by Nick Paruch
Following the passing of Jerry Garcia in 1995, the iconic Grateful Dead broke up, but three decades of material could not rest. The remaining members rematerialized in various configurations over the years as The Other Ones, The Dead, Further and Fare Thee Well. In addition to the founding members, the bands have included Bruce Hornsby, Joan Osborne, Warren Haynes and Trey Anastasio.
For the past four years, in their latest iteration, three of the four surviving founding members of the Grateful Dead—drummer Bill Kreutzmann, drummer and percussionist Mickey Hart, and rhythm guitarist and singer Bob Weir, as well as singer and guitarist John Mayer, Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimentia have been touring the world as Dead and Company.
Some would ask John Mayer? Isn’t he the total opposite of Jerry Garcia, both musically and visually? Yes, he is! But the fact is John Mayer is an accomplished guitarist and his vocal style is a great match for Bob Weir. Also, the intent was never to replace Jerry but to find a someone to compliment the current band.
The heat was on, literally. It is July in Dallas. As the sun started to set on the Dos Equis Pavilion, Dead fans showed up ready to party in full tye-dye regalia. Much of the crowd was from the Baby Boomer era but every generation had representation. Proving just how timeless their music is.
Was this the party of the year? For Deadheads in North Texas it certainly was. The first set had a definite Texas theme as the set included “Minglewood Blues”, “Deep Elem Blues”, “El Paso” and “Jack Straw”. Every time the word “Texas” came
up in the lyrics the crowd would jump and cheer. To top it off John Mayer sported a Stevie Ray Vaughn t-shirt.
Throughout the set Mayer and Weir traded lead vocals and even worked in a few harmonies. It is very apparent that Weir run the show, but Mayer had plenty of opportunities to shine. His guitar work on “Sugaree” was extraordinary and
really showed why he is part of the band.
The second set was laid out in traditional Grateful Dead fashion. A mix of classic jazzy-bluesy jams that included “Shakedown Street”, “Uncle John’s Band” and “St. Stephen”. Midway through the set Hart and Kreutzmann got to show their chops during “Drums” and “Space”. The set ended on an upbeat cover of The Young Rascals “Good Lovin’”. After a short break the band returned for an encore, they performed the Dead staple “Black Muddy River” which hints to hopefulness emerging from the darkness. Not sure if the fans left hopeful but they were certainly satiated from the experience.
See all the photos from the concert on Austin 101.