Grateful Dead To Reunite, Play Three 'Farewell Shows' At Soldier Field

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 16, 2015 3:35PM

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Deadheads and jam band aficionados will "furthur" descend on Chicago during Independence Day weekend after the remaining living, original members of the Grateful Dead announced they would reunite for a series of three "farewell" concerts at Soldier Field. The shows, dubbed "Fare Thee Well," will take place July 3-5.

The concerts coincide with the 20th anniversary of Dead bandleader Jerry Garcia's final performance with the group at Soldier Field on July 9, 1995.

Garcia, who long battled drug addiction, diabetes, sleep apnea and weight gain, died of a heart attack August 9, 1995 at a rehab clinic.

Joining Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann will be Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist and one-time Dead member Bruce Hornsby and Furthur/RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. Peter Shapiro, who's helping to produce the shows, confirmed the band is holding the shows in Chicago because that's where the long strange trip ended 20 years ago. "They're the great American rock'n'roll band returning to where it ended, 20 years later."

Weir told Billboard there was pressure to do a festival-style farewell tour but that ultimately the "core four" wanted to "go back to our classic mode of an evening with the band."

"We narrowed it down to: Let's just do it simple and clean," Weir added. Anastasio said he didn't have to think twice about joining the Dead for this concert.

"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 tells Billboard. "I didn't hesitate for a second to say yes. It's an absolute honor to be part of this final chapter."

Tickets to the shows will go on sale to Grateful Dead Fan Club members on a first-come, first-served basis Feb.9-11. That will be followed by a presale Feb. 12-13 before tickets go on sale to the general public Feb. 14. The move could prove to be a financial windfall for the band as treating the shows as a "destination" event allows promoters to charge more money for tickets and the Dead, who hasn't toured together in some time, isn't overexposed over the course of a summer shed schedule.

Jerry Garcia's daughter Trixie will officially announce the shows on Dead50.net today.