Dead & Company brought deep funk and soul to Thursday’s Tonight Show, performing two Grateful Dead classics – “Shakedown Street” and “Brown-Eyed Women” – in their first television spot.
The supergroup – which features John Mayer and Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart – delivered a blistering “Shakedown” on-air, with Weir and Mayer trading off vocals and electric guitar lines. Their grooving web-exclusive version of “Brown-Eyed Women” allowed the sextet to stretch out in a solo-filled instrumental section, including a piano break from keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
Dead & Company will co-headline Bonnaroo 2016 alongside Pearl Jam and a newly reunited LCD Soundsystem. Following that Tennessee performance, the band will kick off an 18-date summer trek with a June 10th gig in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Mayer, who recently learned around 80 Grateful Dead songs in preparation for the jaunt, said recently that the tour may not be as easy as he thought.
“It’s a challenge for me to figure out how much of this gig is to be enjoyed by way of my having fun – like, shouldn’t the guy who gets to play all these great songs have some drinks and hang out – but I also have to be so focused to be able to play that music that people sort of go a little blurry too,” Mayer told Andy Cohen on his SiriusXM show. “So I’m trying to figure out to what extent can I enjoy this to the point that I can be loose, because the music is the greatest music of celebration and elation and ecstasy. And for me to be able to do that, I need to go in the opposite of that.”