Rock Titan Photojournalist Tom Collins walks among the Dead

Dead & Company - Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company - Photo by Tom Collins

Dead & Company
Story and Photos by Tom Collins
Edited by Scott Johnson

Dead & Company - Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company – Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company - Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company – Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company - Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company – Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company - Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company – Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company - Photo by Tom Collins
Dead & Company – Photo by Tom Collins

Typically, a Sunday night is a bit boring, dull and uneventful. In this case, you could say that Sunday night at the BB&T in Camden, NJ was completely DEAD! Dead & Co. played to a Sold Out crowd of over 25,000 shoulder to shoulder, dancing and twirling fans. The band consists of surviving members of The Grateful Dead, Bob Weir (guitar), Mickey Hart (drums), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums), along with John Mayer (guitar), Oteil Burbridge (bass/drums), and Jeff Chimenti (keyboards). Notably still missing from the lineup was Phil Lesh, who has been battling ongoing health issues.

Tye-Dyes as far as the eye could see and a very familiar Dead Head “aroma” was heavy in the air. The audience showed that The Dead had crossed over many generations and were just as popular now as they were 25, 30, 40+ years ago. They are the original jam band and influential to the likes of more current greats like Phish and the Dave Matthews Band. The times have changed and even the vibe was a little different from days long gone, but the music remains the same. It’s organic and free flowing. To some it’s even spiritual. Fans came from far and wide to let their freak flags fly, let their stress go and dance the night away, care free and happy!

Bob Weir with his head and face covered in thick, bushy white hair was a stark contrast to the young John Mayer playing guitar along side him. Bill and Mickey sat behind giant, psychedelic painted drum kits keeping tandem rhythms to every song. A large LED video screen projected many of The Grateful Dead’s iconic images and logos, mixed with swirling colors and images of the band members performing. Beach balls and balloons bounced crazily through the audience adding to the festiveness. Looking out towards the lawn portion of the venue, it was completely packed and seemed to churn with the thousands of people enjoying the music!

The Dead played 2 Sets with a long intermission in between. The first set opened with “Feel Like A Stranger” and featured other great songs like “Big Boss Man, Cumberland Blues and Casey Jones.” The second Set kicked off with a fun rendition of “Iko Iko” and featured Grateful Dead classics such as “Franklin’s Tower and Sugar Magnolia.” The encore for the night was “Brokedown Palace.” John Mayer did a fantastic job covering much of the shows vocals and his superb guitar playing fit like a missing puzzle piece to complete the classic sound. The Grateful Dead may not be for everyone but this past Sunday night, it sure looked like it was for most!

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