The Grateful Dead offshoot Dead & Company is currently wrapping up their Playing in the Sand event, and last night’s set featured a big sit-in from Michael Franti & Spearhead.
The dissonant power chord intro of “Viola Lee Blues” made for a strong launch to the second set. Over the course of two verses and eight minutes, the band got themselves back up to speed before transitioning straight into the 22-minute “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” that followed. There was an extra couple of minutes of jamming during the solo between the second and third verses, and as the band headed into the outro jam, Michael Franti and four members of his band Spearhead came out onstage. By the time the band transitioned into “I Know You Rider”, there were 11 people onstage-three more percussionists to complete Mickey Hart and Billy Kreutzmann‘s section, a second keyboardist seated next to Chimenti, and Franti on vocals. He added backing vocals to every verse, taking lead on the “Wish I was a headlight” verse that was a Jerry Garcia showpiece at Grateful Dead gigs. This was a one-of-a-kind version of the song, and the sort of thing that folks who made the trip were hoping to see. [L4LM]
Watch the video below.