Dead & Company had to postpone the originally scheduled Fall Tour 2017 South Florida show Dec 8, 2017, when John Mayer needed an emergency appendectomy. Monday, February 26, 2018, was the rescheduled show. They say timing is everything. The show came on the heels of the Parkland school shooting tragedy. Coincidence for sure but Dead & Company brought their kindness and love to a community in need of healing through the universal language of music.
The band took the stage at approximately 7:17 pm for their 7 pm start time. Both Bob Weir and Oteil Burbridge were wearing #MSDSTRONG shirts. The boys came out kicking off the evening bursting into “Shakedown Street.” They were definitely on fire right out of the gate with John Mayer on vocals. This was followed by a very strong rendition of Cassidy sung by Bob Weir...followed by Oteil Burbridge lending his beautiful voice to "There Comes a Time." YES, they let Oteil sing!!! YAY!! After, John sang, "They Love Each Other" followed by “Bird Song.” The show picked up a bit jamming “Bird Song” into "New Speedway Boogie" back into "Bird Song." They closed out the first set with "Deal" with the audience singing along. John Mayer was ablaze on that guitar, smoking hot.
The second set opened around 9:30 pm with a cover, "The Weight" by The Band with Jeff Chimenti singing vocals on the second half of the song. John then sang lead on "Help on the Way" which was followed by "Slipknot!" into a beautiful "Eyes of the World" that featured solos of Jeff on Keys and Oteil on Bass which morphed into an insane instrumental version of "Dark Star." It was simply off the charts and transitioned into Drums and Space. The musicians left Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart to their rhythmic magic. Tonight, drums and space was an interesting combination of island/African beats and electronic cosmic vocals after which Bill left the stage as the one and only beam mastermind Mickey Hart engineered the sounds of his beam. Subsequent to his beaming, the band members returned to the stage with Oteil on bass leading into the "Days Between" with Bobby on vocals. Bobby continued into an impassioned version of "Throwing Stones." The crowd was on its feet as they took the stage one last time that evening for an encore - “Touch of Grey." What an incredible performance we witnessed.
However, this was NOT just any performance by Dead & Company. While I think every show has its special moments and highlights; this show had a distinct meaning. The set list was carefully scripted and thoughtfully prepared. The graphics before and during the show/set breaks included the mascot and logo for Stoneman Douglas. The songs they sang took on a special meaning. The #MSDSTRONG shirts worn by every member of the band and the March for Our Lives shirts were an expression of solidarity with our community. It was an indescribable feeling to be there. It was the first time I had the opportunity to see Dead & Company at home in South Florida, in my community, with my people. What an emotional evening it was on so many levels; felt special to be a part of it. ...and the following quote by Mickey Hart popped into my mind. "The feeling we have here - remember it, take it home and do some good with it. I'll leave you with this... - BE KIND!!!" ...and a tremendous act of kindness it was. These guys don't just talk the talk; they walk the walk!
Dead & Company spent time with the children, the survivors of the school massacre. They became part of the community; they listened, they felt for the people, and they took action and are continuing to do so in support of the Parkland community. Dead & Company also made a donation to the transition fund to help the school transition back to some sense of normalcy. This statement and act of loving kindness they demonstrated is continuing. On their Facebook and Instagram pages, the members of Dead & Company continue to promote the cause. They are leading by example, and I commend them for their generosity and kindness.
If you too want to be part of this effort and continue the support what our band Dead & Company has led by example, you may do so by visiting the following websites:
Dead & Company is auctioning off four (4) Dead & Company posters from the South Florida BB&T show signed by the entire band - the money raised will benefit the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victim's Fund – click the link to bid: https://qtego.net/qlink/stonemandouglas#
If you'd like to purchase MSDSTRONG apparel, please visit the following website: http://www.msdstrong.us/support-msd.html
All proceeds go directly to the school to support its students as they transition back over the next few weeks, months, and years.
...and whatever you do, don’t miss the upcoming Dead & Company summer tour; as always, we are in for a real treat! Very much looking forward to it; simply cannot wait!!
Listen to the entire February 26, 2018, show here.