We’re deep into Dead & Company’s summer tour and so far it’s been a treat to experience. Since The Hollywood Bowl we’ve seen some incredible setlist variations, a handful of new debuts, and the return of “Spanish Jam”! After playing in the heart of Los Angeles, the band ventured off the grid for two nights at one of America’s most scenic venues: The Gorge Amphitheatre. The first night featured a touching tribute to Jerry Garcia and the recently passed Dr. John. Night one at The Gorge also included the Dead & Company debut of “It Must Have Been Roses.”
Following a weekend stop in Noblesville, Indiana, Dead & Co. headed to Chicago for two nights at the legendary Wrigley Field. It was a rainy weekend in the windy city, but a little precipitation couldn’t keep the band down. The energy at Wrigley was incredible and it bled into the performance. Wrigley night one featured the fantastic debut of “To Lay Me Down.” The next night featured the welcomed return of “Spanish Jam,” entering the setlist for the first time since 2017. Three days later, Dead & Co. once again dipped into their archives, this time playing “In The Midnight Hour” at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This was the first time the band had played the Wilson Pickett cover in three years.
Since playing Saratoga, Dead & Company has been all over the Northeast. Last week, the band played Camden, New Jersey; Foxborough, Massachusetts; and New York, New York. Last night’s show at Citi Field in New York featured the return of another Grateful Dead classic, but it wasn’t a song. The special guest on this show was Wolf, the famous Guitar owned and used by Jerry Garcia dating back to 1973. John Mayer played last night’s show with Wolf and the performance was breathtaking. Dead & Company will be back on stage Wednesday, June 25th in Bristow, Virginia.
Listen to every show from Dead & Company’s summer tour on nugs.net
Tipitina’s has been a staple in the New Orleans’ music scene since 1977. The iconic venue hosts New Orleans’ finest and funkiest musicians. Every Friday this summer Tipitina’s hosts free performances featuring incredible local talent and the party goes all night long. Tune in to nugs.tv every Friday to watch Tipitina’s Free Fridays live and discover your new favorite band! Below you can check out previous Free Friday’s performances, with more added each week.
5/24/19 Brassaholics & Erica Falls
5/31/19 Billy Iuso & Restless Natives + The Quickening
6/7/19 Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes, Aaron Benjamin, & Spencer Whatever
The nugs.net Live Stash is moving from the satellite to the cloud. Previously airing on Sirius XM’s Jam On channel as the Weekly Live Stash, the new nugs.net Live Stash is now available to more people than ever. The podcast, hosted by Brad Serling, will be home to the best live recordings from the last week and an occasional trip into the archives. The first episode is available now featuring music from Dead & Company, Phish, Metallica, and tons more. Keep an eye out for new episodes of the nugs.net Live Stash each week!
Part of what draws us to Springsteen concerts is the range of emotions they deliver over the course of a single evening. Songs of hardship and heartbreak intermix with those of liberation, love, and celebration. But on occasion, the mood leans strongly in one direction. Playing the third of three stadium shows on the eve of his 63rd birthday, and following a 120-minute weather delay, Bruce was of a mind to surprise and delight his hometown fans and set the energy dial to HIGH.
When attempting to describe the E Street Band in peak tour form, as we find them here, it can be difficult to resist cliches. East Rutherford 2012 evokes “well-oiled machine,” the attributes of which are fitting: smooth, powerful, polished, built to last. Jon Altschiller’s vibrant mix spotlights their outstanding playing and grabs the listener right out of the gate, an apt choice of words, as if there were a track announcer at MetLife she would surely be shouting, “They’re off and running.”
East Rutherford 2012 opens with ten straight, dare I say, bangers, ignoring any “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” advice in an effort to rouse fans who had been waiting patiently for hours.
The proceedings commence with the open invitation of “Out in the Street,” and the band-fan partnership is further reinforced via “The Ties That Bind” before a horns-accented “Cynthia” makes clear Stevie had a hand in this appetizing 34-song setlist. Bruce calls the Born in the U.S.A. outtake a Van Zandt favorite and a little bit of “E Street from the Underground Garage,” in reference to his pal’s Sirius XM radio show and channel. Lots of rockers + lots of rarities = Stevie’s unmistakable influence.
