Dead & Company came high-stepping into town on Tuesday for a show at Atlanta, GA’s Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood. The second show of fall tour saw the first “Crazy Fingers” since 2019’s summer tour.
Those who have attended some of the recent shows on Dead & Company’s tour may have noticed Oteil Burbridge occasionally sitting down onstage. The bassist addressed the new trend in a Facebook post, revealing that he has a collapsed disc in his lower back likely caused by holding his heavy bass guitar for three hours a night for many years. Not to worry, though—the malady does not require surgery “yet.”
“With physical therapy,” the bassist wrote, “I hope to be in a much better place with it soon, but not to worry, the music never stops!”
The ensemble of Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti dropped straight into the murky waters of disco Dead with “Shakedown Street” to open the show. The title track to the Grateful Dead‘s 1978 album received a proper, nearly 20-minute telling. Everyone onstage got their moment in the sun as Burbridge accentuated the funk with his low-end stylings while Mayer punched in wah-infused guitar licks.
Dead & Company – “Shakedown Street” – 10/12/21
John stepped to the mic for the traditional “Cold Rain And Snow”, which served as a foil to the lengthy “Shakedown” that preceded it, making clear how much Dead & Co can get done in a short amount of time. The slow-waltz of “Ramble On Rose” came next, as Mayer bopped out the rhythm while Bob handled vocals.
The show took a noticeable uptick in tempo for the following “They Love Each Other”, as a clear picture of a vintage 1970s Dead concert came into full view. With Mayer’s buttery vocals and the heightened tempo, this rendition of “TLEO” took on a hip, young veneer one might not expect from a group led by three septuagenarians.
Dead & Company – “They Love Each Other” – 10/12/21
[Video: The Zalaweski Law Firm]
The following downshift in tempo was well-received thanks to Oteil as the bassist took vocals on “High Time”, his smooth tenor further cushioning the tender track. It was then Bob’s turn in the rotation once again as the band laid out a sprawling “Let It Grow” containing some vintage guitar leads from Mayer. A rollicking, triumphant “Deal” featuring plenty of bluesy licks from Mayer brought the set home.
Coming back for set two, Dead & Company intrepidly felt out the sonic space with an ambient jam that ultimately found its way into “Playing In The Band”. Just as the improvisation was beginning to reach a jazzy critical mass, fans found themselves in the midst of the first Dead & Co “Crazy Fingers” since 6/29/19. The resurrection of the Blues For Allah rarity fell in perfect lock-step with the show which, throughout the evening, found a sweet spot in the Dead’s 1970s heyday.
Dead & Company – “Playing In The Band” – 10/12/21
The band emerged out the other end of “Crazy Fingers” into one of John Mayer’s signature songs Dead & Co songs, “Althea”. The Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter ballad further allowed the crossover star to flex his blues chops while Bobby took up the slide guitar. The grandeur of the jams continued to build as the blissful intro riff to “China Cat Sunflower” came pouring out of John’s guitar, leading the charge all the way through the traditional stomper of “I Know You Rider”.
Dead & Company – “Althea” – 10/12/21
[Video: The Zalaweski Law Firm]
The power and the glory of “Rider” gave way to the Rhythm Devils’ “Drums” segment before the stage slowly filled back up for “Space”. Out of “Space” came “The Wheel”, which rolled on through an arid exploration that saw Chimenti’s keys twinkle like the night skies over Atlanta. The ballad slot went to “Stella Blue”, with Bob taking vocals and Mayer pouring his soul out one note at a time.
Time ticked by as Dead & Company reprised “Playing In The Band”, bringing the tune back around for five minutes before wrapping up the set. Pounding out the final notes, Weir stepped to the mic and informed the crowd, “That’s it. We’re out of time.”
Who needs an encore when you play right through until the last second? Thankfully, the tour rolls on this Thursday, October 14th in Dallas, TX. For a full list of upcoming dates, head here.
Check out a gallery of photos from the performance below courtesy of photographer Emily Butler.
Setlist: Dead & Company | Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood | Atlanta, GA | 10/12/21
Set One: Shakedown Street, Cold Rain And Snow, Ramble On Rose, They Love Each Other, High Time, Let It Grow > Deal
Set Two: Playing In The Band > Crazy Fingers, Althea, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > Drums > Space > The Wheel, Stella Blue, Playing In The Band