A Conversation With Comedian, Deadhead Phil Hanley About The Final Dead & Company Shows

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Waves. Everywhere you looked, there were waves of people – 40,000 bodies moving, swaying, and flailing in the cool San Francisco breeze. This was the final Dead & Company show, an event brimming with tears of joy, gloriously goofy dancing, and, of course, epic jamming. Grateful Dead co-founder, Bob Weir, returned home for a trio of concerts at Oracle Park, marking the grand finale.

Outside the stadium, the atmosphere exuded glee without a hint of bittersweetness. At a Dead & Company show, there was nothing to feel down about, even if it was purported to be the last gig. The crowd was ecstatic, often drunk and high, all ready to witness the band doing what they do best – just like they had over the years.

For nearly five hours, the band – Bob Weir (rhythm guitar and vocals), Mickey Hart (drums and percussion), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards and vocals), John Mayer (lead guitar and vocals), and Oteil Burbridge (bass and vocals) – played like both masters and curious students intertwined. Even when they played the Dead’s hit songs, the band delivered the unexpected, leaving you hanging on to every note and lyric. It wasn’t just because it was the final show. Plus, for a band like the Dead, and a night like the final show, that music never stops. 

There’s something about their music that dances with the soul. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words exactly, especially since the soul isn’t always the most eloquent talker and all. Comedian Phil Hanley, however, knows exactly how the Dead’s music makes him feel. Hanley has been deeply influenced by the band, especially Bob Weir, whom he idolizes. “Anything Bob Weir does, I’ll support,” he once told High Times. “My favorite dyslexic, Bob Weir.” 

Rather than writing further about the …

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Author: Jack Giroux / High Times

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