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Around Town: The Grateful Dead Night @ Nationals Park — 5/8/24

Nationals Park Rocked by The Grateful Dead Vibes
Words by Dan Rozman
Photos by Mark Raker

Washington, DC was truckin’ last week as Nationals Park hosted its 4th annual Grateful Dead Night celebration before the Nats took on the Baltimore Orioles. The festive atmosphere featured a pre-game concert from Andrew Weiss and Friends playing a set inspired by the Dead’s iconic Cornell 1977 show.

The Grateful Dead tribute band was Andrew Weiss (guitar/lead vocal), Sam Popkin (guitar/backing vocal), Sara Barsky-Weiss (backing vocal), Joe Pess (drums), Adam Baine (bass), and Jesse Kessler (keys). They took the stage at 5 o’clock. They then launched into a one-hour set opening with Casey Jones and got their new friends dancing in the stadium with a rendition of fan favorites, Dancing in the Street, The Music Never Stopped, and China Cat Sunflower among other Dead classics. They went on to highlight “St. Stephen,” “Morning Dew,” and finished with an encore of “Franklin’s Tower.”

“We’re so excited to be back because the Dead fans are just the best. They really welcomed us with open arms last year,” said Barsky-Weiss, “We felt the love in the air”

Watch The Grateful Dead perform “Franklin’s Tower” live in New York City in 1980 via YouTube:

Thirty-year-old Andrew Weiss, who jokingly noted he wasn’t at the legendary 1977 Cornell show since he was not yet born, said “We changed our setlist up almost completely from last year. In honor of the anniversary of the Cornell show, we’re playing most of that second set.”

As in past years, there was a special Grateful Dead giveaway item for fans who purchased the early-entry concert tickets. Many of the Deadhead faithful were decked out in tie-dye shirts and apparel from previous Nationals Park Dead nights.

After the encore, the band kicked off the game with Weiss, Barsky-Weiss, and Baine singing the National Anthem to the over 34,000 fans in attendance. The good vibes continued into the baseball game itself, with the Nationals and Orioles playing a back-and-forth thriller. After the Nats won the series opener 3-0 the previous night, the O’s pulled out a 7-6 victory in 12 innings to even the Beltway series at 1-1.

Andrew Weiss and Friends will be playing at Long Island’s Great South Bay Festival on the same bill as Dark Star Orchestra on July 20. Check out their website for information on that and other gigs. With the combination of great music, fun giveaways, and an exciting ballgame, it was another memorable Grateful Dead Night in the nation’s capital.

Certain aspects of the research and/or drafting for this piece may have employed AI.

Setlist provided by the band:

Casey Jones
Dancing in the Street
The Music Never Stopped
China Cat Sunflower
Brown Eyed Woman
Ramble on Rose
Good Lovin’
St. Stephen
Not Fade Away
St. Stephen
Morning Dew
One More Saturday Night
Sunshine Daydream

Franklin’s Tower

Here are some photos of The Grateful Dead night at Nationals Park on May 8, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Mark Raker.

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