Kreutzmann Delivered a Stellar Performance at Pier 6, along with a few new “Kids” and a Shout-Out to James Casey.

By  Dan Rozman with Photos by Mark Raker

Billy and the Kids Delivered a Stellar Performance at Pier 6, With a few new “Kids” and a Shout-Out to James Casey.

Legendary Grateful Dead drummer Billy Kreutzmann brought his band Billy and the Kids to Baltimore’s Pier Six Pavilion, one of their two “Dead On The Water” shows, treating fans to an energetic performance filled with Dead classics and more. Near-capacity crowds of Deadheads new and old packed the outdoor venue.

Billy and the Kids has enabled Kreutzmann to keep performing beloved Dead music in an intimate setting with fresh young musicians for over two decades. The project was formed after the Bill Kreutzmann trio which operated in 2008 and consisted of guitarist Scott Murawski (Max Creek) and bassist Oteil Burbridge (the Allman Brothers Band and now Dead and Company). Billy & the Kids started in 2014 at the Lock’n festival and eventually morphed into ensembles with varying lineups over the years, all revolving around the Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann.

Billy and the Kids delivered a stellar performance at Pier 6 in Baltimore on August 16, 2023. The weather was perfect, the venue was beautiful, and the band was on point.

The lineup at Pier Six featured Billy Kreutzmann on drums, Reed Mathis on bass, Jeff Franca on drums, Tom Hamilton on guitar, Daniel Donato on guitar, Aron Magner on keys, and Kanika Moore on vocals. They showcased a few new “kids”, who quickly gelled and delivered a cohesive and energetic performance. Staying true to their name, Billy and the Kids keep the Dead’s spirit alive through high-energy shows focused on classics in jazz, blues, folk, and rock styles.

The perfect weather set the stage for a triumphant performance. The setlist was a mix of Grateful Dead classics and hits from The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Patti Smith Group, and more. The first set opened with “Bertha” and “Touch of Grey,” two of the Dead’s most well-known songs. The band then slowed things down with “Beat It On Down the Line” and “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.” The first set ended with a rousing version of “Help on the Way” > “The Wheel.”

The second set was even more epic, starting with a long, exploratory jam in “Drums” > “Space.” The band then segued into a cover of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which segued into a beautiful rendition of “Terrapin Station.” The second set also featured a smoking hot version of “Foolish Heart” > “Scarlet Begonias,” followed by a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman” and the Dead’s classic “Deal.”

The Encore of “Ship Of Fools”, and Moore’s singing “Because The Night” was a great way to end the night spent under the stars.

From the video channel of ClearBlueWater

The band sounded incredible all night long. Billy Kreutzmann was in top form on drums, and he was clearly having a blast. Reed Mathis, Jeff Franca, and Tom Hamilton provided a solid foundation for the band to soar, and Aron Magner, Daniel Donato, and Kanika Moore added their own unique flavors to the mix.

The hard work of both the sound and light crews was evident throughout the show. During “Bertha,” there were some issues with the vocal sound, however, the crew quickly fixed the issue, and the rest of the show went off without a hitch.

One of the unique things about Pier 6 is that the light show can extend beyond the stage to include the underside of the pavilion tent. The light show from San Francisco-based Mad Alchemy made for a truly immersive experience. 

In addition to the great music and lights, the band also took a moment to give a shout-out to James Casey, “a long-time kid” and member of the Trey Anastasio Band who has been battling cancer. Casey was watching the concert from home. During a Nugs interview that aired during the set break, Kreutzmann also mentioned that there are fundraisers for both Casey and the Maui Strong Foundation. Billy asked for support for both causes. It was a touching moment, and it showed the band’s compassion and generosity. It was also a reminder that music can be a powerful force for good, and can bring people together in times of need.

The incredible lighting, communal vibe, and setlist spanning early Dead funk to later spacey jams, and more showed why Billy and the Kids connect generations of Deadheads. Overall, it was an unforgettable night of music and community.

Editor’s Note: As of the time of this publication, news of the passing of James Casey has been announced. We would like to express our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

SETLIST:

Bertha (Grateful Dead cover) (Tom Hamilton vocals)
Touch of Grey (Grateful Dead cover) (Kanika Moore vocals)
Beat It on Down the Line (Jesse Fuller cover) (Daniel Donato vocals)
That’s What Love Will Make You Do (Little Milton cover) (Kanika Moore vocals)
Help on the Way (Grateful Dead cover) (Tom Hamilton vocals) (>)
Slipknot! (Grateful Dead cover) (>)
The Wheel (Jerry Garcia cover) (Daniel Donato vocals)
They Love Each Other (Jerry Garcia cover) (Kanika Moore vocals)
Shakedown Street (Grateful Dead cover) (with Kanika Moore) (Tom Hamilton vocals)

Set 2:
Drums (>)
Space) (>)
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (The Beatles cover) (Daniel Donato vocals) (>)
Terrapin Station (Grateful Dead cover) (Tom Hamilton vocals)
Foolish Heart (Grateful Dead cover) (Tom Hamilton vocals) (>)
Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead cover) (Kanika Moore vocals)
Boogie On Reggae Woman (Stevie Wonder cover) (Kanika Moore vocals)
Deal (Jerry Garcia cover) (Tom Hamilton and Daniel Donato vocals)

Encore:
Ship of Fools (Grateful Dead cover) (preceded by band… more )
Because the Night (Patti Smith Group cover) (Kanika Moore vocals)

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