Photos + Review: Dead And Company at Sleep Train Amphitheatre (Chula Vista, CA)

PhotosDead and Company
July 27th, 2016
Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA

Intro+Photos: Fatima Kelley
Review: Matthew J. Kelley

Sometimes as a writer you need to recognize when to pass the pen along so to speak.  I always take great pride in writing my own concert reviews but I also recognize that there are no better reviews than the ones written by someone who is a fan of the artist being reviewed.  I also truly believe fans are the artist’s most critical viewers and at times the hardest to impress.  This noted, I let my husband write this review.  He has been following The Dead since his college years and on the other hand, my only Grateful Dead related memory I have was the Jerry Garcia memorial in Golden Gate Park, so it seemed only appropriate to let him document this pretty amazing night.

I saw my first Grateful Dead show in the summer of 1985 at the age of 15 and up until 1995 managed to see the boys in concert about 100 times before Jerry died.  No incarnation of the band since whether it be: The Dead, The Other Ones, Furthur, and currently Dead & Company is, was, or ever will be The Grateful Dead. So get over it and have some fun, there’s plenty to be had!

I heard plenty of both positive and negative feedback prior to seeing Dead & Company but when it comes to anything Grateful Dead I have learned to toss out any expectations and went into this show armed with an open mind… and my wife and two kids (times have changed).

Out on the lawn as the audience gathered I took in the scene and began to feel the familiar anticipation.  My wife had a photo pass and was down by the soundboard waiting for the show to start and my kids had already made new friends.. running on the grass bouncing around in a multitude of rainbow colored balloons.  The band took to the stage.

Some tuning and finally the first chords play “Iko Iko” (my wife’s favorite!) After the Iko opener, which Bob Weir sang, the set played out nicely, “Minglewood Blues” (sung by John Mayer), “Candyman,” “Big River,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Even So (Ratdog song),” a stellar “Sugaree,” and “Music Never Stopped” to close the set.

I love to people-watch during intermission.  It’s fun to see the old schoolers, the middle age heads like me, and especially the youngsters that have embraced this amazing music, music that has had such a profound affect in my life.  And to be able to share that with my children is amazing for me.

Second set started with a cool little jam into “Truckin'” and got the crowd going instantly.  Next came a sweet “Althea” sung nicely by Mayer followed by a 15 minute version of “Estimated Prophet” (Bobby did not disappoint).  “Playing in the Band” transitioned into the “Drums” (caught my 6 year old son dancing)/”Space” jam then slid into the “Playing in the Band (reprise).”  “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad,” always fun, was followed by a heart felt rendition of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” sung by Weir.  “Throwing Stones” seemed an appropriate closing tune followed by the encore which always makes me think of Jerry and smile, “Black Muddy River.”

Thumbs up! These guys are playing really well and having a good time.  And for now there seems to be plenty of potential for more to come.

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