Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dead Heads Take Over Boston - July 15-16, 2016!

On July 15th and July 16th, Dead and Company played two shows at the world famous Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. As a New Yorker, you could guess that I'm not a big fan of the team that plays there, but that aside, its a nice stadium. I could not help but have flashbacks to the Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago, just a little over 1 year ago.

As I walked with one of my colleagues from my office in Boston Financial District to Dillons near Fenway, I saw lots of tie die. Many bars and pedicab drivers were playing Dead songs. Fenway has an excellent location smack in the middle of the city so all of the nearby restaurants were filled with Dead Heads. While at Dillons, I enjoyed a cold draft Pacifico, Siracha Honey wings , asparagus, friends and many other "Dead family members".

Donna Godchaux 
On the important stuff- the music itself! Night 1 opened with "Jack Straw"; I was excited to see Donna on stage. It wasn't too much of a surpris however, she has essentially been a honorary member of the band this year. She's been at many of the shows; I saw her guest at Citifield two weeks ago. That said, there her microphone wasn't up and I likely wouldn't have noticed she was there if not for seeing her.

To the contrary, this time around Donna's vocals were substantially more vibrant. During "Music Never Stopped", we heard lots of "oohs" from her.

While the first set was decent, it was tough to stay energetic with the the heat. It was said to be one of the hottest days of the year at 85-90 ° Fahrenheit. However the music kept our energy flowing; here's my friend Matt and I dancing to Jerry's "Loser".

 Unlike Sir Paul McCartney, who I am going to see at Fenway tonight, the Dead is known for avoiding small talk and just jamming. On the other hand, after "Loser", Bobby said " We're going to play something for the kids" and led into " Peggy-O".  The reggae-rock feel was very different the jazzy one I heard the last time I hard Bobby play the song with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Peach Festival 2015.

My Jewish-Dead Head friend Caitlin's foreshadowing than proved accurate as the band played the famous "Help on the Way"--"Slipknot"---- "Franklin's Tower" progression. With Oteil ripping it on bass, I was reminded of Wanee 2014, when I saw the Allman Brothers play Franklin's Tower with the help of Trey Anastasio. 

After a 40ish minute set break, in which I purchased necessary over-priced water and  ice cream to overcome the heat, the second set began with "St. Stephen". Just remember the important lesson: "One man gathers what another man spills." on the side is a nice and blurry selfie with my buddy Jordan, who's rocking his LOCKN' shirt.

The highlight of the set, which tends to me of any Dead related set  was "Terrapin Station. The lower pitched parts were similar of the Beatles. Unlike  the song "Don't Keep Me Wonderin", I was curious if Sir Paul might show up for "Hey Jude" or "Dear Prudence", two Beatles songs the Dead has covered in the past.

As he did at Citifield, John Mayer absolutely killed it, contributing lead vocals and a bit of shredding on guitar on Casey Jones.

We than got a "Black Muddy River"- "U.S Blues" double encore. It was nice to keep the July 4th spirit alive.

Dov and I entering Gate B!
The second night my friend Dov, who I met on the Halloween Dead and Company show last year that was staying at my place for the weekend, grabbed a quick beer and pizza at Sals and headed into the show early. I wasn't quite lucky like him to have an All- Access badge and get on the floor so I hung out in the Field Box. I won't hold it against him however as Don contributed most of these lovely photos.

Bobby with his fitting guitar strap
Here are Henry and I dancing to "Deal". 
The first set began with the predictable but good "Truckin". After a nice country-rock "Big River" Johnny Cash cover, my buddy Henry entered the show during Jerry's "The Love Each Other". He pretended to be a drugged up Dead Head creeping up on me. I was so invested into the music, he that scared me at first! Henry has been one of my music friends for several years now but this was only the second show we've been together, the first one being a Gov't Mule show at the Orpheum last year.  This was his first time seeing any of the members of the Dead since an actual Dead show with Jerry at the Meadowlands in 93.

Donna and Oteil contributed nice snippets of vocals to "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad". It made me want them to cover "Seven Turns", a song that Oteil has sung a lot on in recent years. Perhaps one day Dead and Company will play an ABB tune or two!

The second set began with a bang- "Playing in the Band". It's amazing how Bobby can still shout at 68. I could not be more happy when they are started playing "Sugaree". Earlier in the night when they were playing "They Love Each Other", I said those two songs were my favorite Jerry songs!

The next song was great but totally unexpected- "Fire on the Mountain"! This song almost always comes after Scarlet Begonias. Fellow Dead Heads- help me out- how often does this happen?

A nice shot of Jeff Chimenti, one of two keyboardists,
along with Bruce Hornsby, that also played at Fare Thee Well.
 Thanks to Dov for the photo.

As the next song began, a lot of people did a famous clap- you know what that means...... It was a "Not Fade Away" encore, which was also the encore at July 5th and final Fare Thee Well show last year. As in Chicago, everyone clapped a solid 10-15 minutes as we left the stadium.

The one thing I would like to see differently is not playing "One More Saturday Night" as an encore every Saturday night they play. While it's a great song, one of my favorite Dead songs, that and Ripple do a get a little too predictable as encores as they play it so much.

Here are some other good photos from the run:

Billy with Honorary Rhythm Devil Oteil!

Dov and I at After Party with Barely Dead
at House of Blues, dancing to Cumberland Blues!

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