Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dead & Company at Madison Square Garden

John Mayer and Bob Weir
The Grateful Dead formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California, and while the core band enjoyed great success and stayed together over the next 30 years, it was haunted by many deaths. Following the death of guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia in1995, the remaining members formally decided to disband. These surviving members reunited in various combinations, however, including the Other Ones, the Dead, Furthur, and the Rhythm Devils. In addition, many of the musicians started their own bands, all of which played Grateful Dead music. In the summer of 2015, guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart reunited for five stadium concerts called "Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead," stating that this would be the last time that the "core four" would perform together. The Grateful Dead's music would live on, however. Shortly after the stadium concerts, Lesh toured with his own band, Phil Lesh & Friends, while Weir, Kreutzmann, and Hart announced the formation of Dead and Company with guitarist John Mayer, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, and bassist Oteil Burbridge, playing 20 arena concerts from October to December 2015.

Dead and Company's third concert at Madison Square Garden was sponsored by American Express, and tickets were distributed free via lottery. Despite the mix of old and new musicians, the entire concert was comprised of songs that the core musicians had played in concert since at least 1978, with a couple of songs that stretched as far back as 1967. Mayer, an accomplished blues and pop artist, sang and played lead guitar well on songs largely composed before his birth in 1977. Mayer added a gritty, swampy layer to the songs, but otherwise the concert was yet another retread for the vast and undying Dead Head community. Dead & Company was not the Grateful Dead, but instead the remaining scraps of the Dead's legacy. For Dead Heads everywhere, Dead & Company will have to do, at least until the next inevitable combination of surviving musicians reunites.

Visit Dead & Company at