While the remainder of the nation boiled, San Francisco offered concert attendees ideal climate on Sunday for the last demonstration of Dead and Company’s last visit. Grateful Dead fans celebrate fortuitous occurrences like the sunny afternoon and cool evening as omens. Even for those who don’t believe in Deadhead prophecy, the band’s sold-out concert at Oracle Park on Sunday night, the last of three shows and a kind of homecoming, did not disappoint.
The two-set performance, which ended with a lengthy encore of three songs, covered a satisfying variety of the Dead’s storied repertoire, including some less obvious choices and well-known touchstones. It was confirmation that this band stays consistent with the soul of quirky freedom that characterized the Thankful Dead. The exhibition offered a heartfelt, celebratory, and frequently moving goodbye to a band that for some fans has turned into the great inheritor of the Dead’s melodic mantle. Dead and Company’s eight-year run, which developed into an undeniable arena show, gave another age of fans an opportunity to encounter the force of the Dead’s music how all is right with the world heard: live and at the time.
The scene outside might have been straight out of the Dead’s prime. Investigation Road, the rambling parking garage Deadhead create market, was in full influence before the show, with positive feelings and relaxed security. Sellers said they had a decent visit, however many looked street worn, yet no indication of that showed up in the performers in front of an audience. Pundits expecting burnout, weariness or simply advanced age with respect to Sway Weir and Mickey Hart have been bewildered by the visit, which has reliably offered top notch exhibitions described by creative set records.
Equivalent credit for that goes to the four more youthful musicians. When the Dead first formed, insiders were taken aback by John Mayer’s obvious love of the band’s music, but those reservations have since vanished. His talented guitar work on Sunday gave a smooth contradiction to Weir’s. Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and Jay Path are veterans of a few post-Dead conglomerations, and Oteil Burbridge’s experience and flexibility made him a characteristic, letting him jump into drums for the percussion intermission too. Path, another expansion to Dead and Company, covering for unique Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, made a perfect commitment.
The 20-tune show, alongside the second-set freestyle improvisational portion named “Drums and “Space,” drew from every one of the thirty years of the Dead’s profession. The band opened with “Bertha,” which was composed as an eccentric tribute to a temperamental office ventilation fan. The melody’s hold back — “Bertha, don’t you come around here any longer” — sounded this evening like a disavowal of destiny, an insubordinate refusal to acknowledge disbanding. It was the first of a 1970s-weighty set list, a time that for a large number addresses the Dead’s pinnacle.
The Dead’s own influences were honored in the first set, with a powerful rendition of “Samson and Delilah,” which Weir learned from legendary bluesman Rev. Gary Davis, and more contemporary songs like “Good Lovin’,” which the Rascals made famous and the Dead first performed in 1966. Hello Jude” was a melody the Dead originally played in 1969; on Sunday, the band matched its repeat with Traffic’s 1967 hit “Dear Mr. Dream,” a variety the Dead sharpened during the 1980s. Both were particularly successful this evening, offering their anthemic characteristics without sounding invented or constrained.
This band has its own set of experiences, notwithstanding, and that sparkled all through. ” The Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter ballad “Althea,” which first piqued John Mayer’s interest in the Dead, and bassist Oteil Burbridge’s passionate rendition of “High Time” were standouts of the first set. A momentous version of “Bird Tune” shut the set, its elegiac tone (initially written to grieve the troublesome demise of band companion Janis Joplin) was impeccably appropriate for the night.
The Dead’s musical continuity and development, as well as the band’s history, were highlighted in the extensive second set. A stalwart opening of “Help on the Way” into “Slipknot!” After that, “Franklin’s Tower” explored every nuance of the difficult transitions, embracing a deconstruction that was almost dissonant and demonstrated the band’s sophistication. The two Weir originals, “Estimated Prophet” and “Sugar Magnolia,” were tremendous, as were the Garcia songs, such as “Eyes of the World” and “Days Between,” which Weir has performed far more than the Dead have. More amazing was “Cumberland Blues,” an impossible exhibit that this evening became something totally new, maybe the most telling and unobtrusive articulation of how Dead and Company have managed the band’s collection. The Dead’s signature road anthem “Truckin’,” one of their most moving elegies, was the first of three songs in the three-song encore, followed by “Brokedown Palace,” one of their most moving elegies, and “Not Fade Away,” which had been the surprise opener on the first night of this run.
This visit has procured honors even from old folks who some time in the past hung up their tie-colors, and this evening was no special case. Hart’s drumming never faltered, going from muscular and propulsive to strikingly nuanced and lyrical during the percussion interlude in the second set. Weir’s singing and playing were always strong. Dead and Company’s visiting duty have paid off liberally: The band’s reach and accuracy are striking, with imaginative reevaluations of old works of art and revitalized chestnuts intriguing even bored fans. And keeping in mind that Sunday’s set rundown didn’t plumb the most little known crevices of the Dead’s surprisingly profound songbook, the music was moving and creative in manners that respected the Dead’s celebrated past and clarified that their heritage is nowhere near static.
No one is talking about Dead & Company’s retirement, despite the fact that this is billed as their final San Francisco show. Shows for the fall have already been announced by the indomitable Weir, and Bill Kreutzmann has scheduled dates for August. Hart is at any point occupied, Mayer has his performance vocation, and Burbridge, Chimenti and Path are dependably sought after. Fan gossipy tidbits about conceivable gathering gigs are as of now drifting through the scene, yet those appear to be more a demonstration of how completely this band has figured out how to tackle the Dead’s subtle soul. Furthermore, for both old fans and new, Dead and Company demonstrated commendable successors to the band’s inheritance, as this evening’s show demonstrated.
That makes this goodbye ambivalent. Fans were perplexed by the messages, from the announcement that this would be the band’s last tour to the departure of drummer Bill Kreutzmann and the apparent surprise of some band members. The visit has been its own response, with the music communicating everything, except in this show, Hart made a special case, straightforwardly tending to the group toward the end. He said thanks to the group as well as the group, saying “Without you, we are not a thing In a smart idea, the noteworthy robot show finished in a citation referring to Hart’s words at the last Passage You Well show in Chicago, not long before Dead and Company shaped: ” Kindly respond.
It was a fitting last assertion, and a sign of approval for the manners in which that the enduring musicians have woven their turn out together for almost 6-years, sewing a mind boggling history whose next section is presently an open inquiry again.