It was apparent at this point in the night the boys came to Beantown to spread the good word of music and they were set to be the psychedelic missionaries. Triumphantly, after a carefully calculated first set Weir led everyone back to the stage and led the band into, “Scarlet Begonias” which eventually seeped into, “Fire on the Mountain”, completing the dynamic duo. Reflecting upon “Scarlet”, as I write this I am taken aback by many moments in my life. A cautionary tale, indeed. Even more so, I’ve always found, “Scarlet” to be a call for fun. Whether “Scarlet” be a one night stand with a hippie girl from the mothballs of one’s memory or a serious love gone astray there is always a looming message that, “There’s nothing wrong with the way she moves”.
After blazing through, “Scarlet > Fire” the boys moved onto their first, “He’s Gone” of the tour, which featured images of Garcia on the titantron. To me, this was a slap in the face of death. “Hey, mortal world! You don’t apply to the Dead! This music LIVES!”.
Mayer pounded the band into, “Viola Lee Blues” next. For me, this is always Dead and Company highlight. It appears as though it is one of the band’s favorite tunes as well. Nearer to the inception of the sextet “Viola” would stretch to nearly 20 minutes long. I have to imagine there was a conscious decision made that it had to be shortened. I say let it loose!
Drums > Space melted into a beautiful rendition of Miles Davis’ “Milestones”. Although this transition has been done before in Dead and Company’s catalog I feel as though I can speak for everybody that more jazz covers seeping from psychedelic madness the better.
Next Dead and Company would tell a tune they have only spoken once of before in 2017, “Wharf Rat”. After appearing only once on their summer tour in Pittsburgh the legendary Garcia ballad jam machine was summoned to introduce everyone in Boston to a man named August West. After noodling through everyone’s brains Mayer led the jam into a Peter Tosh-esque, “Wheel” which started off in usual fashion but melted into a jam that turned Boston Garden into a humble Rastaman abode. Before things got too mellow Mayer sliced up the reggae vibes into the pure rock n roll, “Sugar Magnolia”. The night was perfectly wrapped up in a circular fashion with, “Ripple”. Is there another band on earth that can stomp through a tune as, “Viola” and make their way through reggae inspired world music only to end with a campfire sing along? If there is please tell me about them. Until then, there is only one Dead. The boys return to Boston for a second night on Sunday.