Grateful Dead begin final set of shows after 50-year run

The Grateful Dead performs the first of their last three concerts in their ‘Fare Thee Well’ tour in Chicago, ending a 50-year run for the legendary rock band from California

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES (JULY 3, 2015) (LIVE ALLIANCE) – It was a bittersweet moment for Grateful Dead fans as the group performed the first of their final three concerts in Chicago on Friday (July 3), capping a 50-year run for the group that started that started in 1965 in California.

The band took to the stage playing what have become old standards for their faithful, like ‘Box of Rain’ and ‘Jack Straw.’

After the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995, the surviving four members decided they would end the Grateful Dead’s run this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the city where Garcia played his last show as frontman 20 years ago.

All three shows at the 61,500-seat Soldier Field stadium have sold out and tickets on the secondary market are selling for an average of $600 each, said Cameron Papp, a spokesman for StubHub.

Known for their poetic lyrics, marathon shows and constant improvisation, the Grateful Dead emerged from the San Francisco Bay area in the mid 1960s to become one of the most legendary bands of the era. The band is the template for groups such as Phish, Blues Traveler and others in the “jam band” movement.

Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio will fill in for Garcia at the Chicago shows. He will be joined by original members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman who have toured, along with other musicians and under various names, for years.