The opening chord to Shakedown Street always shatter the Deadhead stratosphere and that’s exactly what happened last night as the boys kicked off their second night at Riviera Maya, Mexico. While my So Many Roads colleague Anthony soaks up the sunshine south of the border I couldn’t help but chuckle when Mayer launched the band into, “Cold Rain and Snow”. It seemed too fitting for here in Cleveland but I feel as though “Here Comes Sunshine” would have been a little more fitting for my assumingly tequila drunk Deadhead friend. Segueing out of the unexpected change of weather a winner, “Loser” came next. Now, I’m a fan of “Jack Straw” first set openers more than anything but I was pleased to see our friend from Witchita make his place next to, “Loser” and a subsequent “Easy Wind” blues routine.
I am of the opinion that comes summer 2018 the boys NEED to introduce more Pigpen songs to the Dead and Company catalog. The work that Mayer does with “Easy Wind” and “Big Bossman” are some of my favorite versions of all time. A true bluesman at his roots.. I could only imagine what a shared stage between Mayer and Pigpen would be like. Perhaps they could debut “Hard to Handle”? Or even better.. just play “Lovelight” more!
The show took a turn northeast out of Mexico into Tennessee territory with a perfectly executed, “Tennessee Jed”. Weir seems to get younger as the years go by. In certain instances such as this Bobby’s howl shines through like the summer of 87’.
Our band of merry musicians jumped into full jam throttle mode with a “Sugaree” for the ages. Shit! Every Sugaree that comes out of Dead and Company is live release worthy! In retrospect, the Sugarees from Detroit fall tour 2017 and Wrigley summer tour 2017 are some of the finest dalliances Mayer’s guitar has had with my ears from all of my shows. Weir and company served up a wholesome, “Ripple” to tie up the first set.
After a short break amidst the crisp sea, the boys returned to the stage to perform a space-time bending “Viola Lee Blues”.
Pause. Can we please take a moment to thank Jerry for this spectacular tune? Who else but Garcia could craft a tune so perfectly that it launches as a simple cannon jug song and transforms into a swirling psychedelic machine gun?
I suppose that’s a good analogy to my life before the Dead. Thanks, Jerry. A near 30 minute “China Cat > Rider” took its place in the second set “jam monster” slot for the second night of Mexico. Michael Franti joined the gang for “Rider” which featured phenomenal chord interplay between Weir and Mayer. Oteil chilled the mood down with, “Comes a Time” and Mayer proceeded to shove musical cocaine into the audience’s ears and up the tempo once again with a smoking, “Deal”.
Emerging out of Drums > Space came “Standing on the Moon” featuring a beautiful ballad by Weir. Hey, Deadhead chompers for future reference shut up when Bobby is singing! The fragility of ballads like these is so easily ruined with, “HEY MAN CAN YOU HOLD MY BEER” or “DID YOU HEAR WHAT SUSAN DID”. We, as a scene, can do better. If Phish fans can create total silence during “Divided Sky” certainly we can do our portion for the big man’s ballads! The night wrapped up with smooth, “Wheel > Sugar Magnolia” and a classic knee-slapping, “One More Saturday Night”.
Cold Rain and Snow
Viola Lee Blues
China Cat Sunflower> I Know You Rider ft Michael Franti
Comes a Time
Standing on the Moon
One More Saturday Night