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Dead & Company Honors Gregg Allman In Sin City Tour Opener At The MGM Grand [Videos]

first_imgAfter months of anticipation, Dead & Company‘s 2017 tour is finally upon us! Last night, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti rolled into Las Vegas to kick off their 20-date summer run. The band came in hot in their first performance since 7/30/16 at Shoreline Amphitheatre, opening the show with classic cuts including “The Music Never Stopped,” “Dire Wolf,” and “Jack Straw,” each highlighted by poignantly beautiful guitar interplay by Mayer and Weir. You can watch pro-shot footage of the show’s first three songs (“The Music Never Stopped,” “Dire Wolf,” and “Jack Straw”) via nugs.tv, which the band streamed live on their Facebook page:Set one continued the string of jukebox Dead sing-alongs, including “Loser,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Brown Eyed Women,” and “Bird Song.” Set two kicked off with a joyous “Playin’ In The Band,” which eventually bled into “Deal,” sung with sly charisma by Mayer. A classic “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” pairing came next, and eventually dissipated into “Drums/Space,” giving Mickey and Billy their first crack of the year at their patented percussion odysseys. Out of the “Space” arose “The Other One,” as Bobby fearlessly led the band on vocals through the remainder of the set, including “Black Peter” and the obligatory “One More Saturday Night.”However, as we all know, yesterday wasn’t just another Saturday night. Earlier that evening, the music world received the devastating news that Gregg Allman, the leader of the iconic Allman Brothers Band and widely respected rock and roll elder statesman, had passed away. In a moving tribute to the fallen legend (and Burbridge’s former Allmans bandmate), Dead & Company delivered a delicate rendition of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” the Bob Dylan classic performed by the Allmans, the Dead, and just about everyone else. As the band played, images of Gregg were projected behind the stage, blending with visuals of fluffy white clouds to give Allman’s  an angelic aura. After the touching tribute, the band slipped back into a “Playin’ in the Band” reprise to cap an excellent tour opener. Watch fan-shot footage of the end of the encore tribute to Gregg Allman below, courtesy of YouTube user Nala ThaBoxer:SETLIST: Dead & Company | MGM Grand Garden Arena | Las Vegas, NV | 5/27/17Set 1: The Music Never Stopped, Dire Wolf, Jack Straw, Loser, Friend of the Devil, Brown Eyed Women, Bird SongSet 2: Playin’ In The Band > Deal, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > Drums > Space > The Other One > Black Peter, One More Saturday NightEncore: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door > Playin In The Band (Reprise)The band keeps playin’ on tonight as they make their way to Phoenix AZ for a performance at Ak-Chin Pavillion. From there, the band will play a pair of two-night runs in California, at Hollywood Bowl and Shoreline Amphitheatre, respectively. For a full list of upcoming Dead & Co shows, or to purchase tickets, head to the band’s website.Enjoy the full gallery below, courtesy of Erik Kabib[Cover photo via Instagram user @deadandgang]Dead & Company | MGM Grand | Las Vegas, NV | Photos by Erik Kabib Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Host and a broken dream: The journey of Ghana’s AFCON 2008 hopes and dreams

first_imgThe year was 2008 and Ghana was poised to secure their first African Cup of Nations trophy since 1982.The senior national team, Black Stars of Ghana were making their 16th appearance in the 26th edition of Africa’s biggest showpiece.The hype, the buzz and euphoria could be felt when someone even peeped through their window.Ghana was ready to host and win.The MTN Africa Cup of Nations as it was referred to due to its sponsorship is perhaps the most successfully organised as compared to the 2002 and 2006 editions.Everything, including the match ball, was special about 2008 AFCON.The ball called Wawa Aba or the seed of a Wawa tree, one of the strongest trees on the African continent.The design of the ball was shaped after