Playing In The Sand, Riviera Maya, MX 1/19/19 (Live) Digital
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As had been the case in the first “Playing In The Sand” the previous year, Dead & Company ceded the stage to guest artists on the second night of the extended weekend, then returned on Saturday, tanned, rested and ready.
John Mayer kicks things off with a solid “Deal,” with the energy nicely continued by Bob Weir and John Barlow’s wry ode to rock ‘n’ roll depravity, “Hell In A Bucket.” The first set provides plenty of favorites, including “Cold Rain And Snow,” “Alabama Getaway,” the heartbreaking “China Doll” (with beautiful lead vocal by Oteil Burbridge) and the obligatory (but anything but perfunctory) “One More Saturday Night.”
Part two features some intriguing song sequencing from the get-go, with “Estimated Prophet” given a rare placement as set opener, juxtaposed with “He’s Gone.” That unusual opening sets the stage for a rapturously received “St. Stephen,” reunited with its successors from the Live/Dead album, the “William Tell Bridge” and “The Eleven,” the latter providing an especially potent introduction to wide-ranging Drums and Space segments. A blissful “Uncle John’s Band” follows, and then a powerful “Morning Dew” set topper. In the encore slot is another happy surprise: the Bobby “Blue” Bland (by way of Pigpen) standby “Turn On Your Lovelight.”