Hot on the heels of a scintillating 4th of July show, Dead & Company returned to Sphere in Las Vegas for a flaming Friday night performance. And not just because local temperatures shot well past 100 degrees for the who-knows-how-many-eth day in a row.

Bob Weir, John Mayer, Mickey Hart, Jeff Chimenti, Oteil Burbridge, and Jay Lane resumed their Sin City residency with a slate of fan favorites, some slightly deeper cuts, a number of key-driven jams, and, of course, a flurry of eye-popping visuals.

The evening began, as always, inside the hangar of a rocket ship, where the band did its best to suggest against sweltering summer weather with “Cold Rain and Snow”. Dead & Company kept on “Truckin’” through their nightly ascent from Haight Ashbury into the heavens, with an early emergence of the magnetic John-Jeff connection. But whereas John would otherwise reign supreme with his guitar (and rightfully so), on this night, Jeff and his many kinds of keys set the pace more often than not.

John resumed the lead on “Bertha”, as a cloudy tunnel filled with lightning gave way to bouncing ricocheting plumes of paint that came to resemble Georgia O’Keefe’s most psychedelic dreams. Jeff’s organ figured prominently during “Good Lovin’”, as Bob flashed an always-welcomed ferocity on lead vocals during The Olympics classic-turned-Grateful Dead staple cover. All the while, the audience was taken on a quest through a tie-dye spiral.

The Dead & Company Sphere debut of “Next Time You See Me”, set in front of a giant curtain, seemed a ripe opportunity for John to take full flight on his own. But while one of the world’s finest blues guitarists did, in fact, shine brightly during that Junior Parker standard favored by late Grateful Dead co-founder Ronald “Pigpen” McKernan, it was Jeff whose organ continued to steal the show.

Dead & Company — “Next Time You See Me” (Junior Parker) — 7/5/24

[Video: K T]

A similar story unfolded amid a jungle rainstorm for “Cassidy”. John and Bob enjoyed some face-to-face time on guitar before the ongoing musical love affair between Jeff and John once again took hold. The band closed out the first set with a rousing rendition of “Deal”, surrounded by posters and ticket stubs from Dead shows long past. The first set took on a decidedly classic tone in terms of song selections, highlighted by ’60s Dead relics “Cold Rain and Snow” and the “Next Time You See Me”. Of the seven songs performed, Bobby’s “Cassidy” was the newest, having debuted on March 23rd, 1974 at the Cow Palace alongside the band’s infamous Wall of Sound PA system. The classics would continue in the second set, with only one song that debuted past the 1970s.

The second set began with another strong vocal performance by Bob on “China Cat Sunflower”. He and John enjoyed some fun guitar interplay on that track, as the dome around them resembled life inside of a lava lamp. Naturally, the band carried on right into “I Know You Rider”, accompanied by a fantastic voyage through famous Grateful Dead venues. After stops at the Fillmore West, Radio City Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden, the visuals took everyone along to the “Mothership” otherwise known as the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA, where the Dead played 21 times between 1979 and 1992.

Dead & Company — “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” (Traditional) — 7/5/24

[Video: K T]

“Playing in the Band” brought with it a relatively gentle Jeff-John jam, followed by an extended session that saw Oteil get in plenty of licks on bass. Meanwhile, the screen at the Sphere displayed a rebuilding of the Wall of Sound, which eventually gave way to a descent down a colorful elevator. “Dark Star” saw Dead & Company get particularly spacey as they dropped onto the surface of a strange planet. Jeff yet again seized control of the jam on the keys, only for Bob to bring him back around. The two of them, along with Oteil, harmonized on the chorus following another, even looser jam session.

Dead & Company — “Dark Star” — 7/5/24

[Video: K T]

“Drums” and “Space” continued their ascendency as the can’t-miss portion of the show, thanks in large part to the stunning visuals programmed by Mickey Hart and in-seat haptics. This time, though, “Drums” seemed to come from a decidedly spacier place, while “Space” built up to a rumbling crescendo that resembled its forever setlist companion.

Once the whole band returned to the stage, Chimenti once again took the reigns as he led Dead & Company into their Sphere debut of Miles Davis‘ jazz classic “Milestones”. The cover softened the landing from “Space” back down to Earth and flowed into Bobby’s “Looks Like Rain”, his pipes at full throttle in front of a simple blue screen. Jeff led jams on the keys during “Brown-Eyed Woman” while a rose-crowned skeleton dropped petals under a dome of flowers.

Oteil took his turn on the mic for “Fire on the Mountain” as the Sphere aptly displayed bundles of flame on a mountain range. That gave way to a cartoon-style nighttime landscape with a rainbow. In front of that, Bob and John sang verses on the song, before Mickey came in with a bit of his classic rapping—a long sought-after surprise turned staple of the band’s Vegas residency.

As the rocket ship returned to Earth by way of San Francisco, Dead & Company roped in “Throwing Stones” for a climactic battle cry to action. To finish off the night, the band had everyone boogying to “Not Fade Away” amid a photo montage from the Grateful Dead’s storied past.

Saturday figures to be another scorcher, both throughout Las Vegas and inside the Sphere when Dead & Company resume their rightful place under those millions of magical LEDs.

Fans hoping to get in on the action with Dead & Company at Sphere can find tons of face-value tickets for the entire run via CashorTrade. By choosing CashorTrade over other sites you are supporting real fans, not brokers trying to offload inventory. Unlike other platforms, you may even stumble upon a miracle. Browse what’s available on the site here.

Dead & Company — “Cold Rain And Snow” (Traditional) — 7/5/24

[Video: K T]

Dead & Company — “Truckin'” > “Bertha” — 7/5/24

[Video: K T]

Dead & Company — “Deal” — 7/5/24

[Video: K T]

Dead & Company — “Looks Like Rain” — 7/5/24

[Video: K T]

Dead & Company — “Fire On The Mountain” — 7/5/24

[Video: K T]

View Videos

Dead & Company — Sphere — Las Vegas, NV — 7/5/24 — Full Video

[Video: Joe Wiseman]

Setlist: Dead & Company | Sphere | Las Vegas, NV | 7/5/24
Set One: Cold Rain And Snow (Traditional), Truckin’, Bertha > Good Lovin’ (The Olympics), Next Time You See Me (Junior Parker), Cassidy, Deal
Set Two: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider (Traditional) > Playing In The Band, Dark Star, Drums > Space > Milestones (Miles Davis) > Looks Like Rain, Brown-Eyed Women, Fire On The Mountain, Throwing Stones, Not Fade Away (The Crickets)

Not able to catch Jay Blakesberg at the Venetian today? Join him at the Golden Road Festival on November 8th, 9th, and 10th. As the official GRF “Camp Director”, Jay will guide their 200 guests through an all-inclusive, 3-day weekend packed with live music, immersive programming, and premium activities like horseback riding, zip-lining, paintball, go-karts, paddleboarding, and canoeing. Wonder Valley Ranch Resort is a beautiful venue tucked into the foothills of the Sierras under breathtaking starry skies and is the perfect place for this jam band camp experience. Deep connections will be forged over gourmet meals in a communal dining setting with a full open bar. Reserve your seat at the table! New package options are now available, learn more here.