Night two, “One More Saturday Night” at Citi Field is in the books! Very lucky to have attended both shows. The weather was spectacular on this second night of the two-night run at the ballpark. Dead & Company 2018 Summer tour is in full swing and at the halfway point. I have been following Dead & Company since their inception and witnessing what I see as an evolution.
When I left Citi Field on Friday night, I thought to myself, wow, that was a great show despite the fact that the stadium was kind of empty as compared to last summer’s run. It really started and ended on a high note. Left me wondering what night two would be like. Fast forward to night two.
I entered the stadium just before 7 pm, the field was noticeably full, and the rest of the stadium was also filling in very nicely; way better than the night before. Tonight, the crowd was a nice mix, not as young as Friday night, more along the lines of the usual attendees I would have expected to see.
The band took the stage just a few minutes after the scheduled start time of 7:30 pm and right out of the gate the stage was ablaze with a kick-ass “Sugar Magnolia” with John and Jeff taking amazing solo turns on their toys. The energy level was really high, both from the band perspective, but also from the crowd perspective. A gathering of extremely happy, spirited, smiling and dancing people. The band went right into “Mississippi Half-Step” with John hitting the high notes with his incredible voice, giving it his all. Then, Bobby sang his heart out with a great rendition of “Peggy-O” before handing the reigns back over to John to lead us through a high energy “Bertha.” Next, we were treated with one of the many highlights of the first set, featuring the one and only Oteil and his beautiful voice on “Comes a Time.” The audience just ate it up, and if that wasn’t enough, the band delivered us an absolutely explosive rendition of Bird Song into New Speedway Boogie back into Bird Song to finish off the first set. There was so much damn energy coming from that stage, and that energy was definitely being reciprocated by the audience. These guys were bopping around, smiling and completely in sync with each other. Damn, we were experiencing some really good stuff. The band, in my opinion, had just risen to a new level with their tremendous jams, vocals, and exceptional playing.
The first set ended around 9:05 pm and the second set began approximately 50 minutes later. Ok, it was a long set break, basically five minutes longer than the night before but frankly who cares, it was a well-deserved break! On to set 2 beginning with “Help on the Way” > “Slipknot” > “Franklin’s Tower” and that was a winning trifecta. From the epic solo by John on the guitar to the interplay/echoing between he and Jeff on the keys, Bobby on his guitar, Oteil slaying it on the bass, and those rhythm devils, together they created this fantastic multi-layered soundscape that was nothing short of incredible. John’s vocals were nothing short of angelic tonight as he hit the high notes.
Then the show got a bit interesting, only for a minute or two at the beginning of St. Stephen when there was some discontent, or maybe confusion, etc. on the part of Bobby, and the band stopped playing for a second but quickly got back on track as if nothing happened. The band segued into “The Eleven,” which, by the way, had never been played on the tour, before tonight and tonight being the eleventh night of the 2018 summer tour found its spot. This transitioned us into the next dimension of drums and space. …and like last night, the rhythm devils (Mickey and Bill) were again joined by Oteil, adding yet another dimension to this incredible segment of the show. It was not the same as the night before. Tonight, sounded a bit different with more of an African/tribal yet contemporary vibe. Whatever it was, it took us on a rhythmic journey, always unique, and you never end up the same place twice.
As we landed back on earth from our space journey, we were treated to an amazingly killer rendition of “Eyes of the World” featuring Oteil’s outrageous bass playing solo, along with over-the-top solos from John, the czar of the guitar, slaying it and Jeff, the beast of the keys, smiling away. Next up was just the icing on the cake with “Stella Blue,” and Bobby again taking the mic , delivering strong, heartfelt vocals. Closing out set two was a shining rendition of “Sunshine Day Dream,” these guys were glistening and a tremendous ray of light bringing us full circle. The boys left the stage for a short minute or two to only come back and give us a single song encore of “One More Saturday Night.”
While for some this may have been just one more Saturday night, it this clearly wasn’t the run of the mill Saturday night. Absolutely was not, but, also not sure what I experienced on this particular Saturday night. Song after song these guys were just killing it, from the scorching jams and improvisation, to the incredible solos showcasing their talent. Each and every one of them were on top of their game tonight. The energy in the stadium was crazy-good. The synergy, the mastery, the vocal sounds, and registers were clearly on another level. This may be the best show of this tour, and maybe even past tours as well. Dead and Company rocked Citi Field; they were on fire and brought the house down. All I can say is, I’m so grateful and “Thanks for a Real Good Time.” …until next time!