Dead and Company announced earlier this year that they would be joining forces for a US Summer tour. Playing in Jerry Garcia’s absence, John Mayer took the stage and proved to be the purest talent of our current generation. Amongst legends Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti and Bill Kreutzmann, each audience member was fixated on Mayer’s ability to improvise with the group so effortlessly. I was fortunate enough to experience the show and witness the fresh and the seasoned Dead Head celebration.
Dead and Company arrived at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater on July 26th 2016 which attracted the largest crowd at the venue I had ever witnessed. Dead Heads filled the seats of the Amphitheater nostalgically awaiting for the band to take the stage. Each seat was occupied and the upper terrace grass area was packed with hippies and millennials alike.
The audience was filled with adults reliving the glory days and displaced youth. The common thread of these two unlikely age groups, was the complete awe that left the thousands of attendees speechless. As I looked around at the reactions from the crowd, I noticed the very few who were looking to their cellphones for entertainment. I can’t decipher if the “OG” dead head fans influenced the younger crowd to adopt their discern of cell phone use, or if hearing “Fire on the Mountain” live was truly hypnotizing. Regardless, the group maintained the Grateful Dead spirit with its reinvention of Dead and Company. Appealing to old and new, the band was the definitely the most impactful musical experiment of 2016.
The group played with the company of the Allman Brothers Oteil Burbridge, as the bassist, and John Mayer. These two musical legends dropped their current projects to leap at the once in a lifetime opportunity.
Mayer, whose praise was seamless during this summer tour, lead these fans into the rabbit hole of the 70’s. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone , Mayer commended Jerry Garcia’s influence on and the Dead on his talent metamorphosis. Describing his experience on social media as being in the shadow of Jerry Garcia’s light. Mayer effortlessly expressed his self proclaimed shadow of talent through Bluegrass, pop, reggae, and classic rock. Proving his reach extends beyond the realm of his pop image.
Just as Mayer will never remain a pop star, our generation shouldn’t have the same expectations. That night, the Dead and Company proved that raw talent can take you to places beyond. The Dead is once again paving the way to what future generations should demand with a ticket purchase. A one way ticket to being fulfilled with newly met expectations. A factor that must be insisted.
A customary part of that experience is the visual and lightning production. The legendary Wall of Sound originally used by the Grateful Dead, changed live performance by placing the PA sound behind the band members. The wall allowed the performer and audience to hear identical sound, reduced feedback, and increased clarity.
Dead and Company reinvented this experience using over fifty hypnotic visuals by LightBorne. In the spirit of Jam Bands, there was an orchestral array of acoustic and electric instruments. Transitioning from “China Cat” to “Johnny Be Goode” the Dead and company adeptly radiated enough crowd energy to be intoxicating. Moments throughout the night, Dead and their company stuck to their classical improvisation. Fifteen to twenty minutes where they would bounce between styles of their bassist Burbridge and the pop star Mayer, all the while honoring their beloved missing member, Jerry Garcia. The backgrounds of each member told stories of talented past. Indulging in the flow and ebb of musical backgrounds, I was dumbfounded from my previous notion of talent.
What really is behind the power of the Grateful Dead? How have they had maintained their following over the years? In our musical generation today it seems the Dead has put their creative abilities first in presenting sounds unheard elsewhere. No show is guaranteed to meet the same expectations. In fact, the setlist all together may change in regards to their mood. This unrepeatable trait is what feeds the Dead Head spirit and unites broad fan age groups. In a generation of EDM and Indie Rock, the Dead disables the bar in measurement of experiencing live music.
At Oniracom we are always trying to reinvent ourselves. Our passion for creativity guarantees a unique strategy that will provide the best possible platform for your brand. We may not have the the same multitude of fans as The Dead, but we definitely have similar reputation in providing sui genres solutions for dreamers.
Plus, all of our employees have awesome taste in music.