Our favorite family adventures are those where everything we experience is new to all of us, and camping at The Gorge Amphitheater for a Dead & Company concert fit the bill.
We were camping for the night at The Oasis Campground, only a five minute walk from the venue entrance, which was awesome! We walked over to the venue about an hour early so we had time to check it out, take in the view, snap some photos, and check out the VIP area that we got access to because we bought box seats.
The Gorge is a spectacular concert venue. I had a read about it online and seen some photos, but they don’t do it justice. It was incredible to relax in our shady, padded seats, listen to Dead & Company tear through a killer set list, and take in the panoramic views of The Columbia River Gorge.
Our seats were fantastic!
Buying box seats meant that we had lots of space to stand up, dance, and move around — and we pretty much had the entire box to ourselves as our seat mates were only there for a few songs. It also meant that we had access to a server so we could order drinks and food all night, access to VIP bathrooms with running water, and access to an air conditioned VIP area with a private bar and live music. Not having to use a Port-a-Potty was worth every penny.
The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead were leaders in the jam band scene that blended styles and tones of several musical genres, including country, rock, folk, and blues. After the band’s leader Jerry Garcia passed away, the band never played again as The Grateful Dead.
In 2015, Trey Anastasio of Phish, Bruce Hornsby, and Jeff Chimenti joined surviving band members — Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann to once again play as The Grateful Dead in celebration the band’s 50th Anniversary. They played five final farewell concerts — two in Santa Clara and three in Chicago — as part of the Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Tour, which marked the official retirement of the band’s name.
Brian and I went to all five of the Fare Thee Well shows and it was an experience and a moment in pop culture history I will never forget.
After the Fare Thee Well tour ended, it was announced that Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann, were going to continue to play together, and that they would be joined by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarist/front man John Mayer in the new Dead & Company. We were so excited!
After having such a blast at the Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well shows, Brian and I bought tickets to all four San Francisco and Los Angeles Dead & Company shows to close out 2015. Then when the 2016 west coast summer tour was announced, we bought tickets for this show, as well as Portland, Wheatland, and Mountain View — and decided to bring the kids along for the fun!
The Gorge Amphitheater
The Gorge Amphitheater, located along the Columbia River Gorge in George, Washington, is a 27,500-seat outdoor concert venue managed by Live Nation. Out in what feels like the middle of nowhere, it is an absolutely stunning venue — by far my favorite ever.
Near the foothills of the Cascade Range, The Gorge is considered one of the most picturesque concert locations in the world, offering a panoramic view of the stunning Columbia River Canyon. It is a nine-time winner of Best Outdoor Music Venue by Pollstar Magazine and was voted one of the Best Outdoor Concert Venues in America by ConcertBoom.
Dead & Company, The Gorge
Once again the band, lead by Bob Weir and John Mayer, took the stage and the entire amphitheater rose to its feet hooting and hollering and cheering. The sun was blazing overhead (but our seats were in the shade), the views of the gorge were spectacular, and everyone was ready for a night to remember.
Dead & Company delivered the goods in a big way, delivering hit after hit. The San Francisco and Los Angeles shows were fantastic, but this concert and the Portland concert are on a whole different level. Weir and Mayer traded off lyrics, and Oteil Burbridge joined with the two leads for a few verses as well.
Opening with a vibrant Touch Of Grey followed by Hell In A Bucket, set the tone for the night and it only got better. They played several of our favorites, including Cassidy, Brown-Eyed Woman, Ramble on Rose, and my all time favorite Bob Weir tune, One More Saturday Night.
During the set break we marveled at the luck we were having with the set list so far and the set list from the Portland show, while we ate dinner. Between Brian, Natalie, and I, we had the Loaded Tater Tots, The Jalapeño Burger, and the Chicken Tacos — all were delicious, and Carter had lots of popcorn.
The second set kicked off with a joyous Eyes Of The World, New Speedway Boogie, and a thumping Cumberland Blues. The band was clearly having a great time, smiling, dancing, and jamming through each song. The set continued with more of our favorites and we sang along smiling from ear to ear to a funky Shakedown Street, Uncle John’s Band, and Mayer killing it on Casey Jones — I love the bit of edge and the bluesy soulful sound he brings to the music.
I grabbed my phone to shoot a video of Hell In A Bucket, then again and again. I finally told Brian that this was just so good, I wanted to video the entire thing. This was the best we’ve seen the play play and gel together. They were on fire and as soon as we got home, Brian bought both the Portland and George shows from livedead.co for the whole family so we can listen to the songs over and over.
Dead & Company, The Gorge 7/23/2016 Set List:
- Touch Of Grey
- Hell In A Bucket
- Dire Wolf
- When I Paint My Masterpiece
- Brown-Eyed Woman
- Ramble On Rose
- Next Time You See Me
- One More Saturday Night
- Eyes Of The World
- New Speedway Boogie
- Cumberland Blues
- Shakedown Street
- Uncle John’s Band
- Drums / Space
- Uncle John’s Band
- Wharf Rat
- Casey Jones
- Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door