The Grateful Dead has led an impressive and incredible musical journey since their reign began back in 1965. Fifty years later, their days of performing unique improvisational music came to an end. The band reconvened one last time (with the addition of Phish’s lead singer Trey Anastasio) to celebrate not only the band’s legacy, but the community that has formed around the Grateful Dead, who lived and died by their music.
Trey Anastasio perfectly summed up the Grateful Dead’s musical legacy when he said, “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. 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?”
Tickets to see their weekend long show sold out in under 5 seconds, and were selling for over 1k online. Over 220 fake tickets were seized over the weekend, but many still got their “miracle ticket” thanks to an amazing event staff. The band played on Sunday night at Chicago’s Soldier Field as part of their “Thee Well, A Tribute To The Grateful Dead” tour, and the stadium said 71,000 tickets were sold for the show, the Associated Press reports—more than any other event held at the stadium. The entire city of Chicago was a buzz with excitement of the 3-day show, even creating a Snapchat filter and Grateful Dead pizza boxes. Farewell Thee was celebrated all over the world; while the Dead were jamming in Chicago, the Empire State building was celebrating the Dead and America in NYC by synchronizing to the Dead’s performance of “U.S. Blues”.
The Grateful Dead has been a part of my life since before I even knew what music was, as my nickname is “love child” around my house. I was blessed with a free-spirit family who knows good music, and who taught me the same. Although I did not have the opportunity to see the Grateful Dead, I celebrated the end of their era from right here in Knoxville, Tennessee. Although their days of performing are over, their music will live on forever.
The performance ended with a memorable and endearing close. “The feeling we have here — remember it, take it home and do some good with it,” Mr. Hart said in closing. “I’ll leave you with this: Please, be kind.”