Grateful Dead is to throw its last concert 'Fare Thee Well' in Chicago this weekend. The lead guitarist of the band Jerry Garcia died in 1995 from years of drug abuse and a final heart attack. The surviving four members say they will end The Grateful Dead's 50-year 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. Ranging from quintet to septet, the band pioneered a unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock. 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.
Pat Sullivan, 60, an Indiana university professor, has followed the band since he was a teen and will take his own son to all three Chicago shows.
For Cameli, 45, of Indiana, the band creates a sense of "profound togetherness" in its audience and is is anticipating the Chicago shows "like a five-year-old before Christmas."
Nina Zippay, 48, last weekend, went to a farewell concert in California, and said that when the Dead started playing the old favorite, "Uncle John's Band," she and her husband both started to cry.
"If this is really the end, it's a nice goodbye," Zippay said. ?CTV News