Drone Show), “Standing On The Moon” – 7/3/23

[Video: The Zalewski Law Firm]

Matthews’ relationship with the Dead goes back to when he famously opened for the original Grateful Dead in Las Vegas in 1995. He has since collaborated with Bob Weir on a few occasions, most recently at a private party at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl in January where they played a number of covers including “The Maker”, “All Along the Watchtower”, “La Grange”, “No Woman, No Cry”, ”Gloria”, and “Not Fade Away” with a rotating band featuring Warren Haynes, Questlove, Blues Traveler, and Karl Denson. He also shared the stage with John Mayer a few times in 2007 and the two have expressed mutual admiration for one another. Despite their intertwining musical paths, the combination of the three—Weir, Matthews, and Mayer—on a single stage would have been all but unthinkable just a few years ago.

Related: Mickey Hart Delivers “Fire On The Mountain” Rap At Penultimate Dead & Company Folsom Show [Videos/Audio]

Matthews took control of the nimble outfit as he piloted the group through “All Along the Watchtower”, a predictable choice since they both cover the tune. Less predictable with Dave in the mix was the selection of “Not Fade Away”, though the song came in its typical second-set closer position.

With jaws still agape, amazed by the spectacle they had just witnessed, fans welcomed the band back to the stage with Matthews still in tow. Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was a sensible choice, but it was the collaborative take on The Band’s “The Weight” with verses sung by Weir, Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Matthews that really brought it home.

Check out fan-shot footage of Dead & Company with Dave Matthews below, and click to view more videos. Scroll down to view the full setlist.

Dead & Company heads to The Gorge next, while Matthews heads to Chicago. For a full list of tour dates, visit the Dead & Company and Dave Matthews websites.

Dead & Company, Dave Matthews – “All Along The Watchtower” (Bob Dylan) – 7/3/23

[Video: Toshi Aizawa]

Dead & Company, Dave Matthews – “Not Fade Away” – 7/3/23

[Video: Toshi Aizawa]

Dead & Company, Dave Matthews – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” (Bob Dylan) – 7/3/23

[Video: Toshi Aizawa]

Dead & Company, Dave Matthews – “The Weight” (The Band) – 7/3/23

[Video: Toshi Aizawa]

Dead & Company, Dave Matthews (Full Sit-In, Alternate View) – “All Along the Watchtower” (Bob Dylan), “Not Fade Away” (The Crickets), “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Bob Dylan), “The Weight” (The Band) – 7/3/23

[Video: Steam Powered Aerodyne]

Dead & Company – “Cold Rain And Snow” – 7/3/23

[Video: The Zalewski Law Firm]

Dead & Company – “Jack Straw” – 7/3/23

[Video: Steam Powered Aerodyne]

Dead & Company – “Althea” – 7/3/23

[Video: walstib63]

Dead & Company – “Help On The Way” > “Slip Knot” – 7/3/23

[Video: Toshi Aizawa]

Dead & Company – “Franklin’s Tower” – 7/3/23

[Video: Scott Sigman]

Dead & Company – “The Other One” (Second Verse) – 7/3/23

[Video: Scott Sigman]


Setlist: Dead & Company | Folsom Field | Boulder, CO | 7/3/23

Set 1: Bertha, New Speedway Boogie, Cold Rain and Snow, Jack Straw, Althea, Playing in the Band (Bob Weir song) (Followed by weather delay)

Set 2: Uncle John’s Band (Preceded by ‘Playing in the Band’ continuation) > Playing in the Band (Reprise), Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower > He’s Gone > The Other One (verse 2 ), Drums > Space > Standing on the Moon > All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan) (with Dave Matthews) (Dave on acoustic) > Not Fade Away (The Crickets) (with Dave Matthews) (Dave on acoustic)

Encore: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan) (with Dave Matthews) (Dave on acoustic), The Weight (The Band) (with Dave Matthews) (Dave on acoustic)