What seeing Dead and Company is like
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Dead And Company Shows Are More Than Just Concerts

They're life-changing experiences filled with passion and love.

Dead And Company Shows Are More Than Just Concerts
Jessica Berbey

If you've ever been to a Dead and Company show, you know exactly what I'm talking about: it's perhaps the only place where you'll be amongst a sea of people from different generations -- ages ranging from as young as a few months old to college students to Deadheads that followed The Grateful Dead around in the '60s -- a beautiful array of color and tie-dye, and of course, twenty minute jam sessions on single songs.

I've seen Dead and Company four times now, the first: during their Summer 2017 Tour in Chicago, and going in, I had no idea what to expect. I had been a fan of the Grateful Dead since I discovered "American Beauty" my freshman year of college, and knowing that I would see Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann, these legendary founding members of the band that changed the way I listened to music, was ineffably enticing. I didn't know much about John Mayer, but I was not expecting him to play such a vital role in the Dead experience -- and boy was I in for a pleasant surprise!

Mayer's ability to infuse and lose himself in the music without overshadowing any of the other members was unlike anything I'd ever seen before: his sensual body language and almost erotic facial expressions exuberated euphoria and his vocals not only complemented Oteil— who joined Dead and Company at the same time as Mayer— and Bobby's voices perfectly, but they added a refreshing, youthful energy that I hadn't realized was missing from the otherwise, timeless band.

Dead and Company in Chicago on June 30, 2017Dead and Company performing in Chicago at Wrigley Field on June 30, 2017Jessica Berbey

Dead and Company in Detroit on November 24, 2017Dead and Company performing in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena on November 24, 2017Jessica Berbey

However, as phenomenal as the music was, the Dead experience wouldn't have been the same without the zealous amount of love and appreciation that poured out of every Deadhead present. I have seen so many acts of kindness at Dead shows, but the one that resonates the most with me, was one I witnessed this past summer at Alpine Valley— a historic, amphitheatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. It was during the intermission of night one, and my friends and I were lying on the grass admiring the greenness of the scenery, the sea of tie-dye, the burst of color in the clouds, and the blanket of smoke that lay perfectly over the mountains behind the stage. We raved about the insane ten-minute "Touch of Grey" the boys had just killed and commented on the dancing clouds and their ability to morph to the beat of Mayer's guitar and Oteil's bass. Taking in the magnetic ambiance around us, we hugged each other and laughed and smiled and told each other how happy we were to be experiencing this phenomenon together, when we noticed that, in front of us, an older Deadhead with a cane was struggling to stand up. Before we could get up to help him, another 'head closer in proximity to him, who we assumed was his friend, leaned over and extended his arm to him. He helped him up the steep hill, navigated him through the labyrinth of elated deadheads, and accompanied him to the restroom, waiting in line with him for at least twenty minutes. They then came back, arm in arm, and the friend helped the older Deadhead sit on the grass, gave him a hug, kissed him on the cheek, and said, "I love you, brother!" I didn't think much of it when it happened, but after the show, we learned that those two deadheads were actually complete strangers.

It was the purest, most tangible form of love I have ever experienced, and it's definitely something I will only ever experience at Dead shows. Never have I been in a crowd of thousands of people and felt like everyone there was family. Never have I felt an over-burst of genuine love for strangers the way I do at Dead shows. Each of the four Dead shows I have been to - night one of Chicago Summer 2017, Detroit Fall 2017, and nights one and two of Alpine Valley Summer 2018 - has surpassed my expectations. Not only have the boys outdone themselves with each performance, which is hard to wrap your mind around when you consider how phenomenal they are and you think they can't possibly get any better, but the energy and passion Deadheads reverberate is unlike anything I can ever articulate.

I can honestly say that the happiest days of my life have been at Dead shows, and part of it is due to the powerful energy and affection both the band and the Deadhead family share for the music and each other.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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