that Adinkra symbol which happens to be the name of the ball – Wawa Aba. Though the Adinkra symbols are common to the Akan-speaking groups of Ghana, they are very popular and recognisable all across the country.The official match ball for 2008 AFCON – Wawa AbaGhana hosted 16 nations in four different cities –Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi and Tamale.The Black Stars of Ghana were placed in Group A together with Guinea, North African giants, Morocco and Namibia who were making their second appearance.Ghana was considered as one of the four favourites ahead of the tournament.The other big guns were Egypt, the defending champions from the 2006 edition;Cameroon. who had massive experience from the previous edition and the firepower of Samuel Eto’o in their fold; Nigeria who had the pace and skill of Peter Odemwingie and John Obi Mikel; and Cote d’Ivoire, who was in the headlines due to the plethora of stars they had. Leading them was Chelsea forward, Didier DrogbaHeaded by the vastly experienced Claude Le Roy, the Black Stars team was made up of Richard ‘Olele’ Kingson (Birmingham City), Sammy Adjie (FC Ashdod), and Fatau Dauda (Ashanti Gold) as the goalkeepers.Head coach of the Black Stars for 2008 AFCONHarrison Afful (Asante Kotoko), John Mensah (Stade Rennes), John Paintsil (West Ham), Hans Adu Sarpei (Bayern Leverkusen), and Shilla Illiasu (FK Saturn) the defenders called-up.The midfield department had the likes of Eric Addo (PSV Eindhoven), Anthony Annan (IK Start), Kwadwo Asamoah (Torino FC), Nana Asare (KV Mechelen), Ahmed Barusso (Galatasaray), Michael Essien (Chelsea), Haminu Dramani (Lokomotiv Moscow), Laryea Kingston (Hearts of Midlothian), Bernard Kumordzi (Panionios GSS) and Sulley Ali Muntari (Portsmouth FC).The Frenchman called-up five forwards as his attacking options for the tournament – Junior Agogo (Nottingham Forest), Andre Dede Ayew (Olympique Marseille), Asamoah Gyan (Udinese Calcio), Baffour Gyan (FK Saturn) and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (Celta Vigo)Opening day gloryOn 20th January 2008, Ghana faced Guinea at the Accra Sports Stadium in the first game of the tournament but there were no goals after the first 45 minutes and it was not down to a lack of effort.Junior Manuel Agogo, Michael Essien, and Sulley Muntari all hit the post with their attempts to leave Guinea still in the game at the end of the first half.About 5 minutes into the second half, Agogo was fouled just in the penalty area and Asamoah Gyan calmly beat the Guinean goalkeeper with the resulting penalty finding the roof of the net.10 minutes later, the Guineans were back in the game after Kalabane scored an equaliser to leave the home fans edgy but Muntari won the game for Ghana with a long-range shot in the 90th minute.A perfect 3 (wins against Namibia and Morocco)After taking care of Guinea, the Black Stars faced Namibia in their second group game but it was not the goal feast the fans expected. Ghana laboured all game and they got themselves a 1-0 win after Junior Agogo scored his first of the tournament after 41 minutes.Then came Morocco in the third group game. After some initial Moroccan pressure, Ghana settled and went into the lead in the 26th minute with well-worked routine.Muntari floated a free-kick into the box and Essien rushed onto the cross to finish first time into the net.The goal sparked the kangaroo dance (pictured below) which later became a feature of the country’s general elections in December of the same year.Ghanaian players celebrate their 2-0 victory over Morocco after their Group A 2008 African Nations Cup quarter-final football match 28 January 2008 in Accra. Ghana made its third opening-round win after Guinea (3-1) and Namibia (1-0) and it was received with raucous delight by the near-capacity crowd at the 45,000 seater Ohene Djan stadium. AFP PHOTO / ABDELHAK SENNA (Photo credit should read ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)Scorer and provider changed roles as Sulley Muntari scored Ghana’s second from an Essien pass.Asamoah Gyan, Essien, Junior Agogo and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie were all denied by the Moroccan goalkeeper to keep the scoreline at 2-0.The Black