Photo by Katie Friesema
On June 14, Dead & Company made their final stand at the renowned Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountainview, Calif. The venue represents a piece of band history, especially for the original members of the Grateful Dead–Bobby Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann–who have spent many-storied nights performing on the fabled stage prior to the untimely passing of Jerry Garcia. Last night’s setlist paid homage to the guitar great, with pieces of his self-titled LP, Garcia, and vast compositional archive intermingled into the band’s lineup, as well as locational odes and Bay Area mentions.
The first set got underway with a serving of Weir’s 1972 debut LP, Ace, with “Cassidy,” a song that alludes to the Grateful Dead’s friendship with beatnik, Neal Cassady, and further association with Bay Area tropes like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests and counter-culture occurrences. “Cassidy” segued into “Bird Song,” a Garcia original with significant San Francisco flair–written in memory of Janis Joplin. Next, the band jammed into “Dire Wolf,” a timeless ballad written by Robert Hunter and led by John Mayer, during last night’s concert.
Weir then sang vocals on the Bob Dylan tune, “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” a song that has been a facet of the live Grateful Dead experience since being introduced as a setlist standard in 1987–the year they went on tour with Dylan. The first set continued with fan favorite, “Tennessee Jed,” ahead of groove-heavy “Here Comes Sunshine,” a sure-fire sign of summer, which was amplified by set closer, “U.S. Blues.”
Dead & Company opened their second set of music at Shoreline Amphitheatre with one of their earliest tunes, “Cold Rain and Snow.” They followed with another fitting ode to their surrounds, on “Estimated Prophet,” the enchanting lyrics: “California, preaching on the burning shore/ California, I’ll be knocking on the golden door/ Like an angel, standing in a shaft of light/ Rising up to paradise, I know, I’m gonna shine” emanating from the stage and into the vast old-growth forest and up the coastline.
The drummer’s choice, “Eyes of the World,” was performed next, with Weir leading the lyrics while the band jammed on the monumental number and fan-favorite to a vast capacity of admirers. “Lady with a Fan” followed, with Mayer hitting the mark on the devastatingly beautiful lyrical arrangement penned by Hunter. As is tradition, “Lady With a Fan” segued into “Terrapin Station” with the lyrics: “Inspiration, move me brightly/ light the song with sense and color,” bringing a tickle of emotion to the throat of any seasoned listener.
A pairing of “Drums” and dance-infused “Space” came next, ahead of another taste of Garcia’s self-titled album with “The Wheel.” The latter was played into “Standing on the Moon,” the night’s final ode to its surrounds, with the lyrics “Somewhere in San Francisco/ On a back porch in July/ Just looking up to heaven/ At this crescent in the sky” conjuring imagery of a smiling, sweat-short clad Garcia on stage, met with the crowd’s applause at the Bay Area mention. Additionally, the tune further acknowledged June’s strawberry moon which glistened overhead.
Dead & Company brought it home on set ender, “Not Fade Away,” with vocal accompaniment by the entire band. As is congruent with a live Dead experience, the crowd chanted “Know our love will not fade away” until the ensemble returned to deliver their one-and-only encore: a soulful and heart-gripping rendition of the American Beauty classic, “Brokedown Palace.”
For keen-eyed fans, the sight of Grateful Dead super fan and west coast staple, Bill Walton, was an added treat, particularly during the band’s rendition of “The Wheel.” It is believed the basketball star is not only in the area for a live show, but to commentate the Golden State Warrior’s run for the NBA Championship.
Dead & Company will take a few days off the road before returning to the stage on Friday, June 17, at Boulder’s Folsom Field for a two-night affair in the Centennial State.
For those unable to catch the concert in person, livestream options can be purchased via nugs.net.
Dead & Company
Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountainview, Calif.
June 14, 2022
Set I: Cassidy > Bird Song > Dire Wolf, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Tennessee Jed, Here Comes Sunshine, U.S. Blues
Set II: Cold Rain and Snow, Estimated Prophet > Eyes of the World > Lady With a Fan > Terrapin Station > Drums > Space > The Wheel > Standing on the Moon, Not Fade Away
Enc.: Brokedown Palace