5 Songs Dead & Company Should Debut This Summer
Dead & Company will kick off their highly anticipated summer tour on Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the 24-date trek will see the band -- consisting of original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, along with John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti -- perform at Bonnaroo on June 12 and two-night stands at Citi Field in New York City and Fenway Park in Boston. The cross-country run also features two-nights in Boulder, Colorado, on July 2 and 3, and a double dose at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin, on July 9 and 10. It fittingly wraps on July 30 at the famed Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, where the Grateful Dead performed 39 times between 1987 and 1995.
Since forming last year, Dead & Co. have played 23 shows, and over the course of those concerts, the band has performed 99 different songs. During the group's free May 23 concert at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco they debuted "Days Between," as well as covers of "Big Railroad Blues" and Bob Dylan's "Queen Jane Approximately." While the debuts pleased fans, there are still quite a few songs from their vast catalog missing from the rotation.
Dead Heads are quick to note the band hasn't busted out Chuck Berry's "Around and Around," which the Grateful Dead performed more than 400 times. Another cover that has not seen the light of day is Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," which is a staple in the band's rich concert history. The list goes on and on including some early Dead tunes like "Cream Puff War, "The Eleven" and their classic 1970 song "Attics of My Life," which served as the final emotional song of last summer's Fare Thee Well run.
Below we have highlighted the five songs Dead & Company should debut this summer.
"Passenger" has been noticeably missing from Dead & Company's repertoire. The track is featured on the Grateful Dead's 1977 album Terrapin Station and clocks in at just 2 minutes and 48 seconds. Needless to say, the live version breathes a little more. We'd love to hear John Mayer's bluesy guitar solo over the straightforward rock song. The Bob Weir-sung track features an energetic chorus that will get the audience dancing and singing along: "Upside out or inside down/ False alarm the only game in town/ No man's land the only game in town/ Terrible, the only game in town."
The Americana-inspired song "Dire Wolf" has been surprisingly missing from the rotation and was also notably absent from last summer's Fare Thee Well Shows. Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter co-wrote the song that seems to be an obvious choice for Dead & Co. to dust off this summer. Fans would get a kick out of hearing John Mayer singing the song's laid-back chorus: "Don't murder me/ I beg of you don't murder me/ Please, Don't murder me."
"Box of Rain"
"Box of Rain" was the last song performed by the Grateful Dead in Chicago in 1995 and served as the opening song for the Fare Thee Well Shows in the same city last summer. The song was written by Robert Hunter and Phil Lesh, who is the only living member of the Grateful Dead not currently playing with Dead & Company. John Mayer's vocals would suit the folky song incredibly well and fans would welcome the Dead staple back into the fold.
"Foolish Heart" was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter and is featured on the Grateful Dead's final studio album, Built to Last. The tune would perfectly fit into John Mayer's wheelhouse both vocally and musically. Fans would love to hear the guitarist's lead fills and solo over the medium-tempo song. The track could also turn into a potent jam vehicle for the band.
Since it's an election year, Dead Heads would love to hear the band tackle the 1987 track "Throwing Stones." The politically charged anthem would surely whip the crowd into frenzy. It was co-written by John Barlow and Bob Weir and features incredible lyrics that are almost more powerful today then when they were first written. "Heartless powers try to tell us what to think / If the spirit's sleeping, then the flesh is ink / History's page it is thusly carved in stone / The future's here, we are it, we are on our own." The song brilliantly and prophetically reflects the current political landscape leading up to the election in the fall: "Money green or proletarian gray, selling guns instead of food today / So the kids they dance, they shake their bones / While the politicians throwing stones / Singing ashes, ashes all fall down."