Stars topped Group A and that meant they had to face West African rivals, Nigeria in the quarter-finals at the Accra Sports Stadium on February 3, 2008.Uphill battle versus Nigeria in AccraThe Accra Sports Stadium was packed as the Black Stars of Ghana took on the Super Eagles of Nigeria in another instalment of their regional rivalry.The Super Eagles drew first blood as Yakubu Ayegbeni converted from the spot in the 35th minute and then, proceeded to do a parody of the kangaroo dance with his teammates.Ghana had to respond and they did through Chelsea star, Michael Essien.He rose highest to meet Owusu-Abeyie’s cross and his header went in off the two goalposts to leave Nigerian goalie, Austin Ejide dumbfounded.The goals may have punctuated the half in terms of tangibles but the midfield battle was the real story of the half and the toughness of the war was captured in a rather funny sequence where Ghana midfielder, Anthony Annan poked the eye of Nigeria’s John Mikel Obi on the referee’s blindside.The Nigerians were up for the game in the second half but Ghana goalie Richard ‘Olele’ Kingson was equal to their goal-bound strikes to keep Ghana in the game. He made two notable saves on the day: one from a long-range lob from Yakubu Aiyegbeni and another from a stinging Taye Taiwo free-kick. In the 2006 edition of the tournament, Taiwo scored a fizzing free-kick to beat 1-0 but Kingson was alive to stop an encore.A tough game was then made more complicated for Ghana as captain, John Mensah, was sent off by referee Mohammed Benouza as he brought down a Nigerian attacker when he was the last line of defence.Rather than kill Ghana off, it drove the Black Stars on and they found the winner in the 83rd-minute courtesy Junior Manuel Agogo.He poked home at the back post after he was found by a Sulley Muntari pass. The goal drew mad celebrations all over the country and it was perhaps, Agogo’s greatest moment in his Black Stars career.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alastair Grant/AP/Shutterstock (7075415a)Manuel Agogo, Austine Amamchukwu Ejide Ghana’s Junior Agogo, centre celebrates after scoring a goal past Nigeria’s keeper Austine Amamchukwu Ejide during their African Cup of Nations quarter-final soccer match in Accra, Ghana, Sunday Feb.3, 2008. Ghana won the match 2-1GHANA SOCCER AFRICAN CUP, ACCRA, Ghana Broken dreams and a patched Black StarsNigeria was now out but Cameroon stood in Ghana’s way if the tournament would be won on home soil. The Indomitable Lions had presence and experience and the needed personnel for the job and they showed these traits all through the game.Ghana was nervous and their situation was not helped by the fact Michael Essien’s drive in the midfield was lost since he was moved into the backline to replace the suspended John Mensah.Cameroon kept finding good attacking passes and they got rewarded as a good passing sequence, which probably could have been dealt with had Essien been in midfield, freed substitute, Alain N’kong and he perfectly finished off a Samuel Eto’o pass to end Ghana’s “host-and-win” dreams.Redemption timeThe loss to Cameroon meant the Black Stars had to face Ivory Coast in the 3rd/4th place game.The Ivorians were trounced 4-1 by Egypt in the other semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations 2008.The Black Stars played for pride and managed to walk away with the bronze medal after a thrilling 4-2 tie at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.Sulley Muntari grabbed his 3rd goal of the competition through a powerful free-kick but Boubacar Sanogo scored twice to give the Ivorians a 2-1 lead going into the second half of the game.Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Junior Agogo, Haminu Dramani got goals for Ghana in the second half to give the home fans something to cheer despite missing out on the ultimate.Ghana team players including Eric Addo (foreground) celebrate after scoring the fourth goal against Ivory Coast during the 2008 African Cup of Nations third and fourth places final match between Ghana and Ivory Coast at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi. Ghana won 4-2. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images)last_img read more