HITS Daily Double


The longest and strangest trip in rock kept on rolling last night (5/16) as Dead & Company began their Dead Forever residency at Sphere in Las Vegas. Our brains are still tingling.

Core members Mickey Hart (80) and Bob Weir (76) were joined onstage by guitarist John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and drummer Jay Lane for the first of 24 Sphere shows, which follow the band's farewell tour last year.

The 19-song set included familiar numbers such as "Uncle John's Band," "Franklin's Tower" and "Jack Straw" as well as more under-the-radar cuts like opener "Feel Like a Stranger," John Phillips' "Me and My Uncle" and the late Jerry Garcia's "Bird Song." The fellas capped the evening with versions of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”

As for those psychedelic visuals, they spanned just about every vista from 1960s San Francisco to a view of Earth from outer space, including dancing turtles, boundless deserts and skyscraper-sized amplifier stacks.

Dead Forever runs through July 13 (or until whatever we ingested last night wears off). Fans can also flock to the Dead Forever Experience, a free, 22,000-square-foot "centralized hub" now open at the Venetian Resort Las Vegas that offers exclusive merch and such installations as "Art at the Edge of Magic," Hart's Terrapin Station Entertainment-produced exhibition.