Dead & Company returned to the US on Saturday night, playing their first of three make-up shows in the wake of John Mayer’s emergency appendectomy this past December.
Having just completed their first Playing in the Sand destination event, the band was in good spirits when they took the stage at NOLA’s Smoothie King Center. They opened with the hard-hitting “Feels Like A Stranger,” before segueing into another upbeat number “The Music Never Stopped.”
The evening’s highlight came at the end of set one with the appearance of legendary Meters bassist George Porter Jr. The New Orleans native briefly subbed-in for Oteil Burbridge, lending skilled basslines and vocals to songs like Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning” and the Dead favorites “Bertha” and “Sugaree.” The sit-in also acted as a mini reunion for 7 Walkers, a band started by drummer Bill Kreutzmann and joined by Porter in 2010 following their self-titled debut LP.
Set two opened with a nice “Scarlet”>“Fire” jam. The band then made their way into a jam on “Eternity.” (The “Eternity Jam” is a set of Willie Dixon lyrics set to new music by Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman. The Dead debuted it just over 25 years ago on Feb. 21 1993.)
The New Orleans-referencing “Truckin’” followed—with its classic “busted down on Bourbon Street” lyric—and kicked off a long line of jamming that weaved through “Ship of Fools,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Drums/Space,” “Stella Blue” and finally landed on the band’s standby mid-weekend closer “One More Saturday Night.” They encored with “Werewolves of London.”
On Feb. 26 Dead & Company will play the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, and on Feb. 26 they will play their final make-up date at Orlando’s Amway Center.
See the full setlist, and watch the set one and set two openers below.
Dead & Company
Feb. 24, 2018
Smoothie King Center New Orleans, LA
Set I: Feel Like A Stranger > The Music Never Stopped > Cold Rain and Snow, Peggy-O, Friend Of The Devil, Smokestack Lightning^, Bertha^, Sugaree^
Set II: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain> Eternity Jam, Truckin’ > Ship Of Fools > Uncle John’s Band > Drums/Space > Stella Blue > One More Saturday Night
Enc: Werewolves Of London
Notes: ^with George Porter Jr., Oteil off-stage