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Friday, May 17, 2024

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MusicLive ShotsLive Shots: Dead & Company call it quits in...

Live Shots: Dead & Company call it quits in a blaze of nostalgia (and afterparties)

Fans mobbed Oracle Park, and later the Foundry, to dance their wafty dance of farewell

Dead & Company just wrapped up three nights of farewell at Oracle Park. Photographer Jon Bauer was there with the camera, 48 Hills music writer John-Paul Shiver got the goods at the after-party.

When Dead & Company last fall announced that the group was putting the kibosh on the 10-year affair, it felt like a past-life experience, a hallucination from a different century. As soon as the news leaked that the final concerts would include Mickey Hart, John Mayer, and Bob Weir (with Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti) performing their last shows at Oracle Park, it was the last call. Dust off and fire up that Bat-signal for Deadheads all over the world once again.

So as Dead and Company closed out their three-night stand at Oracle this weekend, causing numerous after-parties all three nights: LP Giobbi held a raucous one at The Fillmore called Dead House, Boom Boom Room down the street kept it rocking, and The Foundry did their part to keep Dead music in the air around Folsom Street—an area most definitely not associated with the Jerry-friendly vibe. But it made no difference. This was yet another, sort-of goodbye for the Dead franchise (let’s be real, Bob Weir still likes to play around these parts) and the vibes traveled everywhere. 

I attended the memorial for Jerry in Golden Gate Park during the ’90s, and it was something else. I got more out of it than expected, and I’m not a Deadhead. Yet somehow, for decades, I’ve always been surrounded by that tribe of folk. And I’m probably better off as a human for it.

The faithful traipsing through The Foundry on Sunday in silvery capes made it a festive Halloween for hippies for sho. This final night of Dead & Company, patrons were an appreciative lot. Nobody was tearing up. Folks were grooving to the DJ, warming up for the band, Matt Hartle and Friends. (Just another point of clarification, DJs can’t stand when musicians start vibing and riffing to songs being played.) In any event Deadheads were doing that wafty dance, the trip-the-light-fantastic-type of get down, to the band picking at the DJ set. You know exactly the one. The dance with the hands, shoulders, and head that pisses off non-Deadheads. 

As I arrived at The Foundry, two very kind and accommodating women helped me enter the party. Since I was a last-minute addition, my name was not on the list. While searching for my press credentials, they assured me that the previous night’s after-party was a “rocking, bumping good time.” When I asked if I was late, one of them replied, “Oh, we’re just starting, honey,” and I walked on through.

“We push for diversity past corporate events and our staple house/techno,” Tyler Jurich, creative director of The Foundry, told me by way of email. “A lot of work but this was a fun two nights to host.”

I spoke with a gentleman who would not give his name, who decided on Saturday, yes, this past Saturday, he and his wife were buying tickets and flying in on Sunday from Boston for the final show. When I brought up Mookie Betts leaving the Red Sox a couple years back to go to the LA Dodgers he ended our chat. (I, too, suffer from Mookie remorse, brother) 

While he grumbled something about credit card debt, he was thankful for pulling the plug on a very expensive, less-than-24-hour move. 

As he explained, at first, upon hearing that John Mayer was going to be in the band at the start of this unique incarnation, a certain level of disgust slid into his chi. But then after the young guitar slinger found his way in the band, he started to adore Mayer, saying we got a good 10 years out of him.

And that was the vibe of the after-party at Folsom Foundry, thankful for an additional 10 years they were initially not sure they were going to get. Maybe us normies can learn from our fellow Deadheads. Appreciate when you are unexpectedly ahead.

While hustling the late-night bus routes and situations around the city, it was satisfying and agreeable to see actual, or some mutant form of out-of-town Deadheads, in SF, telling their tales one more ‘gin with that special fellowship. Dare I say it felt like better times.

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