Dead & Company tour continued on Wednesday night with a performance at Darien Lake Amphitheater in Darien Center, NY.
After settling in with an abstract intro jam the band launched into a show-opening “Viola Lee Blues”. Rather than continuing into the song’s third and final verse, John Mayer—who notably wore silver, over-ear headphone monitors throughout the show—took an extended blues solo and steered the band into “Cold Rain and Snow”, indicating to excited fans that this was destined to be one of “those” shows.
Dead & Company – “Viola Lee Blues” (Verses 1 & 2) [Pro-Shot] – Darien Center, NY– 8/25/21
Bob Weir led the way on the “Feel Like A Stranger” that followed, pushing the band out into the evening’s first stretch of jazzy improvisation. Next, Mayer and bassist Oteil Burbridge traded lead vocal lines on a flowing “Ship of Fools”, pushing each other to squeeze every ounce of feeling out of the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter classic.
Related: Dead & Company Recreates Grateful Dead Woodstock Setlist In Bethel [Video]
Next, Weir and Mayer shared lead singing duties on “Friend of the Devil” before Bobby commanded a lively “Loose Lucy”/”New Speedway Boogie” pairing to close the set.
Dead & Company – “Friend of the Devil” – Darien Center, NY– 8/25/21
“Truckin'” got the call to kick off set two, and the band used the anthem’s second appearance of the summer to hit the road for some spirited improv before drifting into “Playing In The Band”, swapping the order in which the two songs appeared at the tour opener in Raleigh.
Dead & Company – “Truckin'” [Pro-Shot] – Darien Center, NY– 8/25/21
[Video: Dead & Company]
As the “Playing” jam faded out, the band tiptoed back into the chugging groove of “Viola Lee Blues” and, after toying with the theme for a few minutes, delivered the third verse that had gone missing during set one.
As the jam went on, the bass and guitar lines of this “Viola Lee” began to drift away from where they started and toward “China Cat Sunflower”. Before long, the band had executed a smooth merge into the song and, in turn, its eternal partner, a soaring “I Know You Rider”.
Ahead of “Drums/Space”, the band’s nightly showcase for its two groundbreaking drummers, Dead & Company took a few minutes to pay tribute to another iconic drummer, The Rolling Stones‘ Charlie Watts, who passed away earlier this week, with an appropriately rockin’ “The Last Time”. Read Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann‘s full remembrances of Charlie Watts here and watch Dead & Company’s rendition of “The Last Time” in his honor below.
Dead & Company – “The Last Time” (The Rolling Stones, for Charlie Watts) – Darien Center, NY– 8/25/21
For the show’s final stretch, the band flowed into strong renditions of “Uncle John’s Band” and “Wharf Rat” before tying a bow on the set with a brief reprise of “Playing In The Band”. Sending the show off on an emotional note, Dead & Company returned to the stage for a moving rendition of Bob Dylan‘s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”.
Dead & Company – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” (Bob Dylan) – 8/25/21
Next up for Dead & Company is a sold-out show at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY on Friday, August 27th, and a show at Hershey, PA. For a full list of upcoming dates, head here.
Setlist: Dead & Company | Darien Lake Amphitheater | Darien Lake, NY | 8/25/21
Set One: Viola Lee Blues* > Cold Rain & Snow, Feel Like A Stranger, Ship of Fools, Friend of the Devil, Loose Lucy, New Speedway Boogie
Set Two: Truckin’ > Playing In The Band > Viola Lee Blues^ > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > The Last Time > Drums/Space > Uncle John’s Band > Wharf Rat > Playing In The Band (Reprise)
Encore: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
*Verse 1 and Verse 2
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