Thousands of fans of Dead & Company were hospitalized Friday night with severe cases of vertigo after watching John Mayer play for several hours in a severely checkered onesie. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a gift from his close friend, Andy, of Bravo Drama fame or maybe Dave Chappell. One would have to wonder how you could try something like that on and say, “Really Cool, I’ll take it!” using your own money. Women and gay men skipped around Boston last night with picnic baskets hoping to run into Mayer. While dodging paparazzi in the North End last night, Mayer draped himself over a table at a cheap Italian restaurant and safely escaped. I don’t know how things went down backstage but if you were with my crew, that get up would lead to a difficult night. I wonder if that outfit came with a matching bib… John probably is up there on stage thinking to himself, “These motherfuckers don’t know how to dress. Looks like Wavy Gravy threw up all over the place.”
Now that we have that out of the way, The scene in Boston was lively but lacking any real Shakedown. Tickets were abundant and selling for a fraction of face. $40 will get you a floor seat, 0$-$5 gets you in. I paid a little more, still below face, because I wanted to be up front and scored a Pit. I grabbed a spot on the rail in the O-Zone and set up camp for the night.
These shows are a real early bird special with a 6:30 start time. The band went on not too much later with a jam that was obviously heading into Jack Straw. Weir was strong, guns a blazing and finally out of the capris and into some normal shorts. I couldn’t stop laughing every time I looked at John. The sounds were thick and united, The stadium played a fantastic host, as legendary as the songs being played. The Music Never Stopped bounced along brilliantly and Donna once again joined the party. She was animated, joyful and contributed appropriately to the songs. It was fun having her there. Bluesy Next Time You See Me sounded better the second time around and I hope the Next Time I see Mayer, things won’t be the same… Loser was fantastic and the jams continued driving the party up the ladder. “One for the kids” said Weir again, before Peggy-O gave us all a little time to cool down.
There wasn’t too much time to cool down however as Help On The Way started a frantic dance party that generated an immense amount of energy. Slipknot brought confusion to the clarity as the jams drew up the sediment that had settled deep in our souls. It caused the clear waters of consciousness to become disturbed and stirred up a little more of the impurities that exist in me, to be brought to the surface for extraction. As it unwound gradually but consistently, it left behind a cleaner vessel to celebrate the arrival of Franklin’s Tower. I channeled my inner Rerun from What’s Happening and started moving like I was wearing the red beret and rainbow suspenders(Thanks Oteil)! The jams were like digesting incredibly condensed joy and they immediately lead to the internal creation of new cells made from that.
After a fun intermission, “General Garanimal and the Old Folks” returned for one of the best second sets to date for this group. No time was wasted getting the second set started when St Stephen immediately recreated the same energy that closed the first set. The tune was dank and drove the experience deeper and deeper into our neurology. Dark Star continued the voyage into the center of ourselves. It was totally representative of our lives on this planet. Moments of comfort found in the familiarity of the lyric mixed with moments of uncertainty found in between. Moments when everything seemed to be falling apart intermixed with moments of all of it coming back together. No better way to take a ride like that deeper than with Terrapin. The anthem of our life’s experience put to a musical backdrop that stretches the mind like salt water taffy on a Summer day. The music tumbled sluggishly against the steadfast lyric that continued taking us further into the depths of our beings. The end was extended and gave proper tribute to the magnitude of the masterpiece.
Drums and Space were drummy and spacey.
Coming out of space was representative of all of the possibilities that were available. First it was Stella, then some Wheel, then clearly a bunch of China Doll from Jeff… Then out of nowhere comes the wicked return of Terrapin! What a decision! What a moment! To make the journey go as deep as possible before it’s time to come back to the surface, The Dew, my all time favorite. By then, the entire trip was already worth the effort. The Dew has the ability to drive US as deep as possible into the human experience, while at the same time propelling us upwards and out of it. It was fantastic. The one thing that John definitely doesn’t possess in the Dew is Garcia’s total control of the delicate part of the final jam. When Garcia stated that second solo, every single note was an emotional experience in itself. The entire venue and everyone in it was in the palm of his hand. 30,000 people would be totally silent as that jam began deep within his own heart. As it gained momentum, the combination of every emotion that life has to offer found its most intense expression and rocketed from the lowest point in your experience to the highest expectation of your grandest dream. It took place so rapidly and so emotionally, You were left in a puddle of your own heartbreaks and fears, victories and tears. That shit didn’t happen but the Dew was great! Casey Jones following the Dew was as good a choice as I could’ve ever imagined. A stellar way to end what was one of the best complete shows that Dead & Company has played to date.
BMR… I don’t care how deep or wide… U.S. Blues put a massive exclamation point in a magnificent night! Can’t wait to do it all over again in a couple of hours! I’m outta time and have to head to The Ball Pahk. No time for edits or corrections and I wrote this on my phone with Swype so there’s probably plenty of errors. Love you! See ya in a few!!
Dead To The Core,
Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)