Dead & Company honored the rich history of the Grateful Dead on Monday night in Bethel, NY with a tribute to the band’s performance at Woodstock, which occurred in the town some 52 years and a week ago. During the Dead offshoot’s second set at Bethel Woods Center For The Performing Arts, the band recreated the original group’s headlining set from the iconic 1969 music festival.
Dead & Company shot out of the gate in the first set with “Hell In A Bucket” before the first “Easy Wind” since 11/5/19, marking the Pigpen composition’s eighth time played in the band’s history as John Mayer took lead vocals.
Things slowed down a beat as Bob Weir took the reins on “Loser” prior to handing the mic back to Mayer for “Brown Eyed Women”. The back-and-forth continued as Weir led the band through a heated, early show “Throwing Stones” and Mayer took us out to sea with “Row Jimmy”. The first set then came to a close with the eternal pairing of “Lost Sailor” and “Saint Of Circumstance”.
Dead & Company – “Hell In A Bucket” – Bethel, NY – 8/23/21
The opening notes of “St. Stephen” signaled the start of the second set as Dead & Company reached back into the primal Dead era, giving the song a proper 20-minute telling full of spirited improvisation.
Dead & Company – “St. Stephen” – Bethel, NY – 8/23/21
Bobby Weir offered a cool down with one of his patented cowboy tunes, Merle Haggard‘s “Mama Tried”, ahead of another improvisational giant, “Dark Star”. The spirit of the Grateful Dead was alive and well as the jam seeped into the sacred soil of Bethel and the band finally transitioned into an Oteil Burbridge-led “High Time”. A rocking rendition of “Turn On Your Lovelight” completed the re-telling of the Grateful Dead’s setlist from Woodstock ’69, which infamously started hours late and was cut short due to the mounting electrical difficulties that came to a head during “Lovelight”.
With no technical issues standing in their way and plenty of time left on the clock, it was then the Rhythm Devils’ time to shine as Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart took center stage for the “Drums” segment. This time, Oteil joined in to add some low-end ahead of its “Space” partner, resulting in a segment labeled Drums > Bass > Space on the band’s setlist.
The rest of the band then filed back in as Mayer delivered the sage advice of “Deal” and Bob Weir brought the lights down low for a serene “Standing On The Moon”. Dead & Company brought the show to a fiery close with a reprisal of “Lovelight” before breaking for an encore.
Returning to the stage, Weir and Mayer shared vocal duties on the sing-along “Ripple” to send everyone home with songs to fill the air.
Though the Grateful Dead’s Woodstock set is often heralded as one of the band’s worst—adding fuel to the band’s own sentiment that they always blew the big ones—the moment still sits in the hearts and ears of the American zeitgeist (for everyone except John Fogerty, that is). Dead & Company almost got a chance at redemption when the band was announced as part of the lineup for the ill-fated Woodstock 50—but we all know how that went.
With this tribute at Bethel Woods, the band’s surviving members in Dead & Company were finally given a chance to relive their Woodstock moment with better technical results and much fewer electric shocks.
Dead & Company travel to Darien Lake Amphitheater in Darien Center, NY on Wednesday, August 25th for their next performance. For a full list of Dead & Company tour dates head here.
Setlist: Dead & Company | Bethel Woods Center For The Performing Arts | Bethel, NY | 8/23/21
Set One: Hell in a Bucket, Easy Wind, Loser, Brown-Eyed Women, Throwing Stones, Row Jimmy, Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance
Set Two: St. Stephen  > Mama Tried , Dark Star  > High Time  > Turn On Your Lovelight  > Drums > Bass > Space > Deal > Standing on the Moon > Turn On Your Lovelight
 Recreation of Grateful Dead setlist at Woodstock, 8/16/69.