Dead & Company New Years Run in Los Angeles

Photo by Henry Hungerland

I can’t tell you the last time the Grateful Dead (or any one of their off shoot bands) performed a New Years Eve run in Los Angeles.  Certainly not as long as I’ve been a fan.  Everyone who is a fan of the band recalls the legendary Winterland NYE shows as well as a plethora of Bill Graham Civic shows in the Bay Area.  So, when the announcement was made in August that they’d be rockin’ in 2016 at the Fabulous Forum in LA, oh, I got excited…and with John Mayer.

Now, for all you haters who gonna hate, hate, hate, out there, let me tell you this, the first time I ever saw John Mayer perform was on a New Years Eve in San Francisco when he and his band opened for Phil Lesh & Friends at the Bill Graham Civic.  It was also the first GD-esque show I took my Mother to.  She wasn’t really a fan but, I figured she should at least experience it once in her life.  Turned out, once was enough for her.  But, I digress.  John Mayer’s skill as a player blew me away that night so when they announced he would be the addition to Dead & Company, I knew it was a good call.  The man has blues in his roots and can lay it down like the best of them.

My NYE run kicked off on 12/30 in the parking lot of the Bourbon Street Fish and Grill across the street from the Forum.  One of our local groups, the Hempstring Orchestra, led by Ted Tesoriero, was throwing down a pre-party jam session outside while the place was serving up cajun style catfish and cold beers inside.  Not a bad way to start off the two day run.  I had a shrimp po-boy and some cold Coronas and was ready to rock.

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My girl and I wandered into the venue around 6:30 pm and found some seats (not our seats, mind you) in the back and upstairs.  Great view of the whole scene going on in the beautifully renovated Forum.  They started a little later than expected but it was well worth the wait.  “New Inglewood Blues” (homage to the Forum’s location) started us down the golden road that the night would turn into.

We finished the night back at Bourbon Street Fish for a late night set by the Terpsichords and some Nawlins Funk.  (full disclosure, I was the light guy for that show so).

Photo by Rich Saputo

Dead & Company
The Forum
Inglewood, California
Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Set I
New Minglewood Blues bw
Here Comes Sunshine jm
West LA Fadeaway jm
Althea jm
Loser bw
Bertha jm >
Bird Song bw jm

Set II
Playin’ In The Band bw >
Viola Lee Blues bw jm
Shakedown Street bw
China Cat Sunflower bw jm >
I Know You Rider bw jm >
Drums >
Space >
The Other One bw
Wharf Rat bw jm >
Turn On Your Lovelight

E: Friend Of The Devil bw jm

 

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Night two.  A bit later start so we kicked off the evening at the Hilton Hotel LAX with some dinner and drinks followed by a $7.00 Uber ride to the forum.  This night I knew exactly where my seats were and I was happy about it.  We were just off center, 7 rows up, behind the stage.  Primo viewing for the on stage goings on.  First set, great.  Second set, greater.  Bobby even busted out the old pink Ibanez guitar from the 80s for Dark Star.

Then came the moment we’d all been waiting for…the countdown.  Band comes out…”gonna wait til the midnight hour…” and then from the back of the house a giant joint emerges with a glowing red rose cherry and a stream of smoke pouring out the back.  It makes its way over the crowd as Bill Walton as father time emerges onto the stage with Marilyn Monroe, Groucho Marx, stormtroopers, Princess Leia and a whole host of other characters.  Star Wars theme music then “Fire” by the Ohio Players as the big joint ridden by Trixie Garcia herself gets closer to the stage.  What a spectacle.  Of course Sugar Magnolia brought us into 2016 and the rest is, as they say, history.

Photo by Rich Saputo

Dead & Company
The Forum
Inglewood, California
Thursday, December 31, 2015
New Years Eve 2015 > 2016

Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Jeff Chimenti, Oteil Burbridge, John Mayer

Dead & Company The Forum, Inglewood, CA, Thursday ,December 31,2015

Set I
Feel Like A Stranger bw
They Love Each Other jm
Ramble On Rose bw
Loose Lucy bw
Sugaree jm
Hell In A Bucket bw

Set II
Dark Star >
Uncle John’s Band >
Lady With A Fan jm >
Terrapin Station bw >
Drums >
Space >
Dear Prudence bw

Set III
Midnight Hour bw
Sugar Magnolia bw >
Scarlet Begonias >
Touch of Grey bw jm >
Fire On The Mountain >
St. Stephen jm >
Sunshine Daydream bw

Encore : Brokedown Palace be jm

Photo by Henry Hungerland

Whether you like him or not, John Mayer is the real deal.  You can’t argue the talent the man has.  If rumors are true, the Dead and Company will be back and, I’m glad for that.  Oteil Burbridge on bass was an amazing addition to the band as well and who can argue the skills of Jeff Chimenti on keys.  But really…everyone is talking Mayer!

For more amazing photos visit:

Rich Saputo Photography

Henry Hungerland Photography

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