After a flooded out night at Dead and Company’s night, two in Camden, New Jersey the boys trucked onto Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, Ohio for a polished show. After we made our way into the smoky venue patchouli greeted our nostrils and the good energy began to flow. The night began with a wandering jam that eventually flowed into, “Truckin”. It took awhile for the guys to find the sweet spot but they sure did find it, and once they did they had everyone in an uproar of smiles. Johnny Cash’s cover and GD cover classic, “Big River”, came next. Fittingly enough Riverbend is nestled right next to the river separating Ohio and Kentucky. With everyone in boogie mode Weir took the boys into a sublime, “They Love Each Other”, which featured Mayer hitting many familiar “Jerry-isms” with his own unique style.
Weir and company reached for their acoustic instruments and went into, “Friend of the Devil” next. The campfire tune turned into a hootenanny smogged dance party for myself and my fellow Heads. After the barroom mood was set with, “Friend”, Oteil took the helm of the Dead ship. “If I Had The World To Give” blessed everyone’s hearts with sincere empathy and love emanating from Oteil. My friend Serena and her lovely boyfriend got engaged during this tune! Congrats guys! So much love!
The Jerry favorite, “Sugaree”, had the whole crowd bouncing and vibrating to a familiar beat. “Sugaree” had her day and “New Speedway Boogie” came crashing next to close out the first set. How about our boy Bobby?! HOWLIN!
After an extremely short set break, the boys returned to the stage eager to steal faces. “Deal” smoked everyone’s dancing shoes. In a manner to sway the energy Weir signaled the boys into, “He’s Gone”. “He’s Gone”, has a special place in the hearts of most Deadheads with its incredibly personal lyrics. I know I was thinking of one of my old’ buddies during that one. I miss that guy. Miss him everyday.. but, yanno, If a person is special enough to be carried on in the art with such ferocity, like my buddy for me in, “He’s Gone”, you know they’re not really gone.
“China Cat > Rider” took the crowd for a psychedelic train ride which culminated in a kind bending jam. “Drums > Space” brought one of the highlights of the show with a particularly spectacular “Space” jam, which featured great guitar interplay between our two guitar heroes of Dead and Company. Bob Dylan’s “Hard Rains Gonna Fall”, took everyone out of the twilight zone in space to the twilight zone of Bob Dylan imagery. “Hard Rain” is one of my favorite Bobby covers and I hope we get to see more Dylan covers this summer... “Tom Thumbs Blues”, anyone?!
To leave the crowd in a frenzy of smiles the boys closed out the second set with “Goin Down The Road Feelin’ Bad” > “U.S. Blues”. In a total juxtaposition of emotion, the boys returned to the stage for a bone-chilling, “Knockin On Heavens Door”. Setlist choices like these truly represent the Dead for me. Party down songs like GDTRFB make the soul soar and yet the band still maintains the power to express songs like, “Knockin”, with such honest emotion.. the Dead are America’s greatest band in history. As I go down the road feeling particularly good to Deer Creek I want to give a shout out to every Deadhead that has experienced the thrill of dancing to the most beautiful musical catalog to ever exist... NFA! See Y'all in Deer Creek!
They Love Each Other
Friend of the Devil
If I Had The World To Give
New Speedway Boogie
He’s Gone >
China Cat Sunflower >
I Know You Rider >
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall >
Going Down The Road Feeling Bad >
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door