Turns out we’re just getting started. From there, “Badlands” into a fine “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” followed by guitar-crunching versions of “Cover Me” and “Downbound Train,” and the new-album three-pack: “We Take Care of Our Own,” “Wrecking Ball,” and “Death to My Hometown.” With that, the ten-track onslaught relents, and we catch our breath during a moving “My City of Ruins.”
The pace of the show picks back up with “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City,” still packing plenty of heat and preceded by an abridged version of Bruce’s Columbia Records audition story. A double shot with guest Gary U.S. Bonds (in fine voice) is another special treat, and the spirit of ‘81 is in full effect for a duet on “Jolé Blon” and a Bonds lead vocal on “This Little Girl.” The latter, a Springsteen-penned solo hit for Bonds, is performed for surprisingly only the fourth time ever with the E Street Band, which played on the original sessions.
After a Seeger Sessions-inspired “Pay Me My Money Down” come more rarities. As other live download releases have shown, “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart” is a surprisingly tricky song to nail; this is a good one, riding an excellent Springsteen vocal. After “Janey,” Bruce realizes the clock has struck midnight, which means it is now officially his birthday. He asks the crowd for his song, and a stadium full of fans sings “Happy Birthday” back to him. Then, reaching all the way back to 12/31/80 without a soundcheck safety net, Springsteen summons up Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour,” and damn if they don’t nail it. Sure, any self-respected horn section would know those parts by heart, but one can still marvel that an audible unplayed for more than 30 years can come off so strong.
The spiritual highlight of the night is the first and only Wrecking Ball tour performance of “Into the Fire” from The Rising. With MetLife mere miles from Ground Zero, the vividly detailed lyrics resonate deeply, and the richly layered arrangement, led by Springsteen’s tender, heartfelt vocals, reminds us this is one of his modern classics.
The third reel of this epic New Jersey tale continues apace, with “Because the Night” and “She’s the One” doing heavy lifting, “Working on the Highway” keeping things loose, and “Shackled and Drawn” making sure we’re grounded, too. The denouement arrives in the precious pairing of “Meeting Across the River” and “Jungleland” for the first time on the tour. With the stage bathed in indigo light, Curt Ramm’s bold trumpet refrain and Roy Bittan’s understated piano intertwine achingly, and Bruce’s vocal is on point: rich, measured, and world-weary. The passion surges to crescendo in the ensuing “Jungleland,” and like a dramatic stage revival, the Jersey street opera remains arresting.
“Thunder Road” provides release, “Rocky Ground” solemnity, and then party mode takes over. The rest of a lively encore romps through “Born to Run,” “Glory Days, “Seven Nights to Rock,” and “Dancing in the Dark” before we get to our final memorable moment.
“The boss of bosses has just come on stage,” Bruce says by way of introducing his mother Adele. Along with his in-laws the Scialfas and other family friends, she has come out to deliver a cake and sing a proper “Happy Birthday.” The birthday party ends the only way it could, with “Twist and Shout.”
“Thanks for a memorable birthday,” Bruce tells the crowd as he walks off stage. “My mother is for rent for $2.50 an hour for parties and Bar Mitzvahs.” A pretty good joke for two in the morning, and a funny, fitting end to one of the most electrifying shows on the Wrecking Ball tour.
Dead & Company Summer Tour 2019 is here and what a week it’s been! We’ve gotten powerful performances of our favorite songs, a debut of the Grateful Dead’s “High Time”, and so many more special moments from week one. As always we captured every moment in our live webcasts. Before you tune in tomorrow for Dead & Company live at The Gorge, watch some of our favorite moments from the last week’s California shows below:
Order Upcoming Dead & Company Webcasts
Catch every moment from this summer’s tour including the first four shows when your purchase the Unlimited Devotion Pass on nugs.tv! Select the 19 Show package when ordering the webcast and you’ll get access to every Dead & Co. show of the summer.