Dead & Company kicked off its two-night stand at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Friday, even as inclement weather plagued the show. The amalgamation of Grateful Dead members and younger ringers was twice forced to clear the field at the home of the MLB‘s Chicago Cubs due to lightning.
Friday’s show got off to a delayed start as storm clouds dotted the Chicago skyline. Just prior to showtime, the crowd of Deadheads was instructed to clear the field to allow the storm to pass, resulting in the first delay of the evening. The band ultimately emerged, however, to open the show with the vocal relay race that is “Let The Good Times Roll”, with Bob Weir, John Mayer, and Jeff Chimenti each getting a turn at the mic. Dead & Company truly settled in with the proceeding “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”, with Mayer firing off lightning blues guitar licks before taking center stage for a roaring “Bertha”.
Dead & Company — “Let The Good Times Roll” — 9/17/21
As the band took on the punchy, slow waltz of “Ramble On Rose”, the encroaching storm became unavoidable as Weir was put in the unfortunate situation of informing the crowd that the band must clear the stage due to lightning. Following a lengthy weather delay, it was “game on” as the band stepped right back into rhythm with “Dancing In The Streets”.
Dead & Company — “Ramble On Rose” — 9/18/21
A defiant “Playing In The Band” came next as the jazz-infused improvisation saw the full ensemble rage on against the elements. Perhaps making up for lost time, the improvisation was brief as the band fired off a quick “Scarlet Begonias”, taking a detour to a Mayer-led “Deal”, before linking “Scarlet” up with its “Fire On The Mountain” partner. Weir, Mayer, Chimenti, and Oteil Burbridge then cleared the stage once again, but not for lightning, as it was time for Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart to man the fort with the “Drums” and “Space” segment.
Dead & Company — “Fire On The Mountain” — 9/18/21
[Video: Josh Graff]
Coming out of “Space”, the band reprised “Playing In The Band” to give it the improvisational attention it deserved from the beginning. Weir then brought the rockus for the second “All Along The Watchtower” of the tour. A fitting “Morning Dew” followed in what proved to be the final true display of significant improvisation of the evening before the band closed out with “Not Fade Away”. Returning to the stage once more, Weir took up his acoustic guitar for the sing-along “Ripple” to end the evening.
Dead & Company — “All Along The Watchtower” (Bob Dylan) — 9/18/21
[Video: Scott Sigman]
Dead & Company — “Ripple”— 9/18/21
[Video: Scott Sigman]
Dead & Company returns to Wrigley Field tonight, September 18th, to finish up the two-night run. For tickets and a full list of tour dates click here. Scroll down to check out a gallery of images courtesy of photographer Matthew Rea.
Setlist: Dead & Company | Wrigley Field | Chicago, IL | 9/17/21
Set One: Let The Good Times Roll, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo, Bertha, Ramble On Rose
Set Two: Dancin’ In The Streets, Playing In The Band > Scarlet Begonias > Deal > Fire On The Mountain > Drums > Space > Playing In The Band > All Along The Watchtower, Morning Dew, Not Fade Away
Notes: Band was forced to stop after “Ramble On Rose” due to lightning.