Photo Credit: Rich Fury

On Friday, May 17, Dead & Company kept on truckin’ in Las Vegas with the second night of its long-awaited 24-show Dead Forever residency at Sphere. After night one set the bar high with a staggering array of classic tracks and eye-popping visuals, night two kept on with the band’s biggest hits and fan favorites, set to a nostalgic panorama of memories from the Dead’s heyday. While some recycled imagery arrived as a surprise, new content pushed at the furthest capacities of the technologically advanced venue, just as the band delivered once-in-a-lifetime performances to cultivate a true highlight in Dead & Company’s history.

To kick off its second staging, Dead & Company let loose a ripping, funky rendition of “Samson and Delilah,” which saw the towering Sphere screens descend on the hallowed space of San Fransisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood, setting the scene of the band’s formation just as it had on night one. After a steadily grooving “Shakedown Street,” the band–featuring Bobby Weir, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti and Jay Lane–merged into the upbeat Skull & Roses classic “Bertha,” as the band became staged against a vibrant plume of technicolor smoke. 

More night one imagery returned with “Crazy Fingers,” which brought on the same rainforest scene formerly seen with “Bird Song,” and the band’s beloved treatment of Johnny Cash’s “Big River,” which brought forth the same retro Western title cards that billed Weir as “Ace” the night before. For the exuberant “Good Lovin’,” the sphere screen became a tie-dye spiral, flushing with new cover and coiling off into infinity as the band moved into the set-closer “Deal,” which saw the return of the richly historical wall of Dead ticket stubs, posters, merch and other material remembrances that marked a definite highlight in night one.

The band returned to the stage with a slow burn on “China Cat Sunflower,” leaning into the essential track’s stripped-back, blues-funk undertones with a novel treatment. This essential cut cast the band against the iconic stealie emblem, glinting in silver and decorated with a billowing bouquet of roses. Next, as always, the band merged into “I Know You Rider,” bringing with it the most impressive new visual sequence of the show as the Sphere periphery panned to the edifice of the Winterland Arena, the long-lost Bay Area staple that served as a formative stage for the Dead, who famously performed at the venue’s final show. The story continued as Sphere cycled through two more classic settings, first showing Cornell University’s Barton Hall–the site of the band’s legendary Cornell 5/8/77 performance–then moving to simulations of The Fillmore and Morrison, Colo.’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, among others.

Dead & Co. kept the fire burning with “Estimated Prophet,” which brought the return of the virtual wall of sound that made headlines on night one. As the towering trademark melted away to a psychedelic slurry, the band tore into an advanced jam, bringing the energy to a peak as they invited Santana band drummer Karl Perazzo to the stage–the first guest in the series. Perazzo supported performances of “Cumberland Blues,” “The Other One” and finally “Drums,” for which Burbridge tapped in on Lane’s kit to deliver some heady polyrhythms. The set turned off to a far-out moment as Hart mounted up on The Beam, bringing the energy to a terse simmer fitting to springboard a bluesy “Space,” which in turn cleared the way for the relative rarity “Black Peter”

The energy erupted once more as Dead & Company moved on to “Althea,” a cornerstone of the catalog that notably sourced the first-ever duet between Weir and Mayer years before. This fan-favorite, set against the fantastically camp drips of a massive lava lamp, opened up an impressive medley, paying through “U.S. Blues” and a stunning “Mountain Dew” to bring the venue back to the famous facades of Haight Ashbury. After a revival of the TV broadcast from night one, the band finally closed out the show with a truly spectacular “Turn On Your Love Light.”

Dead and Company will return to the Sphere tonight to conclude the first weekend of its summer residency. For tickets and more information, visit

Read on for the complete setlist from night two.

Dead & Company
Sphere – Las Vegas

Set I: Samson and Delilah, Shakedown Street > Bertha, Crazy Fingers, Big River, Good Lovin’, Deal
Set II: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Estimated Prophet, Cumberland Blues*, The Other One*, Drums* > Space, Black Peter, Althea > U.S. Blues > Morning Dew, Turn On Your Love Light

* w/ Karl Perazzo on percussion.