Tim Van Schmidt | New SCENE
Recently, I got reacquainted with some old friends — very old as in classic rock old. They would be former members of the legendary band The Grateful Dead.
I’m talking about the current version of “The Dead”, Dead & Company, which features three original members of The Grateful Dead — Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann — along with John Mayer on guitar and vocals, Oteil Burbridge on bass, and Jeff Chimenti on keyboards.
The occasion was that I went to a free concert by Dead & Company. But really, it came to me. Dead & Company was offering a free live stream of one of the closing concerts of its 2022 summer tour, so I tuned in and I’m glad — it revived a friendly rock and roll spirit that was welcome indeed.
I got some good portion of what I had hoped for — an easy groove, then some musical exploration. They even lit into my favorite Dead tune — “Dark Star”. This version was sooooooo laid back, even slowwwwwww, but it was still cool to hear it. As it went along, it picked up steam, took on a strong jazz vibe, and retained the take-it-to-the-edge playfulness that was a cornerstone of The Dead’s music.
It’s been a really long time. The last time I actually went to a Dead show was in 2003 at Red Rocks. Then, they were calling themselves just “The Dead” and the lineup also included Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, Chimenti, Joan Osborne on vocals, and guitarist Jimmy Herring.
Jump to 2022 and Dead & Company has moved from “Dark Star” to “El Paso” — also so laiiiiiiiid back. I found some relevance in the lyrics of the next tune, “He’s Gone”, having just lost a close friend, as well as the hope inherent in “Eyes of the World”.
What a world. I’m sitting in my office on a beautiful Colorado evening, listening to a live stream of The Dead, sipping a beverage of my choice, settling into a groove, relaxing, and rocking a little.
50 years ago I was seeing them live for the first time — at the Hollywood Bowl with the New Riders. Now The Dead are competing with all of the other electronic beams that are going out there on any particular night.
Dead & Company go back to “Dark Star”, then it’s “Hell in a Bucket”, “Dear Prudence”, and “U.S. Blues”. Was it the best I’ve ever heard The Dead play? Well, let’s just say that it’s never if they’ve played their best, it’s whether you had a good time. A good old time.
Lincoln Center: Last February’s Wynton Marsalis show at the Lincoln Center was the first full-capacity event there since the beginning of the pandemic — and a new season is about to begin.
The 2022-2023 Lincoln Center schedule includes Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on October 28 and Flor de Toloache on November 13. I’ve got my sights on the Sam Bush-Mike Marshall-Edgar Meyer-George Meyer show set for January 29 in 2023, Christian McBride’s New Jawn on February 24, and the Naghash Ensemble on March 5.
Lincoln Center tickets for the new season go on sale on August 10. See the whole Lincoln Center schedule at lctix.com.
Live Music: Coming to Fiddler’s Green: Wang Chung, English Beat, and Missing Persons on August 13. At Red Rocks: the South Park 25th Anniversary Concert, featuring Primus and Ween, on August 9.
NOCO Shows: Hot Buttered Rum is at the Rialto Theater in Loveland on August 11, the Infamous Stringdusters perform at Mishawaka on August 12, and Asleep at the Wheel plays Washington’s on August 14.
Visit “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.