May 5, 1965 at Magoo’s Pizza is where it all began. Fifty two years later, The Grateful Dead’s legacy continues to inspire us.
On Sunday evening, Dead & Company, led by Weir/Kreutzmann/Hart along with Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, and John Mayer took the stage in The Big Apple for the Fall Tour opener.
Well, you know what they say, “Never miss a Sunday show.” The six piece veterans came out on fire at Madison Square Garden, opening with a solid groovy “Shakedown Street.” It felt like the energy was bouncing off the home of the NBA’s New York Knicks. Throughout the opening jam and “Greatest Story Ever Told”’ everyone were smiling ear to ear in the band and cool, calm and collected. Keeping the flow moving upward and onward, “Bertha” had the capacity arena crowd on their feet shaking it in the aisles. With Kreutzmann and Hart (The Rhythm Devils), keeping a solid backbeat and Mayer taking the lead vocals, the number had a strong showing in the opening Fall Tour set. It feels like after a few years together this project has taken off and magic is filling arenas night in and night out. Slowing the pace down just a tad, was a beautifully crafted, “They Love Each Other,” that gave Weir and Mayer shining their vocals range. A little miscue in the beginning but “Cumberland Blues”’ brought the first set to a strong close.
Losing no momentum at all “China Cat Sunflower” flowing smoothly into “I Know Rider” was the perfect way to begin the opening journey of the second set. The beauty of these group of musicians is that they play so well off each other. This was particularly evident during “I Know You Rider” when keyboard master Jeff Chimenti added some flourishes to expand the jam and provide additional space, and ultimately, leading the band through crescendo.
You would think that opening night, there would be a few cobwebs to brush off, but the band, in its third year, was firing on all cylinders. As Weir strummed a faint opening riff to “Terrapin Station,” Mayer took to the microphone to soulfully belt out each lyric. Feeling deep into the groove Burbridge showcased his funky dance moves during “The Other One”, as Mr. Mayer shredded his solo. With a sweet ending to the night, “Samson & Delilah” along with the Warren Zevon, classic, “Werewolves Of London,”
The Deadheads filled the streets of New York City.
With over five decades since their beginning, The Grateful Dead’s rich history lives on through those young and old. On Sunday night it was evident that the music brings joy to six talented musicians. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what should be a stellar Fall Tour from Dead & Company.