John Mayer on Helping Create Dead & Company’s Awe-Inspiring Show at the Las Vegas Sphere

John Mayer of Dead & Company is shown during the group's opening night at the Sphere on May 16, 2024, in Las Vegas
John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Dead & Company is one of the very first bands that have gotten the chance to create an amazing show at the new Las Vegas Sphere. It isn’t just a concert venue but a new way to experience music. Now John Mayer, part of the band that was formed with former Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart and Bob Weir, is opening up about creating the show and seeing fan’s reactions to the residency.

Mayer admitted that he saw some of the U2 shows and was blown away. When thinking about Grateful Dead and their legacy, their shows often had amazing visuals and focused on using light to really make people feel the music. He said that after talking with the band, he became the point person between them and the Sphere to truly get things rolling and create the show.

Greatful Dead logo on Las Vegas Sphere

Karen Ruud

They used some of the member’s memories to make things happen in the show. For instance, Mayer said, “What was really great was that Bob and Mickey would give really specific notes based on their experience. So, if we’re gonna play in Egypt like the Grateful Dead did in 1978, well, Bob got to see the mockup of that and it really took him back to 1978. In the Sphere studios in Burbank looking at some really early test stuff, it brought back all of these memories that he had of playing Egypt. And we took those notes, and they’re in there. There’s bats flying around in the beginning of that Egypt sequence, because Bob remembers there were bats everywhere! So, that level of granularity — it’s what I love in world-building. And the fact that it’s true to Bob and Mickey’s memories and experiences is really cool.”

Late Show with David Letterman John Mayer, (Season 22, aired April 17, 2015)

Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS/Everett Collection

Another fun part of the show is a scene that looks like you’re in an old auditorium and gives the feel of an old college campus where the Grateful Dead would have once played. Mayer called it “incredible as an illusion” which can describe most of the show.

Festival Express The Grateful Dead, 2003

ThinkFilm/Everett Collection

He added, “And it’s really nice that there’s something half-practical, half-artificial about the Sphere, but your brain can’t figure out which is which. In a day like today where everyone is trying to pick out what’s fake, you look at it and your eyes believe it and your heart believes it. And, without getting too artsy about it, that’s what I love the most, is that grown adults are having childlike, wondrous experiences at this show.”

Mayer hopes that whether you are a longtime, diehard Grateful Dead fan or a newer Dead & Company fan that you will enjoy the effects, the music and the entire experience. They are currently playing at the Sphere in Las Vegas until August 10, 2024. Get tickets here. If you’ve seen the show, comment and let us know your experience!

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