Mississippi Half-Step gets the ball rolling, and things get hot quick, culminating in a sweet jam. In the midst of it, the boys suddenly push forward in a frenetic rush, changing the key and taking it into Franklin’s. Jerry laces Franklin’s with some powerful runs before a moment’s pause shifts the band into a smoking Minglewood. Peggy-O finally slows everything down, but the song is just resplendent with Brent throwing in some fine runs in response to Jerry’s gorgeous guitar. El Paso then rolls out before a killer Cumberland. And then they turn to an elegant Althea with a stellar Jerry-fueled jam at the end. A bright and lively Cassidy keeps it going before Big Railroad Blues and a little Man Smart, Woman Smarter to really shake the bones. Finally, Might As Well caps the eleven-song set.
After that burner of an opening set, the audience was surely anticipating some fireworks in the second half. And the Dead are not going to let anyone down, starting with a dense, mega-disco Shakedown, played to the nines. Jerry is firing off, right alongside Phil’s intense bass bombs and Brent’s magical fills. A funky jam at the end - thick with a vocal breakdown - takes it righteously into Samson, which is itself scintillating. Then the band turns to a stunningly emotional To Lay Me Down, the second to last before they put it on the shelf until Hampton in ’88. To get things jumpstarted again, Bobby leads it into Let It Grow where Jerry and Brent go off. Then, after Drums and Space, we get a slow, dazzling He’s Gone with a bluesy jam at the end. And the Dead send that jam into something different altogether, a searching interlude that seems to be looking for the Other One the entire time. Finally, they grab onto the theme itself and Bobby lays in the first verse. Just a few heady moments later, and the band slows it down and takes it into a beautiful Stella. A rocking Sugar Mags then follows it up to close out the set. A rare Casey Jones encore gets one of the largest cheers of the evening before the crowd spills out into a full moon Kansas City night.