By Matt Brookman
New York – Got the Ways and Means
June 22 – Night 2 Citi Field to close out an epic NY stand on the final tour. There was a special energy in the air this evening. The forecast was calling for rain, but the weather knew it couldn’t stop the band from playing one final show in New York. It was a beautiful night and the band was greeted to a packed and electric stadium.
The band hit the stage with John wearing a Mets Lindor jersey (John later posted on his Instagram that his father was a huge Mets fan). The boys were all smiles and you could tell that tonight was going to be special. “Feels Like a Stranger” to open the show, which was last played on May, 23 in Phoenix. It was a funked out version and it definitely felt like it was going to be a long, long crazy, crazy night.
To follow was “Franklin’s Tower”, giving us some 1980’s energy. The coupling was first done in 1980 and became a standard from 1987 to the summer of 1989. Listen to the great version on nugs.net from the album “Dead Set”. It was time for a Cowboy Tune and we got the always welcome Merl Haggard cover “Mama Tried”. The playing continued on a very high level with Bobby in fine form on the vocals.
“Alabama Getaway” followed, the “Go To Heaven” Garcia/Hunter song, which was first played in 1979 has become John Mayer’s . The pace was high and the Citi Field crowd was moving and grooving. Next to follow was the Traffic cover “Dear Mr Fantasy” which led into the Beatles “Hey Jude Reprise”. The 80’s energy continued with John giving both songs the full workout. In this writer’s opinion this was the best version of this combination that Dead & Company has done since reviving it last summer. The Citi Field crowd all singing in unison the “Na na na nananana, nannana, hey Jude…” They kept the foot on the gas treating the NY faithful to a NYC favorite “Truckin’” and they roared as Bobby delivered “New York – Got The Ways And Means”. Closing out this perfect first set was “Deal”, which was an absolute show stopper. The jams built and built seeing John deliver three powerful windmills and raising his fist in the air ala the famous Jerry Garcia image. This is a definite must listen and has to be in the running for best first sets of the tour.
The second set started off with a hot “Scarlet Begonias>Fire on The Mountain” finally reconnecting the coupling, which had been separated of late in previous shows. All felt right in the world and the high energy playing from the firs set continued into the second. The NY crowd was then treated to another traditionally played combination with “Estimated Prophet>Eyes Of The World”. Stellar versions of both with the band finding their way into a tease of The Wailers “Get Up Stand Up” during “Estimated”. The versions of “Eyes of The World” have gone from strength to strength since Cornell and this was another high energy version seeing the various band members shining in their solos while taking the song to jazzy places it hasn’t been before. “Eyes” would lead perfectly into “Drums” which once again was a standout portion of the show.
“Space” would see Jeff, John, Bobby and Oteil return to the stage with some incredible improvisational jamming. The drummers returned and the band worked its way into rare cover Miles Davis’s “All Blues”. This was the first version of the song on the Final Tour, which was played only once before last year in Chicago. This would lead into another fiery version of “Cumberland Blues”. A heavily jammed “All Along the Watchtower” lead into the show stopping “Morning Dew”. The perfect closer for a show this special.
The band returned for a beautiful rendition of “Brokedown Palace” and bid their adieu to the NY crowd. This show will definitely be in conversation as one of the best of the tour, but this band never seemed to let the NY fans down.
Rare song of the night: “All Blues.” The Miles Davis cover played for the second time by Dead & Company after being broken out at Wrigley Field in 2022.
Other must listen to moments: “Alabama Getaway”, “Dear Mr. Fantasy>Hey Jude Reprise”, “Deal”, “Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain”, “Cumberland Blues” and “Morning Dew”
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