The Lone Star State rolled out the red carpet as Dead & Company pulled into Dallas last night. Instead of a soft machine, Dallas got it hard, straight and right up the fuckin middle! From the first clangs of guitars, Shakedown becomes immediately evident. There are those certain tunings you catch early with some songs that cause an immediate release of adrenaline into the system and impending Shakedowns have always been one of them! The band blasted off and from the moment of ignition were engaged and in that headspace that gives rise to great moments. Shakedown delivered and didn’t suffer from geriatric pacing but pretty much put the pedal to the metal off the line. Weir said he promised they would learn how to end that song eventually but when tunes kick ass all the way through, a crash landing is permissable. Brown Eyed Women was a great way to continue the journey and John cut whiskey just to fire the still! That one found some great moments for everybody and Jeff takes that tune to 11. Weir said something like “You knew this was coming” as Deep Ellem started. Brother was apparently a little chatty and based on the tempo of the tunes and proximity to the border, I was wondering if he got a hold of some marching powder or something. I doubt it but Deep Ellum was making sure there wouldn’t be a gap between smiles! I was glad to see Oteil getting another verse and wondered why John didn’t get a second one as well. There’s 2 for everybody and that tune seems to lend itself to all of the guys taking one. As long as we don’t run into Rock, Paper, Scissors shit, we’ll be OK. I was really glad to hear it again and for me, Deep Elem has been the best new one of the new ones! I also just managed to spell it in every imaginable way in order to get it right with everybody at least once! Friend Of The Devil even had a little extra oomph behind it and Weir was playing like he got 2 blowjobs before lunch. Since he wasn’t ready to give up the mic, El Paso was next and that’s the first one this tour. It was a fun run through a tune that was geographically inspired and appropriate! When they’re sounding good, even the slow ones have a little bite to em and that was the case with They Love Each Other! Billy had to take a leak which brought us to Weir’s next little bit of chatter regarding someone that needs a little break more than others. In one set, he talked more than he did on stage between 1987 and 1995. Once Bill relieved himself, The Music Never Stopped kicked off and was another tune that benefitted from an increase in tempo. It was clear that there was nothing sluggish about things in Dallas!
For all you folks that talk about how much you wanna hear some new tunes, you fuckin cursed everybody. Out of all the songs in the deep catalog of Grateful Dead Music, we gotta get Easy Answers. Mama mia… If I was Barlow, I’d have a T-Shirt that said, “I Had Nothing To Do With Easy Answers!” just so everybody knew… That tune was a buzzkill when Garcia was playing it for cryin out loud. Brother Esau maybe? Lazy Lightning? Weather Report? No lets fuckin do Easy Answers! I know, I know, it was the greatest moment of your life and your best memories always included Easy Answers. Good for you! I sure hope we get some Vince songs too maybe! Nothing like a Samba In The Rain to really make ya feel like a million bucks! Back in the day, I always thought Weir played shit like Easy Answers if he was pissed off or somebody was bothering him. Kind of a way to say “Fuuuuuuuck you for screaming Lazy Lightning! I’ll give ya Easy Answers for being an ass.” While that probably wasn’t the case, I often wondered… If I’m being fair, I thought it sounded pretty good for its debut and it was better than I remembered it being. I realized that I haven’t heard it since 95 because when it comes up on a show I’m listening to at home or in the car, I just skip it. No skip button last night so I made the best of it. It went back into the Music Never Stopped to complete a great first set of music. They did that at Giant Stadium 6/5/93 as well.
Here Comes Sunshine got everybody up and moving and was as good as it can be with John singing it. The jams were good and the tune was airy and seemed to open up the flower that was blossoming. First few flicks of Scarlet will make ya give a stranger a high five and that’s the starting gun for the marathon of pure musical joy that follows. At that point of the night, it’s pretty clear we’re in the middle of a roaster that’s gonna keep on delivering. Every segment was treated to a proper demonstration of admiration and Mayer took his time bringing the flame to the forest where Fire On The Mountain takes over. Oteil ran through every verse with increasing confidence and the one that always gets me the hardest is “The more that you give, the more it will take
To the thin line beyond which you really can’t fake.” Ain’t that the truth… Fire was just blown the hell out in every which way and Bill and Mickey were just back there throwing log after log on what was already ablaze! That one satisfies every damn time! Estimated was on the list but got skipped. It’s too bad because that’s just about perfect getting Here Comes Sunshine, Scarlet-> Fire, Estimated-> Eyes! Didn’t matter for long because The Eyes was probably the best that you can expect out of Dead & Company. The jams were so good that by the time Weir was putting his awkward spaces between verses, I didn’t even give a shit. Every pass through the musical explorations of Eyes was thoroughly worked over. The interplay between John and Jeff at one point totally plastered a perma grin on my damn mug. Those segments were rich in flavors that you just put that stanky face on!! You know, that one! Look at whoever is next to you with total stanky face! Oteil’s solo was fantastic and displayed why his contributions are so unique. That brother was droppin more runs than a dog that got into some chocolate. When feeling, talent and the invisible ingredient hit Dead & Company all at the same time and on the same night, it’s a very special experience. Eyes was a fabulous example of that last night!
Drums was drummy and Space was Spacey and far out and groovy.
Out of Space Weir did Dear Prudence which I’ve never been crazy about. I understand everybody else claims to like it and I’m certain you like it better than I do. When they’re playing like they were last night, I even enjoyed Dear Prudence, maybe for the first time with Bob singing it. Weir was really strong last night and it was good to see him in command of his moments while at the same time letting everybody else have theirs. The Wheel was turning and it didn’t slow down! That was fun and we were mostly spared of Mayer’s Frankie Valli. If there’s a time I dig John’s falsetto, it’s probably when he goes a little crazy at the end of the Wheel. All that Donna back up throughout the night is completely overutilized and sounds like shit though… It didn’t matter, the music was coming at us Super HOT!
Casey Jones was the closer and that motherfucker ROCKED!!! The entire band had the time of their life rolling that one down the tracks! Once John started peaking on that one, he went full Michael Jordan! Brother could’ve dunked on Bill Walton he was so high! That jam was a great way to end a super strong set! I personally love Knockin and was happy to hear it. Then some funny shit happened that I don’t know if you caught or not. Weir pointed up into the air clearing some room for him to have a go at a guitar solo during Knockin. Everybody made way and what ensued was the Guinness Book of World Records’ official Worst Guitar Solo Ever! I was happy he gave it a go… Like my daughter and soccer. Hilarious moment of the night. Check it out on the stream if you missed it! I’m totally out of time here and have a million things that gotta get done. No time to proofread. I’ll say this, Austin is one of my favorite cities in the country and I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for tonight! Catch ya later! Love You Forever!
Dead To The Core,
Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)
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