Grateful Dead to bid faithful 'Fare Thee Well' in California
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The four surviving members of the Grateful Dead are launching their farewell mini-tour on Saturday in Northern California, where the legendary jam band got its start 50 years ago.
The first of the Dead's five "Fare Thee Well" shows is scheduled to take place at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, not far from the pizzeria where a five-man blues-rock band called The Warlocks played its first gig in May 1965. The group changed its name to the Grateful Dead seven months later and shortly after moved to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the counterculture hub with which the Dead still are identified.
They will perform a second two-set show in Santa Clara on Sunday before heading to Chicago for three shows at Soldier Field on July 3, 4 and 5. Soldier Field is where the Grateful Dead last played as a group before the death of lead guitarist-songwriter Jerry Garcia in August 1995.
The band's so-called "core four" rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and percussionists Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann insist July 5 will be their last concert together. They have recruited Phish front man Trey Anastasio as Garcia's stand-in on guitar and vocals. Keyboardists Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti, best known for his work with Weir's band RatDog, will round out the lineup.
Although the Dead are known almost as much for their legions of die-hard tie-died fans as they are for their extended onstage improvisations, Deadheads won't have much space to make themselves at home at Levi's Stadium, the year-old home of the San Francisco 49ers.
The parking lots where tailgating will be allowed open at 3 p.m., and they will have to be emptied after the show ends.
The Grateful Dead made 65,000 tickets available for each of the California shows. Online ticket reseller StubHub said that as of Friday the average ticket had gone for $171, although sellers had posted asking prices as high as $725.
The Chicago shows, which were announced first and are opening over a holiday weekend, are fetching higher prices, $674 on average, StubHub spokeswoman Jessica Erskine said.