.Music: Dead again

Grateful Dead will reunite for one last time

by Greg Cahill

The fireworks don’t get much brighter in the rock world.

The four surviving members of the Grateful Dead—Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann—announced last week that they will reunite for three shows between July 3-5 to celebrate the Marin-based band’s 50th anniversary. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio will stand in for the late Jerry Garcia.

The concerts will take place at Soldier Field in Chicago, the setting for the band’s last performance with Garcia.

According to Rolling Stone, the original Grateful Dead Ticketing Service will have first crack at tickets for the three concerts, with a general public on sale through Ticketmaster starting Saturday, Feb. 14.

And the Marin-based band that rose to celebrity in the 1960s is celebrating several anniversaries in 2015.

“Jerry Garcia was a great American master and the Grateful Dead are not just a genuine piece of musical history, but also an important part of American history,” Anastasio told Rolling Stone. “This is a band, born right at the beginning of electric rock, that took the American tradition and moved it forward. They really embodied the American concept of freedom, rolling around the country with a ginormous gang of people and the mindset that ‘you can come if you want, you can leave if you want. We don’t know what’s going to happen. All we know is we’re not looking back.’

“What could be more American?”

The band also will be joined by pianist Bruce Hornsby (who toured with the Dead in 1992) and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, Rolling Stone reported.

“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 50 years,” Lesh wrote in a statement. “Wave that flag, wave it wide and high …”

Lesh and his wife, Jill, own and operate Terrapin Crossroads, a popular restaurant and nightclub in San Rafael.

This year also marks other key milestones in the band’s history. May 5 is the 50th anniversary of the inaugural public performance by the Dead’s predecessor Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions at Magee’s Pizza in Menlo Park; on Dec. 4, 1965, the band, renamed the Grateful Dead, played one of Ken Kesey’s first Acid Tests.
This year also brings the 20th anniversary of the death of Dead guitarist, singer and songwriter Jerry Garciaat age 53 of a heart attack at a rehab clinic in Forest Knolls. Bob Dylan, who toured and recorded with the band, attended his funeral at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. His death signaled the official end of the Dead as a performing band.

“Lookin’ forward to this one, oh boy, you bet,” commented Weir, who owns the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley and operates TRI Studios in San Rafael. “Let’s see just how much fun we can have this Fourth of July.”

Knock Greg dead at [email protected].

Pacific Sun
The Pacific Sun publishes every Wednesday, delivering 21,000 copies to 520 locations throughout Marin County.


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