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Dead & Company Bid “Fare You Well” To NYC With

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Dead & Company took the bases at Citi Field for the 11th and allegedly final time on Thursday, delivering an emotional sendoff to New York City. Completing a two-night run at the home of the New York Mets, the stadium has become the Grateful Dead offshoot’s most-played venue—a title that Denver’s Folsom Field will reclaim next weekend with a three-night engagement.

As the starting six of Dead & Company took the field, relief guitarist John Mayer—sporting a Mets t-shirt that was well-received by the hometown crowd—appeared to have overcome the back injury that confined him to a chair for the second half of Wednesday’s show. As the band kicked into a “Feel Like A Stranger” opener, Mayer’s good health was further solidified with cogent filtered leads.

Bob Weir‘s repeated statement that it was going to be a “long, long, crazy, crazy night” was immediately reinforced with a jarring drop into a standalone “Franklin’s Tower”. Disconnected from the rest of the “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” movement and placed among the sunshine of the first set, the song took on the role of a jovial sing-along, followed in tandem with the proceeding “Mama Tried”.

Dead & Company – “Feel Like A Stranger” > “Franklin’s Tower” [Pro-Shot] – 6/22/23

Sunshine and singalongs aside, “Alabama Getaway” was where the first set truly clicked as Mayer led the charge with his bluesy vocals. Meanwhile, Bob Weir took up the signed D’Angelico semi-hollow body guitar being auctioned off by HeadCount, easily assuring a few extra thousand dollars in bids for the voting rights non-profit.

Though a late addition to the Dead & Co songbook, having debuted at last summer’s tour opener, the pairing of Traffic‘s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” with the ending coda of The Beatles‘ “Hey Jude” is a card the band plays early and often, with predictably invigorating results each and every time. Keeping the beat rolling, the band never broke stride as the momentum carried them through “Truckin’” (with the obligatory shout-outs to NYC) and the set-closing “Deal”.

For the band’s final set at Citi Field, Dead & Company once again crafted a continuous stream of music that lasted through the entire frame, just as they did the night before. The musical aura undulated from the jovial bop of “Scarlet Begonias” to the incendiary swagger of “Fire On The Mountain” with bassist Oteil Burbridge melting hearts on vocals, and then a cool bounce (literally, in Mayer’s case, as he jumped around the stage) of “Estimated Prophet”.

Dead & Company – “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire On The Mountain” [Pro-Shot] – 6/22/23

“Eyes Of The World” returned the band to a state of grace, with Burbridge taking an extended bass solo that reinforced the mellow mood. Not merely content with his vocal contributions to “Fire”, Oteil even skat sang over the jam as the band picked up speed to take them into “Drums” and “Space”. During the rhythmic breakdown, several planes from nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport flew low over the stadium, the hum of their engines coalescing with drummer Mickey Hart‘s beam for an auditory amalgamation.

Coming out of “Space”, the rest of the band rejoined Hart, Burbridge, and Jay Lane for an extended blues jam that revealed itself as “All Blues”. Thursday marked Dead & Co’s second-ever performance of the Miles Davis instrumental, coming almost exactly a year after its debut at Wrigley Field on June 24th, 2022.

Ladling the audience’s minds out of the cosmic soup, “Cumberland Blues” was a fun snap back to reality. Similarly, the post-“Space” ballad of “All Along The Watchtower” remained grounded in the corporeal world, with Dead & Co seemingly conjuring the elements as a gust of wind blew through Citi Field as Bobby belted “And the wind began to howl!”

Dead & Company – “All Along The Watchtower” (Bob Dylan) – 6/22/23

[Video: Mark Krzos]

The crescendo of the concert, however, came with the set-closing “Morning Dew”. With the Bonnie Dobson cover, Dead & Company took the corporeal world of “All Along The Watchtower” and crumbled it in their hands with improvisation that found beauty in absolute destruction. Underscoring the solemnity of the moment, the massive LED screens that boasted mind-bending visuals all-night long instead displayed only static lightning bolts, turning all attention from the screens to the speakers.

Dead & Company – “Morning Dew” (Bonnie Dobson) – 6/22/23

[Video: Mark Krzos]

As the band returned for the encore, there was really only one way to say goodbye: “Brokedown Palace”. As the line “Fare you well, fare you well / I love you more than words can tell,” rang out there was a tangible feeling—even in that massive stadium—of a shared emotional moment as everyone contemplated what it truly meant to say goodbye to this band of brothers.

Dead & Company’s The Final Tour continues on Saturday and Sunday with two nights at Fenway Park and Boston. For tickets and a full tour schedule visit the band’s website. If you can’t attend in person, head to nugs.net for information about nightly livestreams of The Final Tour.

Dead & Company – Citi Field – New York, NY – 6/22/23 – Full Audio

[Audio: Cam Keough]

Setlist: Dead & Company | Citi Field | New York, NY | 6/22/23

Set One: Feel Like A Stranger > Franklin’s Tower, Mama Tried (Merle Haggard), Alabama Getaway, Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic) > Hey Jude (Reprise) (The Beatles) > Truckin’ > Deal

Set Two: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain, Estimated Prophet > Eyes Of The World > Drums > Space > All Blues (Miles Davis) > Cumberland Blues > All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) > Morning Dew (Bonnie Dobson)

Encore: Brokedown Palace



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