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Grateful Dead bid farewell to Deadheads with 50th anniversary gigs

June 27, 2015 - UNITED STATES

The four surviving members of the Grateful Dead will reunite for concerts in California, Jun 27-28, and Illinois, Jul 3-5, to celebrate both the 50 years since the band exploded onto the rock and roll scene and the 20th anniversary of their last reunion.

The Jul 1995 performance was their last with Jerry Garcia, who died the following month, so the Chicago, Illinois, concert is billed as a tribute to the band's legendary guitarist.

The surviving original members, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, will be joined by Jeff Chimenti of RatDog and Furthur, Bruce Hornsby - who was an unofficial touring member of the band in the early 90s - and Trey Anastasio of Phish.

The Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Grateful Dead in 1994 describing the band as among the most groundbreaking acts in rock and roll history. Fronted by Garcia, whose status as a legend rests in part on his "improvisational tangents," they broke all the rules. The citation also notes that they performed their signature composition, Dark Star, more than 200 times and never the same way twice, "with Garcia's modal guitar spearheading their explorations into uncharted territory."

Timothy Leary, the American writer, psychologist and campaigner for psychedelic drug research and use in the 1960s, called the Dead "the finest and largest disorganized religion in the world."

The band appeared on Forbes' list of top-grossing entertainers and for a few years in the early 90s they were the highest-grossing concert attraction in the United States.

The band members dispersed to other bands after Garcia's death, coming together again only for the farewell of 1995 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Grateful Dead biography (Rock Hall of Fame)

Grateful Dead biography (Rolling Stone)

Grateful Dead Adding Two More Bay Area Datesto Farewell Tour (NBC 10 Apr 2015)

Date written/update: 2015-06-03