Photo by Jay Blakesberg

Following Saturday night’s tour opener at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Dead & Company traveled north to the outskirts of the original members’ fabled beginnings to Mountainview, Calif. The six-piece–Bobby Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge–enchanted the audience at Shoreline Amphitheatre with two sets of lively music that included an ensemble debut of the Merle Haggard penned “Sing Me Back Home,” a tune that frequented the Grateful Dead’s repertoire in the early ‘70s. 

Last night’s show got underway with a second set staple, “St. Stephen,” placed bluntly at the top of the setlist to open up the night. “St. Stephen” segued into “The Eleven,” a thoughtful pairing, considering the two songs were performed in said order on the Grateful Dead’s seminal 1969 album, Live Dead, along with “Dark Star” and “Lovelight” to cap off the band’s original four-part jam. 

The ensemble brought the groove home on a crowd-pleasing “Shakedown Street,” with Weir and Mayer sharing vocals on the 1978 Garcia/Hunter penned favorite. Noah Lewis’ “Big Railroad Blues” was performed next; the song was covered with some frequency by the Grateful Dead from the end of 1970 through 1973 before it was dropped from the band’s repertoire until the ‘80s when the group picked it back up.  

Following Bob Dylan‘s placement of “Friend of the Devil” at the end of his setlist on Saturday night at Oakland’s Fox Theater, it made sense the band added the fan-favorite to last night’s setlist–as a nod back to the legendary musical virtuoso. An illustrious “Crazy Fingers” came next, with Weir cooing the Blues For Allah epic. The band finished the first set with a hip-shaking “Don’t Ease Me In,” with Mayer carrying out the lyrics off the Go to Heaven ditty. 

The second set opened with Garcia’s “Deal” followed by a Weir-led “Dark Star.” Then, the band moved into “El Paso” ahead of an emotional Dead & Company first. After a monstrous opener, the troupe debuted Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home.” The song commonly appeared on the Grateful Dead setlist from 1971 through 1973 and was performed around 40 times at its height. Last night marked the first time Mickey Hart had served the number since Nov. 6, 1971, Bill Kreutzmann hadn’t dusted it off as of Sept. 26, 1973, and Weir noodled the tune back in 2013. 

The band returned to the set opener, “Dar Star,” to cap the jam, which segued into a monstrous sing-along on “Uncle John’s Band.” “Drums” and “Space” landed next, with Hart mixing in rhythmic mysticism during the traditionally percussive heavy mid-section of the show. Finally, the group jammed into a piece of Workingman’s Dead on a danceable “Cumberland Blues,” getting the last seated attendees out of their chairs and onto their feet. 

Dead & Company performed a stretched-out “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” with Weir taking vocals on the traditionally Garcia-led monster. Then, after a groove-laden cover of the Reverend Gary Davis original, the group dug into “Sugar Magnolia” for the final song of the second set. For their encore, the ensemble stepped out to deliver a flawless take on “Ripple” to cap night one at Shoreline Amphitheatre. 

Dead & Company will continue their summer run tonight with a second serving of Shoreline magic. And, as a special treat, Kreutzmann has announced he’s granting a miracle tonight; in a statement he shared yesterday, he wrote: “It is in that same spirit of the Grateful Dead that I’ve got someone’s miracle for Shoreline.” He went on to add, “I’ll personally purchase a pair for someone reading this. This is not a contest. I just feel in my heart that in this time of deep division and in these pandemic days where we might find ourselves six feet further and further apart, we must never forget that we are all in this together. And nothing brings people together quite like the Grateful Dead. It’s been with me my whole life.” To learn more about eligibility, see Kreutzmann’s full post here.

For those unable to catch tonight’s show in person, livestream options are available via nugs.net.  

Scroll down to see the complete setlist.

Dead & Company 

Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountainview, Calif. 

June 13, 2022

Set I: St. Stephen > The Eleven, Shakedown Street, Big Railroad Blues, Friend of the Devil, Crazy Fingers, Don’t Ease Me In 

Set II: Deal, Dark Star > El Paso > Sing Me Back Home* > Dark Star > Uncle John’s Band > Drums > Space > Cumberland Blues > Death Don’t Have No Mercy,  Sugar Magnolia 

Enc.: Ripple
Notes:
* Dead & Company debut. Last performed by Hart on Nov. 6, 1971, Kreutzmann on Sept. 26, 1973 and Weir on March 4, 2013