Dead and Company descended on Wrigley over the July 4th weekend to close out their summer tour. Even though Chicago witnessed the final shows of the Grateful Dead in 2015, the band has shown no signs of stopping in many other forms. This current iteration that has John Mayer a part of Dead & Co. is one that gives fans the feeling of seeing the Grateful Dead so many years ago. New fans have come in droves as well and a whole new generation is embracing this timeless band. The 2 night run pulled out a deep collection of songs to give Wrigley a memorable weekend for people to talk about for years to come. The energy around Wrigleyville was already at a high from Tom Petty closing out his tour with the Heartbreakers the night before.
Shakedown Street wasn’t as noticeable in the area around Wrigley like you may have found at other venues on this tour, but if you looked hard enough, you could find many people selling their wears, trinkets, food, and an assortment of other items. Leading up to a Dead show, you will get some of the best people watching and see that all walks of life descend on said show.
Walking into Wrigley, fans were readily awaiting for the band to take the stage. The first set kicked off with “The Music Never Stopped” and fans were immediately on their feet dancing wildly. Each night was just shy of 4 hours of fans making friends and dancing non stop.
There were so many highlights over the weekend that you had to sit back and just do your best to put it all together. Once “Bertha” began I could see that everyone in attendance was in for a treat over those 2 nights. During that song you can see that John Mayer brings so much of a blues influence to the band and you can feel like he is channeling Jerry Garcia. The one thing that really made these shows stand out was how the band shared the load of vocals between Bob Weir, Oteil Burbridge, and Mayer. I wasn’t familiar with Burbridge’s vocal skills before this tour, but he really fit in well to this ensemble.
Night 1 was an extremely solid show with hits like “Uncle John’s Band”, “Saint Stephen”, “Terrapin Station”, “Slipknot!”, “Franklin’s Tower”, “Ripple”, and “U.S. Blues”. Night 2 brought us “Jack Straw”, “Friend of the Devil”, “Althea”, “Casey Jones”, “Fire on The Mountain”, and “Not Fade Away”.
I still didn’t get how when “Drum/Space” was played each night, a large selection of fans left to grab food and drink. To see Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart perform together on their kits is something I would think fans would not want to miss. Each night was a visual treat and had me hooked.
What really brought the 2 night run to it’s peak was the final encore of the weekend and of the tour. “Brokedown Palace ” was a great lead in that built into the final song “Sunshine Daydream”. The song flowed perfectly and had fans in a frenzy. Though we all were blown away with the fireworks that were set off mid-song and accompanied Daydream to close out the tour. It was a beautiful sight to see.
The next time these guys announce a tour, make sure you can make it to a show or two.
Night 1 Setlist:
- The Music Never Stopped > 2. Bertha > 3. Me and My Uncle > 4. Sugaree > 5. Let It Grow > 6. Uncle John’s Band (Acoustic switched to electric)
7. Shakedown Street > 8. Dark Star (1st verse) > 9. Saint Stephen > 10. China Doll > 11. Terrapin Station > 12. Uncle John’s Band (Reprise) > 13. Drums/Space > 14. Twist (Phish Cover) > 15. Standing on the Moon > 16. Help on the Way > 17. Slipknot! > 18. Franklin’s Tower
19. Ripple > 20. U.S. Blues
Night 2 Setlist:
- Cold Rain and Snow > 2. Jack Straw > 3. Tennessee Jed > 4. Ship of Fools > 5. Dark Star (Acoustic) > 6. Friend of the Devil (Acoustic) > 7. Althea > 8. Casey Jones
9. Sugar Magnolia > 10. Dancing in the Street (Martha Reeves and the Vandellas cover) > 11. Playing in the Band > 12. Comes a Time > 13. Scarlet Begonias > 14. Fire on the Mountain > 15. Drums/Space > 16. The Other One > 17. Days Between > 18. Not Fade Away (The Crickets cover)
19. Brokedown Palace > 20. Sunshine Daydream