Yesterday, Dead & Company descended on Cincinnati, Ohio’s Riverbend Music Center as part of their ongoing summer tour. The two-set performance was brimming with Grateful Dead staples, covers and pairings. During the second set, Rhythm Devil, Bill Kreutzmann stepped down and was filled in by frequent Bob Weir collaborator Jay Lane.

Kruetzmann’s absence was not unprecedented: During Dead & Company’s shows in Boulder, Colo., he was spotted using an oxygen tank (though it could have been due to the high altitude), and during the band’s 2021 run the drummer sat out a total of five shows due to an unspecified non-COVID related illness. The sets–sans Kruetzmann–included two performances at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., two sets for Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre near Denver, and the tour closer at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Halloween 2021.

After Kreutzmann did not return to the stage for set two he wrote a post on social media that read, “Well, that was a really fun first set and I feel great, you guys. I did pull a muscle the other night in Boulder and while I’m fine, I’m going to sit out some of this next set. Hope you guys understand and don’t let the rumor mill make fools of you – I’m not giving up this drum chair anytime soon. See you later tonight.”

Kreutzmann, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Jeff Chimenti, John Mayer, and Oteil Burbridge kicked off the show with a trio of adopted songs; “Let The Good Times Roll,” “Cold Rain and Snow” and “Iko Iko” before arriving at “Ship of Fools.” They continued with a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Big River” which was followed by “Here Comes Sunshine” as the Midwestern sky gripped onto long rays of summer sunlight. They closed the set with Weir’s beloved song “Cassidy.”

Dead & Company returned with Lane who sat beside Hart to crack open the set with “Deal.” After a short pause, the ensemble played “Looks Like Rain” which was followed by a string of songs melded together, starting with “St. Stephen.” After the fans were freshly washed by the suds and foam they played “The Eleven” with flowed into the dance staple “Shakedown Street” which jammed into a pairing of “Drums” > “Space.” The energy remained high and light with “I Need a Miracle” which flowed into the heavier “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.”

It was clear the evening was coming to a close and a heavy atmosphere had settled over the crowd after “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Dead & Company cleared the air with “Sugar Magnolia” to close the set. Due to a curfew they immediately played their encore, and Mayer took the lead on “Black Muddy River” to guide fans home.

Dead & Company will perform at Chicago’s Wrigley Field this weekend on June 24 and 25.

Dead & Company
Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, Ohio
June 22, 2022

Set One: Let the Good Times Roll, Cold Rain and Snow, Iko Iko, Ship of Fools, Big River, Here Comes Sunshine, Cassidy

Set Two: Deal, Looks Like Rain, St. Stephen > The Eleven > Shakedown Street > Drums > Space > I Need a Miracle > Death Don’t Have No Mercy, Sugar Magnolia

Encore: Black Muddy River

Notes: Jay Lane played in place of Bill Kreutzmann for the second set