Fifty years after their formation, and twenty years after the death of beloved frontman Jerry Garcia, the four living members of the Grateful Dead are set to reunite for three 50th-anniversary shows July 3-5 at Soldier Field in Chicago.
They will be joined by Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Bruce Hornsby, a frequent player with the Dead during the ’80s and into the ’90s, and Jeff Chimenti, who plays keys with Weir’s side project, RatDog.
And to those wondering why the quintessential Bay Area band won’t wrap their legacy in California, it’s worth noting that the Dead’s last performance with Jerry Garcia, who died in August 1995, was at the same 55,000-seat capacity venue on July 9, 1995. The “core four,” are Bob Weir, 67; Phil Lesh, 74; Mickey Hart, 71; and Bill Kreutzmann, 68. “These will be the last shows with the four of us together,” Weir told Billboard.
The Phish frontman says that accepting the invitation was a no-brainer. “I got a really heart-warming letter from Phil saying that he and the other three guys had talked about it and hoped I would do it,” Anastasio told Billboard. “I didn’t hesitate for a second to say yes. It’s an absolute honor to be part of this final chapter.”
In the tradition of the original Grateful Dead Ticketing Service, tickets for the shows — named Fare Thee Well for a lyric in the Garcia/Robert Hunter song “Brokedown Palace” — will be available to fan club members on a first-come, first-served basis from Feb. 9 to 11. A local public pre-sale will occur Feb. 12-13; a general public on-sale starts Feb. 14. Jerry Garcia’s daughter Trixie Garcia officially announced the shows on Dead50.net.
Lesh said, “It is with respect and gratitude that we reconvene the Dead one last time to celebrate – not merely the band’s legacy, but also the community that we’ve been playing to, and with, for fifty years.”
“I have a feeling this will come out just right,” offered Mickey Hart. “Can’t wait to find out HERE WE GO!”