Wrapping up 2015 with a Bang last night at The Forum, Dead & Company featuring Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart as well as guitar player John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboard player Jeff Chimenti delivered a dynamic three-set performance to close out a very eventful year for the remaining members of the Dead.
Set one began with an engulfing version of “Feel Like A Stranger,” the building filled with anticipation for what was yet to come in the night. Steady versions of “Ramble On Rose” and “They Love Each Other” followed, with the heat getting turned up a notch during late set versions of “Loose Lucy” and “Hell In A Bucket.”
The band wasted little time to get serious in the second set with a “Dark Star” opener that beautifully transitioned into a driving “Uncle John’s Band.” On this night, Dead & Company would run the gambit of some of the largest pieces in the Dead canon, including a mid set “Lady With A Fan” > “Terrapin Station” that was executed wonderfully.
Music aside, the theatrics displayed at the show last during the ball drop were of epic proportion, too. A giant flying joint crisscrossed The Forum as the theme music from Star Wars played with Jerry Garcia’s daughter Trixie leading the way and longtime Dead representative Bernie Cahill steering the contraption. The joint would land on stage where it was greeted by a cloud of smoke and none other than NBA legend and life-long Dead fan, Bill Walton. What a night!
It was, of course, very reminiscent of the Dead’s stunt to close out 1978 at the Winterland Ballroom. Watch that show here.
For their final notes of the year, Dead & Company picked up a cover of Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour” to start the third set, but that quickly gave way to a mammoth sequence of songs, including “Sugar Magnolia,” “Scarlet Begonias,” “Touch of Grey,” “Fire On The Mountain” and “St. Stephen,” a real murderers row.
With “Brokedown Palace” appropriately serving as the band’s encore, Dead & Company’s 2015 run came to end, but not before leaving droves of Deadheads wanting more. They may not have to wait as long as they think, as Mayer remarked to the crowd at the end of the three-set show, “At the risk of rocking any boats — known and unknown — we’ll see you next year.”
Until then, please, be kind.
Setlist: Dead & Company at The Forum, Inglewood, CA – 12/31/15
Set I: Feel Like A Stranger, Ramble On Rose, They Love Each Other, Loose Lucy, Sugaree, Hell In A Bucket
Set II: Dark Star > Uncle John’s Band >Lady With A Fan >Terrapin Station > Drums > Space > Dear Prudence
Set III: In The Midnight Hour, Sugar Magnolia > Scarlet Begonias > Touch of Grey > Fire On The Mountain > St. Stephen > Sunshine Daydream
Encore: Brokedown Palace