The Dead's last ever shows will be available online for a fee.
To celebrate their last ever live shows, The Grateful Dead have announced that their concerts at Soldier Field in Chicago – dubbed ‘Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead’ - are to be broadcast live around the world.
In January this year, the four remaining members of the ‘60s legends – Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir – announced that they’ll be playing the three final shows at the home of the Chicago Bears, in front of 70,000 ‘Deadheads’, as the group’s fans call themselves.
The Grateful Dead will be making their final shows available through online streams and cinemas in the U.S.
Two warm-up shows in Santa Clara, California took place last weekend, the first of which grabbed headlines after a perfectly formed rainbow appeared directly over the stadium during a 17-minute rendition of ‘Viola Lee Blues’ – though there’s absolutely no proof, some fans believed that the band had spent an astronomical sum of money projecting it artificially into the sky.
The choice of venue for the absolutely last shows in the band’s fifty year history is iconic in Deadhead folklore, as Soldier Field was the last ever place that the group performed with original lead singer Jerry Garcia in 1995, who died of a heart attack in August that year.
In the US, fans will be able to access the webcast of the Dead’s July 3rd, 4th and 5th shows on YouTube for $29.95, while in Britain, the last of these shows will be broadcast to 250 cinemas nationwide on Monday July 6th.
“The fans all knew the 50th anniversary was coming. The fans wanted something. It was the right thing to do and that this was the right way to do it,” said the tour’s promoter Peter Shapiro. Asked about the Dead’s lasting appeal that has seen them attract new fans for five decades, he said: “You know why? This style. It's the great American songbook. These are the songs people grew up with.”
The shows will be made possible with the temporary additions of keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and Phish’s lead singer Trey Anastasio.