HOLYWOOD BOWL - Dead & Company performed the first of two nights at the historic Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday. Things got a little tense during the second set when the band was rushed off stage mid-song during "He's Gone" because of an apparent bomb threat. The stage went dark for about ten minutes and the audience really didn't know what was going on. "All clear, kind of," Bob Weir said as the band returned to the stage.
Hollywood Bowl issued a statement on their website confirming the incident:
"Last night, a performance at the Hollywood Bowl was briefly interrupted while on-site authorities investigated an unfounded bomb threat that was called in during the concert. Because the safety of our patrons is paramount, we immediately initiated a thorough search of the area that turned up no evidence validating the threat. Hollywood Bowl security always includes onsite law enforcement officers, explosive detection dogs and metal detectors at all entrances to the venue. The concert resumed without further incident."
The threat occurred two weeks after the terrorist suicide bombing that killed 22 concert goers and left over 100 injured in Manchester Arena during Ariana Grande's concert.
The 17 song set was filled with extensive solos, killer bass grooves, and a familiar aroma that filled the venue. Dead & Company continue to keep alive the legacy of The Grateful Dead and the spirit of lead guitarist and vocalist Jerry Garcia, and the Hollywood Bowl concert was no exception. The last time the Dead played the Bowl was 1974. However, this reincarnation of the band features grammy-winning singer-songwriter, guitar player and producer, John Mayer. Mayer's diverse background in blues, rock, jazz, and soul as a solo artist have prepared him for the spotlight but it's his guitar playing that really elevates the music. Influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and B.B King, Mayer has developed his own complex style of playing which has been road tested for the last 16 years. Jerry Garcia's shoes are certainly tough to fill, but Bob Weir's confidence in Mayer to take fans to "that place" has certainly grown.
Weir uses the word "plateau" often when describing the journey Dead & Company are on. The journey began on Halloween night 2015. On New Year's Eve at The Forum it was announced Dead & Co had plans to tour extensively in 2016 which would ultimately serve as the unveiling. In the current plateau John Mayer, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti are finally in sync with each other in the audience. It's somewhat of a juggling act for Mayer as the Dead & Co tour spans 20 dates in 15 cities and comes in between his own "The Search For Everything" which will resume in July.
To date Dead & Company have not released any material as a band but have alluded to it in interviews. One can speculate that that's where they are heading. Mayer has consistently said that he doesn't ever plan on leaving the band and that it will be a part of his life forever. The tradition lives on.