The members of the Grateful Dead always seemed to be able to capture some kind of mythological-like connection to “the wonders of nature” anytime they took the stage. That seemed to ring true yet again on Sunday night, as Dead & Company continued their Mexican destination event with the final performances of this year’s “Playing in the Sand” weekend event. Having opened up the 2019 installment of their Mexican getaway on Thursday night, the event came to a fitting close as the band and fans celebrated their nighttime performance under the mystic light of the super blood wolf moon lunar eclipse on Sunday.

The six-piece jam band took the stage to start the hit-filled first set with Bob Weir getting everyone dancing to the music of “Sugar Magnolia”. Next, it was John Mayer‘s turn to get their Mexican audience up and grooving and did so with a rendition of “Bertha”. Deadhead favorites including “Good Lovin'” and “Brown-Eyed Women” came next, followed by a pair of Jerry Garcia solo tunes in “Loser” and “Sugaree”. The first half of the show came to an end with “U.S. Blues”, followed by the second part the set opener, “Sunshine Daydream” just in time to catch the last rays of daylight as twilight transitioned into the darkness of night.

Dead & Company – Set One Opener – 1/20/2019


Set two started out with more Dead favorites, beginning with “Scarlet Begonias” featuring Oteil Burbridge on vocals, which jammed to the point of almost sounding like it was transitioning into “Saint Of Circumstance”. The jam ended up transitioning into “Fire on the Mountain”, which featured some “Game Of Thrones” dragon footage being played on the stage screen during the first verse. The show then took an astrological turn to “Dark Star” with Mickey adding some extra sci-fi elements as he strung along with his Beam. Deadheads out in the audience could even be heard howling at the blood moon over the Mexican waters as the band tore through a 14-minute performance the Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia masterpiece before transitioning into “Althea”, and eventually back into “Dark Star”. Weir kept the momentum going with a lengthy performance of “Playing in the Band”, which took the show into the “Drums” > “Space” instrumental portion. Billy Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, and even Oteil (who joined in on the rhythmic fun) all did their best at channeling the indigenous musical spirits for a performance fitting of the Mexican land where they were staying over the weekend during the former.

The band came out of the instrumental portion of the show by tearing into “The Other One”, and then revisiting the natural lunar phenomenon with “Standing on the Moon” from the Dead’s 1989 Built To Last LP. Set two came to a close with Mayer and Weir trading off vocal duties on “Casey Jones”. The night’s two-song encore included a heady, 17-minute sing-along of “Eyes of the World”, followed by another nod to the night’s spectacular eclipse with a cover of Warren Zevon‘s “Werewolves of London”, which included pianist Jeff Chimenti throwing in a few well-received piano riffs and lyrics from Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Dead & Company – Set Two Opener – 1/20/2019


And just like that, another Playing in the Sand came to an end. Fans can tune into the audio below to relive Sunday night’s supernatural performance.

Dead & Company – Playing in the Sand Finale – 1/20/2019

[Audio: Jeff Travitz]

The band’s next gig won’t come until their 2019 summer tour begins on May 31st at Mountain View, California’s Shoreline Amphitheatre At Mountain View. Fans can head over to the band’s website for the full summer scheduled as well as tickets to all the upcoming shows.

Setlist: Dead & Company | The Barceló | Riviera Maya, MX | 1/20/2019

Set One: Sugar Magnolia (Grateful Dead cover), Bertha (Grateful Dead cover), Good Lovin’ (Young Rascals cover), Brown-Eyed Women (Grateful Dead cover), Loser (Jerry Garcia cover), Sugaree (Jerry Garcia cover), U.S. Blues (Grateful Dead cover), Sunshine Daydream (Grateful Dead cover)

Set Two: Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead cover) > Fire on the Mountain (Grateful Dead cover) > Dark Star (Grateful Dead cover), Althea (Grateful Dead cover) > Dark Star > Playing in the Band (Bob Weir cover)* > Drums > Space > The Other One, Standing on the Moon (Grateful Dead cover), Casey Jones (Grateful Dead cover)

Encore: Eyes of the World (Grateful Dead cover), Werewolves of London** (Warren Zevon cover)

* “A Love Supreme” tease
** “Sweet Home Alabama” tease

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