“Picture a bright blue ball spinning... Dizzy with eternity": Dead & Company, featuring John Mayer, delight Deadheads at The Sphere

Dead & Company at the sphere
(Image credit: Getty Images/Kevin Carter)

Incredible footage has emerged of Dead And Company’s run of shows at the Sphere in Las Vegas, which kicked off last Thursday. Have a butcher's at this and be amazed.

The Wheel was just one of the many highlights of their Saturday night show at the state-of-the-art venue whose main USP is the 160,000-square-foot LED screen that wraps around the interior.

The band – which features John Mayer alongside surviving members of the original Grateful Dead, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart – played two sets over three and a half hours, and unleashed a dazzling assault of immersive visual psychedelia that reflected the ‘long strange trip’ the band and their followers have been on, one that would have surely taken some older punters back to the original acid tests with which the original Dead made their name.

We’re talking dancing bears, flying eyeballs and cotton wool trees, as well as close-up views of the band members, so you were staring at a 100 ft tall Mayer up close.

There’s also a section where punters are taken on a journey through some of the key venues of Dead history, from the Winterland Ballroom to Red Rocks in Colorado, which sees live images of the band members embedded into the landscape, and a sequence where a camera zooms out from Haight-Ashbury to a position hovering above the Earth.

Dead And Company are the third band to have played at the Sphere, after U2’s initial run of dates last autumn and a four night residency from Phish in April. The band are set to play 24 shows that will run until mid July.

The very fact that Mayer and co are doing these dates at all is a surprise. The band, which formed in 2015 after Mayer struck up a friendship with Bob Weir were initially supposed to do just one show at Madison Square Garden that year.

This proved to be so successful that it led to more and eventually a decade’s worth of live performances (though no recorded music, as yet). Last summer they undertook what was supposed to be their ‘final’ tour, which culminated in a show in San Francisco’s Oracle Park in July. When that tour was announced Bob Weir had noted “well it looks like that’s it for this outfit.”

So Deadheads were pleasantly flabbergasted when this in February an Instagram post from Mayer announced the Sphere residency with the words: “picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free. Dizzy with eternity.”

For ticketing and more info, visit The Sphere website.

Will Simpson
News and features writer

Will Simpson is a freelance music expert whose work has appeared in Classic Rock, Classic Pop, Guitarist and Total Guitar magazine. He is the author of 'Freedom Through Football: Inside Britain's Most Intrepid Sports Club' and his second book 'An American Cricket Odyssey' is due out in 2025