Concert Review: Dead & Company at The Dodger Stadium

I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped outside into the atrocious Los Angeles heat wave to bravely head over to the Dodger Stadium for a guaranteed EXPERIENCE. Only Dead Heads understand the struggle. Dead & Company made their stop there on Saturday (July 7) to pack on even more heat than the sun did.

Dead shows are a full day affair. You can’t experience the show without taking a little visit to Shakedown Street. Shakedown is set up in the parking lot of every venue, slated with dozens of traveling vendors and hippie parties in every corner. Shakedown Street is where you can find any and every type of Grateful Dead memorabilia you could dream up, as well as booze, food, crystals, and of course balloons filled with nitrous… don’t ask.

I only got a quick taste of Shakedown, it was just too dang hot for me to go any earlier than 6pm and yes, I regret missing out on indulging on some rare Dead merch. When I walked up to the line to get into the stadium, the wait was excruciating. Many mildly anxious Dead Heads were eager to get in before the band started playing, but ultimately were too stoned to let anything get them down.

We were almost to the front when we could hear the band starting to jam away. "OH MY GOD is this 'Morning Dew?!'" One very young hippie exclaimed. It was actually “Playing in the Band.” This was the first time they opened with this Bob Weir Track ever, and the first time they played it on this tour. Let it be known that no Dead setlist has been the same on this tour.

"Playing in the Band" LIVE - Dead & Co

Once we got to our seats, it almost felt like a baseball game. If you ever want to witness an entire stadium of people standing on their feet for an entire four-hour concert, then a Dead show will do. Dead fans do not discriminate, people from all ages and backgrounds were in attendance. From John Mayer bro-nerds, to freaky hippies, to conservative looking adults, it really didn’t matter, because everyone left their baggage at home to be a Dead Head that day.

As the original members of Dead & Co, including Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, showed off their chops as the best jammers alive, John Mayer proved his true colors as a phenomenal guitar player and singer. His technical skills know no bounds, and make for perhaps one of the oddest yet sensible “replacement” to any band. Though Mayer has made it clear that he’s not replacing the late and great Jerry Garcia, you can read his sentiment via his Instagram below.

John Mayer Insta

Mayer’s guitar-playing will make any cynic amazed. No one seemed upset about his presence as he managed to charm his way into all of our hearts with his untouchable solos. The first set lasted about an hour and 20 minutes and included beloved hits like “Ramble On Rose” and “Cumberland Blues,” with technical difficulties inbetween where Bob Weir took it upon himself to bestow the crowd with his infamous “Duck Joke.” Mayer made an even funnier joke by saying he was going to “use the opportunity to play a bit of my song ‘Your Body Is A Wonderland'” before transitioning into “Cumberland Blues.” Honestly I sort of wish… But the Dead integrity persists!

Bob Weir and John Mayer Joke

“Deal” transitioned at the end of the opening stanza and that marked the end of their first set. After about 45 minutes, the sun was finally done beating down on our heads and night settled in. Still, the temperature was comfortable enough for many Dead Heads to keep their shirts off, although I have a feeling the weather had nothing to do with that. The six-piece got their second set rolling with American Beauty’s “Sugar Magnolia” and continued to weave into other popular jams like “Scarlet Begonia” and “Fire on the Mountain.”

The “Drums” and “Space” portion of their set delivered a welcomed trippy aspect to the night which had antsy Dead Heads hypnotized for a good 15 minutes. It could have lasted longer and I wouldn’t have been mad. They ended with summer anthem “Sunshine Daydream” before coming back for their two-song encore. They started with “Brokedown Palace” where John Mayer captured any bitter hearts that may have remained at this point. His performance was tear-worthy in every respect. Dead & Co left us with their famous cover of “Not Fade Away” by The Crickets.

"Brokedown Palace" + "Not Fade Away" LIVE - Dead & Co

View the complete setlist below.

Dead & Company

After about four hours of live Dead music, we didn’t want it to be over. We headed right back down to Shakedown Street, but it wasn’t long before the cops made everyone pack up. So we headed down to Sunset street where a bunch of us Dead fans piled into bar-cade hotspot Button Mash, reminiscing and saying our final “Fare Thee Well” to the hot summer night.

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Last updated: 21 Oct 2021, 10:52 Etc/UTC