Rock band pays tribute to Parkland tragedy

BY ANNABELLE DANIELS-ROSENBERG

Dead & Company lit up the stage on Feb. 26 at the BB&T center in Sunrise. The band is the current form of The Grateful Dead which lost their lead guitarist and singer, Jerry Garcia, in 1995. Consisting of mostly original members besides Garcia, artist John Mayer took over his role.

With no opening acts, the band began with their song “Shakedown Street” to get the show started. The upbeat song displayed all the talents of the band and got the crowd singing.

With a fresh voice, Mayer did an exceptional job singing as well as playing the guitar alongside the older members. He fit in with the band and the way they improvise throughout songs. Each song was played for several minutes, some even lasting over 15 minutes. The band would start the song and, in the middle, used only their instruments to communicate and play off each other.  Although long, the songs were never dull as they were all different and continued to change. It was neat to see the band members interact with each other and play what they felt. It brought out the true talents of these players and kept the show alive. Each song led into the next with no breaks in between.  At times songs would change and transition back allowing for fulfillment of each.

The concert had an atypical setlist with songs geared to lift the audience up after the Stoneman Douglas shooting tragedy. The band changed the setlist several times to choose songs with meaning even if it meant no time to play their most famous songs.  The chosen songs like “The Weight”, a cover of The Band, “Eyes of the World” and the encore; “Touch of Grey” each sent a positive message of hope and prayers. At the end of the encore, audience members continued to chant “We will get by,” a repeated lyric in the song.  Displayed on the screen was the school mascot of the eagle and even some of the band members wore Douglas Strong t-shirts. This meaningful tribute sent a message of hope and left an impact.

The show was four hours long with a brief intermission halfway through.  Although long in time, the concert seemed to end faster than it began with such intense and fun vibe.

The show was originally supposed to take place in December, however, Mayer had appendicitis and had to postpone.  Even with the rescheduling, the stadium was packed from start to finish.

Being a band from the 60’s, the songs were older, and the vibe of the whole concert seemed to time travel back to the hippie era.  It was cool to see fans from all over come to see Dead & Company, some even following the band around the country.  In the parking lot, people set up tents selling all types of paraphernalia, playing music, and preparing for the concert.

The show displayed the true talents and character Dead & Company holds and will hopefully continue to spread for generations. This concert was emotional and moving and will be remembered for years to come.

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