Over the last six months, Brian and I have had a blast attending 19 concerts, with all of them featuring the music of The Grateful Dead except one — when we took our daughter to see Taylor Swift in concert at Levi’s Stadium for her birthday.
Our live concert run began with two Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary shows in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium. We then went to Chicago for all three Fare Thee Well Concerts at Soldier Field.
We had so much fun at these five shows and were super bummed they were over when we got home. Simply by chance, Brian found out about the Ain’t Necessarily Dead Fest in Auburn, which we took the kids to, then then from there we found Scott Holbrook and Keep Smilin’ Promotions and all sorts of awesome local bands.
Then we found out that Dead & Company — with former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann, along with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti — were going on tour, coming to California, and playing on New Year’s eve!
We’re not done with these songs and they’re not done with us. We’re gonna take these old friends on some new adventures.
— Bob Weir
I deeply love the Dead’s music, and it has inspired me in ways I never imagined. To help carry this music is the opportunity and the honor of a lifetime.
— John Mayer
We knew we had to go! These four shows would be the perfect end to an amazing year.
The San Francisco and Los Angeles shows both went on sale the same day. After the ticketing disaster we experienced with the Grateful Dead shows in the summer, we both hopped on our computers trying to get tickets. Luckily we were able to get tickets to both San Francisco general admission Dead & Company shows through TicketMaster, and we picked up tickets for the two Dead & Company LA shows with assigned seating on StubHub for not much more than face value.
Now it was just a matter of getting childcare for the kiddos!
Dead & Company San Francisco
The Dead & Company San Francisco concerts were December 27-28, 2015.
We dropped the kids off at my parents’ house the day after Christmas, then drove to San Francisco on the 27th, stopping for a delicious lunch at Zut! on Fourth in Berkeley at one of our favorite places, the Fourth Street Shops.
We have so much fun traveling without kids — It’s like we’re dating again!
Once in San Francisco, we checked in to our hotel, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, which we love because it’s right across the street from Yerba Buena Gardens and The Metreon, close to Market Street, and close to our favorite quick eats restaurant, The Grove. We still had some time to kill before the show, so we grabbed hot drinks from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and went for a walk.
San Francisco Night 1
Soon it was time to walk to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and get in line for the show. Both Dead & Company San Francisco shows were slated to start at 7:00pm with doors opening at 6:00pm — and they were all general admission seating. We had to get in line early if we wanted to get an actual seat. I know lots of people beeline for the pit, but I like having a seat at huge shows. I like to be able to go get a drink, hit the restroom, and rest my feet during Drums and Space.
At 4:15pm we got in line and we were already fairly far back! Luckily when the doors opened, we headed straight for the second tier seats and snagged two seats in the front row along the side of the auditorium. We also grabbed beer, bottled waters, and two veggie and hummus platters before the lines got too long.
Dead & Company was fantastic. I loved John Mayer and Bob Weir together, and the bluesy sound Mayer brings to the band. Brian appreciated that he left his pop sound behind to fully embrace the sound of the Grateful Dead. Mayer brought strong, powerful vocals to the band and was also quite amazing to watch play, as most of the time he doesn’t even look at his hands.
The Dead & Company 12/27/2015 Set List:
- Cold Rain and Snow
- Brown Eyed Women
- Black-Throated Wind
- Standing on the Moon
- U.S. Blues
- Samson and Delilah
- He’s Gone
- Estimated Prophet
- Eyes of the World
- Drums & Space
- Black Peter
- Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
- Casey Jones
San Francisco Night 2
The next day we slept in, hit The Grove for breakfast, and had just enough time to see the movie Sisters with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey at the Metreon. I can’t remember a time I laughed that hard through an entire movie!
At 3:00pm, we got in line at the Civic Auditorium and were pretty close to the front of the line. Thankfully it was a beautiful, sunny day, and we stopped on the way to grab a Subway Sandwich — because we were in line for a loooong time.
About halfway through the first concert, people were flooding upstairs from the pit looking for seats. We were so happy that we had seats, but knew that we’d need to up our seat-getting-game to get great seats again. We planned to split up once upstairs, with one of us going left and one of us going right. We’d then text each other our seats to see who had the best ones. This worked like a charm! I was able to snag two seats in the front row looking straight at the stage!
We again grabbed beer, bottled water, and hummus and veggie platters, and danced our butts off to another fantastic Dead & Company show.
