Dead & Company returned to Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) last night to cap off the band’s final two-night stand at the New York amphitheater. The band’s performance once again proved it pays to “never miss a Sunday show,” except perhaps for the many fans who left frustrated after struggling to catch a glimpse of the stage from the overcrowded lawn.

The excitement around Dead & Company’s final tour cannot be overstated, and it has never been more viscerally apparent than at SPAC. Following complaints from fans about similar conditions at Saturday’s show, Sunday again saw long lines to enter the venue, causing some fans to miss the beginning of the show. Once inside, long waits continued for concessions and bathrooms, and fans on the GA lawn, which is notorious for its lack of clear sight lines, reported an unusual degree of difficulty finding space, with many fans facing away from the stage to experience the show on a screen and speaker set up near the bathroom.

Despite the overcrowding, Dead & Company delivered a stellar show replete with telepathically cohesive improvisation. Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, and Jay Lane certainly didn’t sound like a band on the way out as they opened the show with a fiery “Hell in a Bucket” before sweetening things up with the Jerry Garcia classic “Sugaree”. “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” then flowed into a grooving “Mr. Charlie”, followed by the rootsy “Friend of the Devil” and a pairing of “Lost Sailor” > “Saint of Circumstance”. The band brought it home with Cannon’s Jug Stompers‘ “Big Railroad Blues” to close the set.

Dead & Company – “Hell In A Bucket” [Pro-Shot] – 6/18/23

Following set break, thunderous drumming from Lane and Hart signaled the start of the biblical Sunday tradition “Samson and Delilah”. The second-set improvisation magic then began in earnest with “Playing in the Band”, kicking off a continuous sequence that would last the rest of the set. The traditional trio of “Help on the Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower” featured impressive interaction between Chimenti and Mayer, but then it was time to give the drummer(s) some with a cosmic “Drums” > “Space”. The blues shuffle of “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” stretched to 13 minutes before the equally cynical “Throwing Stones”, which clocked in at 11. Then it was time for dessert as the band finished the set with the sweetness of “Sugar Magnolia” > “Sunshine Daydream”.

Dead & Company – “Samson And Delilah” [Pro-Shot] – 6/18/23

Returning for an encore, Dead & Co capped off their final Sunday SPACtacular with a howling “Werewolves of London” and “Playing in the Band” reprise.

Dead & Company’s final tour continues later this week with two shows at Citi Field in New York City. For more information including a full list of tour dates, head here, and to purchase tickets, visit the band’s website.

Dead & Company – Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, NY – 6/18/23

[Audio: EJL95]

Setlist: Dead & Company | Saratoga Performing Arts Center | Saratoga Springs, NY | 6/18/23

Set 1: Hell in a Bucket, Sugaree, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Mr. Charlie, Friend of the Devil, Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance, Big Railroad Blues (Cannon’s Jug Stompers)

Set 2: Samson and Delilah (Traditional), Playing in the Band > Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower > Drums > Space > Death Don’t Have No Mercy > Throwing Stones > Sugar Magnolia > Sunshine Daydream

Encore: Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon), Playing in the Band reprise