Dead & Company @ the Gorge – 6/7 & 6/8/19
Show Review & Photos by Peter Dervin
The summer concert season at the beautiful Gorge Amphitheatre in Central Washington blew in with the howlin’, chillin’ wind from the Columbia River Gorge with Dead & Company and their legions of Deadheads.
Dead & Company, featuring Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart of the good old’ Grateful Dead, were joined by John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti. They hit the stage and kicked off the first evening of their two night-run with a churning “Feel Like a Stranger” and then a rousing rendition of “Cumberland Blues.”
Bob Weir and John Mayer traded off on the singing, which allowed for a very nice flow of Grateful Dead classics. John Mayer sang a wonderful “Dire Wolf” followed by Bobby singing a stirring “Loser” and then the always fun “Loose Lucy.” John Mayer followed with a lovely “It Must Have Been The Roses” as the first set wrapped up with a jammin’ “Music Never Stopped.” All in all, you couldn’t have asked for better way to get the festivities goin’.
Surprisingly, the blustery winds died down, and it actually warmed up enough so when the band came back on stage with the sun setting over the horizon, the chords of “Here Comes Sunshine” perfectly set the tone for the evening. Then as the sun disappeared, the subtle sounds of “Dark Star” floated into the night, and then an amazing “Scarlet Begonias” and “China Doll” sung by Oteil Burbridge and back to “Dark Star” for a 45-minute-long jam that was out of this world.
As shows went, this was proving to be stellar! “Eyes of the World” got things off again, taking us into the Drums/Space instrumental trip session and coming back with a sweet “Black Peter.” As the evening was coming to the close, a rousing “Crazy Jones” got everyone rockin’ to wrap up the second set. For the encore, we all felt ecstatic joy with everyone singing along to “Ripple” which left everyone in the crowd wanting more.
This year I was able to trailer camp with some friends and we spent our time checking out Shakedown Street where Deadheads converge to check out assorted merchandise and other things… I was able to reconnect with an old friend who spends his year traveling from shows and festivals around the West selling his wide variety of tie-dyed clothing.
Night Number Two started with the ever popular “Bertha” and “Me and My Uncle” which had everyone groovin’ in the summer sun. The tunes rolled along with “They Love Each Other,” “I Need A Miracle” and “Comes a Time.” Bobby belted out “Throwing Stones” for another sing-a-long moment. And then a wonderful “Terrapin Station” closed out the first set to the delight of everyone.
The second set kicked off with “Playing in the Band” into “Uncle John’s Band” and back to “Playing in the Band” which really set the mood for the rest of the evening. Then came a jammin’ “Deal” that rolled along into “Viola Lee Blues” which then morphed into “Drums and Space”, whoa, are you kidding me, and then into “The Wheel.” Elation abounded!!!!
Bobby then pulled out Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” before kickin’ it into “One More Saturday Night” that had the entire venue off its feet! The encore closed out the weekend with a frolicking “Touch of Grey” to send us off for the evening.
It had been a couple years since I last attended a Dead & Company show and this one was pretty special. John Mayer has added an element to his playing that has become more dynamic. Oteil Burbridge hold down a solid bass line that truly amazes. Jeff Chimenti on keyboards is wonderful and there’s the old guys, Bobby, Billy and Mickey that that bring it every time with enthusiasm, grace and style. Nothing could be better than hangin’ out with a bunch of Deadheads on a summer evening in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.