The beaches of Mexico were once again adjourned by a sea of tie-dye for Dead and Company’s final night at Riviera Maya. After a canceled Fall tour because of John Mayer’s appendix, the boys brought fire and flames to their triumphant return to the stage during this three-night run. And you know what they say, “never miss a Sunday show!”
Fitting for a Sunday, Weir launched the band into, “Samson and Delilah” and brought the entire crowd to church. In more recent memory, Weir has been opening this song with a tambourine to accent the beat. It just goes to show even with his age Bobby is not eager to explore the potential of the music. The band eased into a slowed down, “Mississippi Half-Step” into a sublime, “They Love Each Other”. There is a great debate among the Deadhead crowd regarding Dead and Company’s tempo in their songs. To some, they may dismiss the music immediately, but I am of the opinion there are certain songs that can only capture the emotions they need to when they’re slowed down, “They Love Each Other” is reflective of this.
Next came “Greatest Story Ever Told” which was debuted the second night of Dead and Company’s fall run at MSG. I’m actually pretty surprised they busted this one out last fall. Truly a tune that displays Weir’s strong baritone rockstar voice. Next came another tune that debuted on the Fall tour, “If I Had the World To Give”. Oteil proves time and time again that he can deliver the “feel” on these sacred Jerry ballads. The energy was picked up a notch with a swashbucklin’, “Ramble on Rose”. As the Deadheads that descended upon Mexico danced along the velvet waves Mayer and Weir tuned into the magical energy of the night with this one. To cap off the first set the boys summoned, “Bird Song”. After a short set break amongst the Mexican sands, Weir gave the launch commands to Billy and the machine was off one again. Mayer displayed a virtuous Steve Ray Vaughn-esque “St. Stephen” to launch the second set into full gear. “Franklin’s Tower” sent ripples throughout the crowd with a familiar bounce. The bounce became only more prominent with a earth-shattering, “US Blues”, which I believe was the highlight of the night. With a change of pace, the monolith, “Terrapin Station” came next. To Head’s in Mexico, an individual might easily think that they had indeed made it to “Terrapin” this magical weekend. “Drums > Space” made its way into a classic 60’s segue of “The Other One > Morning Dew”. To me, a segue like this on a symbolic level is the reason why the Dead hold such a magical status. The first tune displays a classic beat story, “Neal Cassady”, a friend of the Dead, and “On The Road” hero. The next tune, “Morning Dew” showcases complete apocalypse of the human race. The Dead, to me at least, is a painting of the human experience. The experience of a Dead show creates a solidarity within the soul for the human race. To cap off the night the boys finished their run in Mexico with a spicy “Not Fade Away” and a tear-jerking, “Brokedown Palace” encore.
But wait, there’s more! The boys had one more trick up their sleeve with a “Playin’ in the Band” reprise to pick up where they left off from the first song of the Mexico run. That’s right, the whole weekend was a giant “Playin in the Band” sandwich. You gotta love this band!
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Samson and Delilah
Mississippi Half Step
They Love Each Other
Greatest Story Ever Told
If I Had the World To Give
Ramble on Rose
The Other One
Not Fade Away