Fare Thee Well? Dead Publicist Refutes Report Of Fall Tour
By Casey Moffitt in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 24, 2015 8:00PM
Billboard Magazine dropped a bomb this morning with a report that the Grateful Dead are planning more shows after the Soldier Field concerts this summer, which are advertised to be the band's last—but it has since been refuted by the band's publicist.
If you haven't heard, the surviving members of the Dead are planning five Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead concerts. They will perform at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. June 27 and 28, as well as Soldier Field July 3-5. The shows reunite the surviving members of the Dead: Mickey Hart, Bob Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.
However, Billboard is reporting they have talked to multiple sources who say a fall tour of the band members with John Mayer is in the works and will begin in October.
Jon Bleicher, Grateful Dead publicist, flatly denied the report in a phone conversation with Chicagoist.
"I can say with definity that the Chicago shows will be the last with the 'Core Four' members and they are not planning anything else," Bleicher said. "The Billboard article seems to imply that one or a few of the members may be rehearsing with John Mayer, but I haven't heard anything about that."
Bleicher is correct. The article itself states Mayer has "already begun to jam in a rehearsal-like setting with select members of the group, chief among them Weir." Nowhere in the article does it state all four surviving Dead members have rehearsed with Mayer.
Is it just a presumptuous leap that the rest will join, or is it possible that Mayer and Weir are planning a tour together? To us, it seems the latter is more plausible than the former.
The Dead have a lot riding on these shows. After tickets sold out, there have been subsequent announcements that movie theaters across the nation will screen the Soldier Field concerts live, and that pay-per-view packages will be available for people to see the shows live at home. Fans do not yet have the ability to purchase from these alternative outlets, so it seems a leak like this story would be highly detrimental to these revenue sources. It would be rather reckless and irresponsible for this information to be forwarded to a reporter for Billboard Magazine.
If it is true, then it would be vicious slap in the face to fans of the band, which has built its reputation as being respectful of its devoted followers.
The Grateful Dead could fall back on the old "by popular demand" excuse to hit the road again. Billboard estimates the band could sell another 6 million seats. But it sure would be a sleazy and terrible blow to those who have bought tickets (at great expense) to see the shows this summer.