Photography & Words by Filip Zalewski of Essence Photography

Dead & Company make their Summer tour stop in New York City at the home of the Mets, Citi Field on 8/20/21. The scene outside was the usual with loads of cops, a plethora of cars, and a much slower moving entrance line due to the new health checks imposed. One had to show proof of vaccination or negative test results, for the pit one had to be fully vaccinated.

There were rapid testing stations on site. Luckily since I had the honor of acquiring photography credentials, so I had the pleasure of skipping the entrance line as well as the $50 parking fee, yikes.

The crowd looked like the crazy, tie dye filled circus it’s always been, full of smiles and joy. And up front you’ve got Ol’ Bobby Weir at the wheel with newest dead members John Mayer & Oteil Burbridge by his side. Jeff Chimenti taking the hot seat of the band on keys, and ofcourse none other than the rhythm devils: Billy Kreutzmann & Mickey Hart holding down the

“Good Times” was the opener for the night, a Sam Cooke cover and D&C live debut. Then right into “Bertha” to get the crowd moving, followed by an irresistibly danceable “Good Lovin”. The rest of the set included crowd favorites like “Ramble on Rose” & “They Love Each Other”. Bobby serenades the crowd with his vocal craftsmanship on “Cassidy”. Then the boys
make it on time and close out the first set with a firey “Casey Jones”.

The second set was opened with “Eyes of The World”, a personal favorite as a photographer. Then followed “Uncle John’s Band”, one we can all sing along to. Following was “China Doll” which features none other but Oteil on vocals. Let Oteil sing! Then came a classic “China Cat” > “I Know You Rider”, featuring masterful guitar trade offs between Mayer & Weir. Jeff, Oteil, & Mayer leave the stage and Bobby plays an intro for the rhythm devils to shine. It’s “Drums & Space” time!

This proved to be entertaining and psychedelic as all heck. A rather unique aspect of a Dead show. The “Drums & Space” parts are a mostly improvised section of the show, where just the two drummers play during the “Drums” part. The band later joins them in a psychedelic, improvised jam during “Space”. This happens at every Dead show I’ve been to. This something
that I’ve only seen happen consistently at a Dead show and every “Space & Drums” is unique, one of a kind, and improvised.

Now that we’ve gone to space we can slowly make our way back down with a “Spanish Jam” followed by “Althea”, where Mayer’s vocals tend to shine. “Stella Blue” followed, a slower, touching song. “U.S Blues” was the second set closer, played with all the umph and vigor. Wave that flag wide and high, summer time come and gone my oh my!

Dead & Co encore with a heartfelt “The Weight”, a cover of The Band. Everyone sings along and applaud relentlessly as the band takes their exit. They continued their tour in Philadelphia the next day and are playing in Bethel on Monday 8/23/21.

Full Gallery from Filip Zalewski of Essence Photography: