The Dead Welcome President Obama and Vice President Biden
The surviving core members of The Grateful Dead reunited for a performance at
Barack Obama’s Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball last night. Like the group’s
upcoming tour, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill
Kreutzmann were joined by guitarist Warren Haynes and keyboardist Jeff
Chimenti throughout the seven-song performance. During their set, Hart
played on a drum kit that featured an inlay of Obama’s rising sun symbol paired
with The Dead’s famed Steal Your Face logo.
The group’s performance was divided into two short sets which were built
around speeches by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The
sextet started things off with a cover of Martha and the Vandellas’
adopted Civil Rights anthem ‘Dancin’ In the Streets,’ (which also had served as Phil
Lesh and Friends’ encore on the night after Obama’s election).
The group then ran through ‘Uncle John’s Band’ and
‘Sugar Magnolia,’ as well as ‘Eyes of the World,’ before stepping aside so
‘very special guest’ Vice President Biden could address the audience. The
Dead then returned to the stage for a three-song performance featuring
the anthems ‘The Wheel,’ ‘Touch of Grey’ and ‘Box of Rain’ before clearing
the stage for the Obamas’ grand entrance.
Barack and Michelle Obama then quickly entered the room to the tune of
‘Hail to the Chief’ and addressed an audience that included
Senate-hopeful, and former Saturday Night Live star, Al Franken.
The President and the First Lady then danced to a recording of Etta James’ ‘At
Last.’ The Obamas were said to have hopped between all ten official
presidential balls until approximately 12:45 AM. Additional reporting by Jen Lieberman and Eric Pietrzak