Dead & Company wows crowd

John Mayer, left, and Bob Weir of Dead & Company perform at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on June 12 in Machester, Tenn. / The Associated Press

By Lily Pope
Times-News correspondent

   CHARLOTTE – Dead & Company (Mickey Hart, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti) kicked off its summer tour at PNC Music Pavilion on Friday. The sold-out concert began in the parking lot with a three-hour gathering of fans and vendors which included live music and “Shakedown Street” where people sell their goods, food and art. Miracles, free tickets given and taken by attendees, were exchanged in the parking lot and at the gates of the show.
The concert contained plenty of “jamming” along with some of the highlights being Chimenti’s multiple intense piano solos and Mayer’s impressive guitar skills. The show was an entertaining blend of The Grateful Dead’s original members, Weir, Hart and Kreutzmann, showcasing their 50-plus year experience with the legendary band and the fresh talent of Mayer, Burbridge and Chimenti to produce a four-hour show that captivated thousands. The band played several old favorites including “The Music Never Stopped,” “Eyes of the World” and “Feel Like a Stranger” with primal drums. The band shocked the crowd by not including its usual encore crowd-pleaser because of an 11 o’clock curfew noise ordinance imposed by the city of Charlotte.
The band played 15 songs, some being as lengthy as 25 minutes long. The band played “Liberty,” which had not been performed since 1995, the year Jerry Garcia died. “Liberty” and “They Love Each Other” were dedicated to the LGBT community. Unlike most performers, Dead and Company chose not to cancel their performance in North Carolina in protest of HB2, but instead made multiple powerful statements, including the backdrop for the show being a pride flag. They also donated $100,000 to the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina. In addition, they created special edition T-shirts adorned with a Steal Your Face with a pride flag across the back, and all the proceeds went to the local LGBT community group, Time Out Youth.
Weir closed down the event with his plea for fans to get out and vote.
Dead & Company will perform 24 concerts this summer, traveling from New York to California.

Lily Pope is a rising eighth-grade home-schooler and a Teens & 20 writer.

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