The reunited Dead are rejuvenated on tour. Appearing on stage with guests Willie Nelson and Joan Osborne, The Dead were outstanding at the Tweeter Center in Camden, New Jersey, on Friday, June 27, 2003. Guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart continue to produce the magic generated when The Dead convene together.

     The revived Dead had just finished a 2002 tour as The Other Ones and are now calling themselves simply The Dead. The name may be old, but their music is as fresh and enchanting as it has ever been. The loss of Jerry Garcia has not hampered the band or deterred their fans from having a good time.

     The Dead casually walked out on stage with Willie Nelson and Joan Osborne, launching into "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad". Weir handled lead vocals with support from Nelson on acoustic guitar and harmony vocals from Osborne. Guitarist Jimmy Herring and keyboardist Rob Morotom rounded out the group.

     Dead drummer Hart took the lead vocal for "Self Defense" with Weir and Osborne adding harmony back up. Osborne was animated during the band jam, shaking her booty to the beat while five balloons bounced around out in the audience.

     Lesh took his turn behind the mike on "Broken Arrow" and laid some deep bass lines for the mellow tempo. "Cassidy" featured Joan Osborne on lead vocals, alternating in a duet with Weir. Weir played acoustic guitar, and Osborne snaked her groove-moves across the stage during the jam-bridge before the band broke for intermission.

     The Dead commenced their second set with "China Cat Sunflower". While the band-jam flourished on stage, a concert patron disbursed some of his late dog's ashes in the row of his aisle without confirming permission from the venue. Camden's Deadheads collectively experienced euphoria in a pseudo-religious revival, grooving on "I Know You Rider".

     "New Speedway Boogie" offered a jaunty beat with a subtle shuffle-feel. Weir and Osborne were joined on the chorus by the crowd as the song meandered into a gospel-flavored jam. Weir's vocal romp on "Shakedown Street" was a high point during the evening concert. Their cool rendition was a particular stage favorite for everybody blessed to be in the audience. Funky bass and guitar passages complimented the festive nature of the tune.

     Osborne's presence with The Dead interjects a feminine element into their stage act. She and Weir traded off lead vocals. Osborne humorously teased Weir during "Turn On Your Love Light" by asking, "Bobby, do I make you nervous?", in a seductive manner. Lesh made a plea for organ donors and blood drive participation before the band's encore exit.

     Uncharacteristically, The Dead performed one number for their Camden encore, a funked up cover of the Motown classic "Dancing In The Street". Weir and Osborne teamed up for a final duet. The lyric "Philadelphia, PA" produced a resounding roar of cheers. Osborne kicked up her heels in abandon as the encore progressed to a crescendo. She trotted across the stage to collect a bouquet of roses as the band split to appear at their Philly charity gig.

     Phil Lesh announced the band's invitation to the audience to join them for another live gig at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia immediately following their Camden performance. The Dead have lost none of their musical appeal and magical zeal on stage. Their live jams are truly awe inspiring, developed over years of constant touring.

Camden setlist: Going Down The Road Feeling Bad * Ramble On Rose * Self Defense * Stagger Lee * Broken Arrow * Mexicali Blues * Cassidy * intermission * China Cat Sunflower * I Know You Rider * Comes A Time * Weather Report suite > Let It Grow > Bird Song > Drums > Space > New Speedway Boogie * Shakedown Street * Turn On Your Love Light * Encore: Dancing In The Street

RockonTour   Issue #22
Concert Fan - the Single Source for the Concertphile © 2003 RoT
                  the Single Source for the Concertphile

The Dead yet live
The Dead resurrect themselves

by Timothy Tilghman