On Thursday night, Dead & Company kicked off their second Playing In The Sand destination event at Riviera Maya, Mexico’s Barceló. The two set rock show marked the band’s first appearance of 2019, after taking a brief break from touring over the fall and holiday season. Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti made it evident out of the gates that they were happy to be reunited, with the sun quickly setting behind the Caribbean coastline.

Dead & Company opened up their first set with an extended take on “Shakedown Street”, immediately inviting fans to sing along and poke around. Mayer sounded sharp on guitar, as Weir followed closely behind with his signature, twangy rhythmic-lead. The Rhythm Devils led the way into “Mr. Charlie”, with Mayer taking the lead on vocals, before the six-piece dove into a noteworthy take on “Jack Straw”. Weir then switched things up, as he picked up his acoustic guitar for “Friend Of The Devil”, sharing the vocal lead with his compadre Mayer.

Mayer let it shine vocally, as he walked the sextet through a clean-cut rendition of “Here Comes Sunshine”. Mayer fired off some blues-fueled guitar licks, propelled by Kreutzmann, Hart, and Burbridge’s infectious rhythm section. Moving out of “Here Comes Sunshine”, Dead & Company slowly trickled their way into the opening notes of “New Speedway Boogie”, before Weir jumped into the opening verse. A jammed-out “Bird Song” was up next, as the band patiently worked their way into psychedelic improvisational territory. Weir led the way back into “New Speedway Boogie” to bring the first set to a close, as the crowd sung along, “One way or another, this darkness got to give.”

Following a brief setbreak that allowed the crowd to reload on margaritas and catered food, Dead & Company came back out to open their second set with “China Cat Sunflower”. The six-piece took no time to dial things in, allowing Mayer to take flight and soar on his beautiful PRS guitar. “China Cat” smoothly segued into “Cumberland Blues”, as Kreutzmann and Hart kicked up the tempo. Chimenti danced away on the keys, as he traded off licks with Mayer, before leading the way into the familiar “I Know You Rider” theme.

Dead & Company – “China Cat Sunflower” > “Cumberland Blues” > “I Know You Rider”

[Video: Johnnie Furthur]

Mayer stole the show during last night’s “Rider”, with Chimenti flexing his chops beside the guitar god. Mayer led the charge into “Lady With A Fan”, as Weir and the rest of the gang followed his lead, before rolling into “Terrapin Station”. Thursday’s triumphant “Terrapin” set the tone for the remainder of the evening, as Mayer, Weir, and Chimenti left the stage. Kreutzmann led Burbridge and Hart through “Drums”, before the rest of the band reemerged for the “Space”. The ambient and spooky “Space” section of the second set was followed up by “Stella Blue”, before the band brought the second set to a close with a roaring “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower” stanza. “Ripple” served as Thursday night’s encore, with both Mayer and Weir picking up their acoustic guitars.

Dead & Company – “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower” 

[Video: Connor Holleb]

Luckily, you can listen to audio of last night’s Dead & Company show below:

Dead & Company – 1/17/2019

[Audio:Jeff Travitz]

New Orleans-based funk act, Dumpstaphunk, and blues-rock sister act, Larkin Poe, will each play one set on the beach tonight, as Dead & Company takes the night off. Dead & Company will return with two-set performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Setlist: Dead & Company | The Barceló | Riviera Maya, MX | 1/17/2019

Set One: Shakedown Street, Mr. Charlie, Jack Straw, Friend Of The Devil, Here Comes Sunshine, New Speedway Boogie, Bird Song > New Speedway Boogie

Set Two: China Cat Sunflower > Cumberland Blues > I Know You Rider, Lady With A Fan > Terrapin Station > Drums/Space > Stella Blue > Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower

Encore: Ripple