The music of the Grateful Dead will never die, but Dead & Company will soon take its place amid the sands of time—at least with this current iteration. As far as Los Angeles is concerned, the band that brought John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge together with Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Jeff Chimenti, Bill Kreutzmann (prior to the farewell tour) and Jay Lane (during this final summer) is no more.

In that respect, it was all too fitting that Dead & Company closed out their time in Southern California at the Kia Forum, once again surrounded by as many Deadheads as the actual deceased that fill the nearby mortuaries and cemeteries in Inglewood.

Bobby, though, seemed alive and well. The 75-year-old guitarist and founding member of the Grateful Dead took turns with John—and, in the case of “High Time”, Oteil—breathing life back into the words that made him, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and others immortal in the eyes of the music world. From “Good Lovin’”, “Jack Straw”, and “Bird Song” in the early days-leaning opening set to the rumbling “The Other One” that wrapped itself around “Terrapin Station” and the ethereal “Stella Blue” that flowed from a Steve Parish-assisted Drums after the break, Weir was in fine form on both the mic and the guitar, even (if not especially) on the second night of a back-to-back.

Of course, it helps to have a stringed savant like John as a co-lead. A mere five weeks after cramming the Forum for a show on his solo tour, the 45-year-old returned with quite a bit of company and a decidedly different catalog of songs at the ready. He once again traded in his slew of top-40 favorites—like “Neon,” “Last Train Home,” “New Light” and, of course, “Your Body is a Wonderland”—for Dead classics, including “Bertha,” “Brown Eyed Woman,” “Mr. Charlie”, and “Don’t Ease Me In” during the first set, and “Althea,” “Help on the Way” and “Franklin’s Tower” during the second.

Each selection was buoyed by an ebullient crowd that turned out for consecutive nights in South L.A. Though attendees did their best to fill the cavernous confines of Dodger Stadium during last year’s tour stop in L.A., the local Deadheads truly came out in full force to stuff the Forum from the floor to the rafters, and then some. Even Shakedown Street, a staple of any Dead experience, managed to stretch from one end of the parking lot to the other, with swells of revelers leading up to the opening of the show.

With another sold-out show in the bag, Bob and John fittingly joined forces to bid the band’s beloved fans a “fare thee well” by way of “Brokedown Palace” as the encore. Granted, those co-leads won’t be gone for long. Come November, John will be back at the Forum for another of his spectacular solo performances. Before then, Bob will hit the road with the Wolf Bros and the Wolfpack as part of Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival tour for most of September.

And even before then, these two will have plenty more dates to play out as bandmates. The Final Tour is set to criss-cross the country between now and mid-July, when Dead & Company wrap up their run with a trio of hometown shows at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

What becomes of the Dead thereafter remains to be seen. Speculation will surely abound until a new lineup—perhaps with an entirely new name—coalesces to carry forward the flame that Jerry, Bobby, Billy, Mickey and Phil first lit nearly 60 years ago.

For now, all that’s certain is that the music of the Dead will carry on, and that there will be others who are eager to step in and make sure that it does.

Fans can follow along with Dead & Company’s final ride with pay-per-view video livestreams of the entire tour via Dead & Company livestreams are available a la carte or as part of the Unlimited Devotion Summer Tour livestream pass. For more information on how to tune in, click here.

Dead & Company tour carries on this Tuesday with a stop at Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre in Phoenix, AZ. For a full list of upcoming dates, head here.

Below, check out the complete setlist from the Saturday night Dead & Company performance at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles and watch a selection of videos from the show.

Dead & Company – “Bertha” [Pro-Shot] – 5/20/23

Dead & Company – “Althea” [Pro-Shot] – 5/20/23

Setlist: Dead & Company | Kia Forum | Los Angeles, CA | 5/20/23

Set One: Bertha > Good Lovin’, Brown Eyed Women, Jack Straw, High Time, Mr. Charlie, Bird Song, Don’t Ease Me In

Set Two: Althea > The Other One (Verse 1) > Lady With A Fan > Terrapin Station > The Other One (Verse 2) > Drums/Space [1] > Stella Blue, Help On The Way > Slipknot > Franklin’s Tower

Encore: Brokedown Palace

[1] with Big Steve Parish


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