Atlanta was flocked with “deadheads” of all ages this past Tuesday when Grateful Dead off-shoot Dead & Company played to a sold-out Lakewood Amphitheatre. The highly-anticipated event satisfied the most purist and demanding of fans with a three-plus hour showing that featured performances of classic tunes with lead-vocals from the legendary Bob Weir and star John Mayer, and a mini-electronica/drums session by Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann that left the almost 19.000 fans in attendance in a trancelike spell of epic proportions.
Dead & Company, formed in 2015, open-up the evening with a groovy cover of The Grateful Dead’s 1974 hit “Scarlet Begonias,” with Bob Weir at the vocals-helm and the rest of the crew laying down the funk, the performance drew rambunctious cheers from those in attendance and overtook the venue with a sense that this night was going to be special. As trippy graphics played on the colossal background screen, the first-half of the presentation carried on as John Mayer and Bob Weir alternate on lead-vocals throughout presentations of notable tracks that include “Shakedown Street” and “Black-Throated Wind,” among others.
After a short break, Dead & Company regroup to perform the second half of their show. The latter portion provides the audience with more stellar tunes and vocals; however, the apotheosis comes courtesy of Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann teaming up for a mind-bending drums session that transports the crowd to a higher place of psychedelia. Despite decades in the music industry, the rhythm devils – as Mickey and Bill are monikered – still possess the skills to capture the attention of the masses, regardless of generation.
For the one-song encore, Dead & Company swing for the fences with a performance of Bob Dylan’s masterpiece “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Naturally, an overwhelming majority of the crowd accompany John Mayer bellowing along to the famous lyrics, and bringing the night to an applause-filled end.
The Grateful Dead have a rich history of musical excellence and a fan-base that speaks volumes, and Dead & Company follow nicely in the steps of the legendary ensemble. If the Atlanta-based deadheads ever had doubts of whether John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti could “hang” with the remaining Dead trio, those doubts are long-gone.
For more on the 2017 Dead & Company tour, head on over to www.deadandcompany.com for upcoming dates and venues.
Article & Images by Andres Alvarado