The DJ Sessions


Dead & Company Bring Four Series Debuts to Las Vegas’ Sphere (A Recap)

Relix | June 1, 2024

Photo Credit: Alive Coverage

On Friday, May 31, Dead & Company took the stage at Las Vegas’ innovative Sphere to continue its ever-growing Dead residency with another pathbreaking set. For the second night of its third weekend of programming, the band continued to roll out classics from the original jamband’s bottomless catalog, expanding its Sphere repertoire with cuts like “New Speedway Boogie” and “Row Jimmy,” among others. Friday’s performance followed the band’s bar-raising return on Thursday, May 30, when the band assumed the eyes of the world for a heartwarming tribute of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” to late NBA legend Bill Walton.

Dead & Company set off its first set with the shuffling funk of “Shakedown Street,” fittingly paired with the venue’s customary establishing shots of the house at 710 Ashbury Street. As the venue continued to soar though The Haight, the ensemble—featuring Bobby Weir, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti and Jay Lane—moved on to “Jack Straw,” then merged into the series debut of the Workingman’s Dead fan favorite “New Speedway Boogie.” The band kept the debuts coming with “Row Jimmy,” which paired perfectly with the tripped-out pirate ship visual sequence, sailing on into the live legacies of “Tennessee Jed” and “Playing in the Band.” After this massive splash, the band landed with the series debut of “Don’t Ease Me In,” the band’s 1966 debut single. As this historic hit rang out, the scrapbooked ephemera from the Dead’s rich history spanned the venue’s walls, cultivating a total experiential gateway to the golden beginnings of psychedelia and loving reflection on how far the music has come.

The band returned to the stage with the bright-eyed and bouncing “Uncle John’s Band,” then brought the heat with its trademark pairing of certified classics “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider.” From this anthemic, sing-along high note, the group tipped into the far-out, exploratory jams that hold an honored position in the center of the second set, beginning with the beloved “Dark Star.” Later movements in this heady space were guided by the tricky polyrhythms and sounds-from-way-out of Hart and The Beam on “Drums” and “Space.”

Soul-stirring beauty resolved from the deep-thought detour as the band put up “Stella Blue,” then followed this thread to the narratively-grounded storytelling centerpiece of 1977’s “Terrapin Station.” Dead & Company amped things up one last time with a segue into the hot and heavy “Hell in a Bucket.” In a complete tonal shift, the main portion of the concert came to a close with a moody, wide-open “Black Muddy River,” giving the Vegas crowd some space to feel and reflect before driving the celebration home with a final encore of “Casey Jones”

Dead & Company will return to Sphere tonight, June 1, for the third and final show of its third weekend of performances at the venue. The Dead Forever residency will return next week and continue through Aug. 10. For tickets and more information, visit

Read on for the complete setlist from Friday, 5/31.


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Dead & Company
Sphere — Las Vegas

Set I: Shakedown Street, Jack Straw, New Speedway Boogie*, Row Jimmy*, Tennessee Jed, Playing in the Band, Don’t Ease Me In*
Set II: Uncle John’s Band, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Dark Star > Drums > Space > Stella Blue > Terrapin Station > Hell In A Bucket, Black Muddy River*
Encore: Casey Jones

* Series debut.

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