The Dead & Company 12/28/2015 Set List:
- The Music Never Stopped
- Shakey Ground
- The Music Never Stopped
- Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
- Me & My Uncle
- Tennessee Jed
- Jack Straw
- New Speedway Boogie
- Lost Sailor
- St. of Circumstance
- Help on the Way
- Franklin’s Tower
- Drums & Space
- Looks Like Rain
- The Wheel
- Not Fade Away
- Brokedown Palace
The next morning we had brunch again at The Grove and hit the road. We had to pick up the kids, get home, unpack, do laundry, repack them, and get to bed, because the next morning we had to drop them off at my sister’s house and head to the airport to fly to Los Angeles for two more nights of Dead & Company!
I know it sounds sort of crazy, but we all were having fun! Instead of spending their entire Christmas break at home, Natalie and Carter were on vacation too! First they watched movies, ate snacks, and had a multi-game Settler’s of Catan marathon with my parents. And now they were off to my sister’s house with their Nerf gun armory in tow, to play with their cousins and enjoy their brand new backyard (which is seriously more like a resort hotel).
Dead & Company Los Angeles
The Dead & Company Los Angeles concerts were December 30-31, 2015.
The morning of the 30th, we dropped off the kids and hopped a plane to LA — and because we used our Southwest points to book our flights, they only cost us about $28 in taxes. Sweet! We got to LA, checked into the Embassy Suites near LAX (which was pretty dumpy for an Embassy Suites), and took a much needed nap.
Los Angeles Night 1
For dinner, we met up with Kiko Doran (a friend of ours from New Jersey) and his friend Este Mlynowski. We had an awesome meal at Rock & Brews in El Segundo.
Unlike the San Francisco shows, The Forum in Inglewood had assigned seats. That means we didn’t need to get there crazy early and could relax and enjoy dinner. We did head over early enough though to grab some concert tees! Our seats for the first night were off to the side of the stag, up fairy high — they weren’t great, but it was still an amazing show with some of our favorite songs like West LA Fade Away, Althea, Bertha, Shakedown Street, I Know You Rider, and Turn On Your Lovelight — and the encore, Friend Of The Devil, was fantastic!.
The Dead & Company 12/30/2015 Set List:
- New Minglewood Blues
- Here Comes Sunshine
- West LA Fadeaway
- Bird Song
- Playin’ In The Band
- Viola Lee Blues
- Shakedown Street
- China Cat Sunflower
- I Know You Rider
- Drums & Space
- The Other One
- Wharf Rat
- Turn On Your Lovelight
- Friend Of The Devil
Los Angeles Night 2
After a fantastic first night seeing Dead & Company at The Forum in Inglewood, we slept in past 10:00am and felt great! It was New Year’s Eve and we had one more show ahead of us, but first we grabbed an Uber over to the mall near our hotel for lunch and had just enough time to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens again before heading over to The Forum.
The Fare The Well shows at Soldier Field in Chicago brought with them a vibrant Shakedown Street, an unofficial marketplace by fans for fans, and Inglewood didn’t disappoint. The fabulous Forum brought back the Shakedown Street parking lot scene with fans selling pins, clothing, food, drinks, posters, purses, t-shirts, custom artwork, and more out of their cars. There was live music, a drum circle, and happy, friendly people everywhere. I even snagged a handmade tie-dye tank top for Natalie.
It being New Year’s Eve, so we knew there would be something special added to the show to celebrate — and we were right! There was a buzz of excitement in the air, the entire crowd was energetic and having fun, and Dead & Company played three full sets and a killer encore of Brokedown Palace from 8:00pm to well past 1:00am, instead of their normal two sets and an encore.
Dead & Company rang in the new year with a rocking rendition of In The Midnight Hour and a trippy countdown set to the Star Wars soundtrack, that included a huge joint flying through the air and landing on stage, and a balloon drop. The band was joined on stage by friends and family dressed up in costumes that included Marilyn Monroe, Princess Leia, and Dead super fans Bill Walsh as Father time swinging a lightsaber.
The Dead & Company 12/31/2015 Set List:
- Feel Like A Stranger
- They Love Each Other
- Ramble On Rose
- Loose Lucy
- Hell In A Bucket
- Dark Star
- Uncle John’s Band
- Lady With A Fan
- Terrapin Station
- Drums & Space
- Dear Prudence
- Midnight Hour
- Sugar Magnolia
- Scarlet Begonias
- Touch of Grey
- Fire On The Mountain
- St. Stephen
- Sunshine Daydream
- Brokedown Palace
At the end of the night, John Mayer grabbed the mic and shared some great news…
At the risk of rocking any boats, known and unknown — we’ll see you next year.
— John Mayer
I can’t think of a better way for Brian and I to ring in the new year, and hearing that Dead & Company are going to continue touring in 2016 was simply the icing on the cake! This means we’re going to get to see them in concert again!
What About You?
Are you a Grateful Dead fan? Did you have a chance to see Dead & Company live in concert? What did you think of John Mayer’s performance? Planning on seeing them in 2016?
I’d love to hear from you!