What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been…

Dead & Co. | Ruoff Music Center | Noblesville, IN. | 9.15.21 | Photos by: ©Pix Meyers 2021
Dead & Co. | Ruoff Music Center | Noblesville, IN. | 9.15.21 | Photos by: ©Pix Meyers 2021

Noblesville, IN. – They’re back! After suspending the scheduled 2020 tour, Dead and Company are back out on the road and doing what they do best! It took a little bit of time for the enthusiastic crowd to enter the venue due to Covid 19 requirements. Fans were required to show proof of vaccination and/or a negative test within 48 hours of event to attend. It was a beautiful night for a show and the packed house seemed appreciative of a little cooler evening and gorgeous sunset as the show began. 

Original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir (rhythm guitar, lead/backing vocals), Mickey Hart (percussion, drums) and Bill Kreutzmann (drums) along with John Mayer (lead guitar, lead/backing vocals), Oteil Burbridge (bass, percussion, lead/backing vocals) and Jeff Chimenti (keyboards, backing vocals) took to the stage and fans of all ages jumped to their feet. The first set started with Mayer laying down the slinky guitar grooves of the 80’s tune “Feel Like a Stranger” to get the crowd dancing. John and the band seemed to be in locked step from the first down beat – some of which can be attributed to John’s use of headphones on stage this year, which he has discussed in more detail in several interviews.  Dead and Company continue to carry on the long standing tradition of utilizing cutting edge technology in their live sound and lighting systems, resulting in a stunning visual and auditory experience (Although scuttle among fans has it that some would like a little more volume during the shows but the emphasis has always been on quality over quantity in the Dead organization). As the first set continued, the band broke into “Dire Wolf” which gave the crowd a great sing along before Weir gave a stunning cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” before closing the first set with the blues filled boogie of “Big Railroad Blues”. As usual, the band took a quick 45 minute break for fans to grab a drink, hit the restroom, or track down some friends without missing any of the show. 


After kicking off the second set with a rollicking “Sugaree” highlighted by some nice interplay between guitarist John Mayer and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti; bassist Oteil Burbridge and dual drummers Bill Kreutzmann/Mickey Hart were driving the beat solidly for the dancers to get their groove on. Then, the band stunned the crowd and delved way back into the catalog for the fan favorite (and not often performed) “Dark Star Vol. 1″ – always serving as a vehicle for some extended improvisations, fans were not disappointed on this night – when this was followed by “St. Stephen” and “The Eleven” die hard “Deadheads” were ecstatic to realize the band was revisiting the song lineup of the very first official live Grateful Dead album from 1969, Live/Dead! Other than slipping in a quick “Casey Jones” from a later period and encoring with the Jerry Garcia penned “Black Muddy River” the band continued from the Live/Dead album by playing the Reverend Gary Davis’ blues classic “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” (especially haunting considering current events) and closed the second set by flooring the gas into “Turn On Your Lovelight”

Playing right up until venue curfew, Dead and Company gave the fans a stellar night of musicianship and performance, further cementing the observation made years ago by legendary rock concert promoter Bill Graham, “They’re not the best at what they do, they’re the only ones who do what they do…”  Even though Dead and Company have no studio recordings, all of their concerts from 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 have been (or will be) released on CD, iTunes, streaming services and through Livedead.co website. The 2021 tour is streaming 4K and HD on nugs.net and you can catch the band out touring through the end of October. Make sure to check their website for dates near you.  

Set 1:  Noblesville, IN.

  1. Feel Like A Stranger
  2. They Love Each Other
  3. Me & My Uncle
  4. Brown Eyed Women
  5. If I Had The World To Give
  6. Dire Wolf
  7. A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan Cover)
  8. Big Railroad Blues

Set 2: Noblesville, IN.

  1. Sugaree
  2. Dark Star Verse 1
  3. St. Stephen
  4. William Tell Bridge
  5. The Eleven
  6. Drums/Space
  7. Dark Star Verse 2
  8. Casey Jones
  9. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
  10. Turn On Your Love Light


Black Muddy River

show date: 09/15/2021