Last night, following two great shows at Madison Square Garden earlier this week (as well as a performance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert), Dead & Company continued their 15-date Fall stretch at Philadelphia, PA’s Wells Fargo Center. While it’s still early in the run, the band has quickly kicked off any signs of rust, and was once again in well-oiled, late-tour form in Philly.
The band got the crowned “Dancing” right away with a slowed-down version of the disco-era cover, as John Mayer and Bob Weir traded vocals. Pretty renditions of “Ramble on Rose” and “Row Jimmy” followed, before Mayer and Weird once again traded vocals on “Friend of the Devil”, with Mayer’s unorthodox takes on the verses pushing Bobby to get creative with his own. “Minglewood Blues”, “West LA Fadeaway” kept the crowd moving, before an extended “Let It Grow” jam sent the show into set break.
Watch pro-shot video of the show-opening “Dancing In The Street” via nugs.tv:
The band stepped back onstage after the break and began to leisurely ease into a spacey jam that finally materialized into “Dark Star”. The band took the classic jam vehicle nearly 30 minutes deep and lightyears out into the cosmos, patiently trading wisps of musical ideas for a beautifully amorphous exploration. “Dark Star” eventually petered out into “Truckin'”, the first in a stream of non-stop segues that would extend, unbroken, throughout the set.
Watch pro-shot video of the monster “Dark Star” that started set two below via nugs.tv:
The “Truckin'” singalong eventually bled into a quick vamp on Howlin’ Wolf‘s blues standard “Smokestack Lightning”, which in turn led into a slightly faster-than-usual (for Dead & Co) “Deal”, sung with gusto by Mayer. The younger guitarist’s harmonic lead guitar lines also layered the tune with satisfying veils tension and release, while Jeff Chimenti‘s organ fills kept the jam afloat and pushed the story forward.
A flowing, contemplative “Eyes of the World” followed, before the band left the stage for the Mickey Hart & Billy Kreutzmann show. After a relatively brief “Drums” > “Space”, the band rejoined as Weir led them into a lovingly hammed-up Bobby rendition of The Beatles‘ “Dear Prudence”, before finishing strong with “Uncle John’s Band” and a “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad” that saw Weir, Mayer, and Oteil Burbridge each take a turn on lead vocals. A “Black Muddy River” encore finally closed out another strong Dead & Co performance.
Dead & Company continues their tour tonight with their first of two performances at Boston’s TD Garden. For a full list of upcoming dates, head to the Dead & Company website.
You can listen to full audio of Dead & Company’s 11/16/17 Philadelphia show below via archive.org user cabinetmusic, recorded and processed by Keith Litzenberger:
SETLIST: Dead & Company | Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA | 11/16/17
Set 1: Dancing In The Streets > Ramble On Rose, Row Jimmy, Friend of the Devil, Minglewood Blues > West L.A. Fadeaway > Let It Grow
Set 2: Dark Star > Truckin’ > Smokestack Lightning > Deal > Eyes of the World > Drums > Space > Dear Prudence > Uncle John’s Band > Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad
Encore: Black Muddy River
[Cover photo via Matthew Rea, from MSG 11/12/17]