Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Reunion

By Louie Wieseman

The Grateful Dead announced that they will be reuniting with the core-four members; Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreitzmann, to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They will play three shows at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, the site of their last shows in 1995 before Jerry Garcia passed away on July 9th, 1995.

They will be joined by Jeff Chimenti of post-Dead, Ratdog, Further, Grateful Dead unofficial member Bruce Hornsby, and lead guitarist and singer of Phish, Trey Anastasio. “These will be the last shows with the four of us together,” Weir told Billboard. “That’s why we’re doing it in Chicago,” said Peter Shapiro, the band’s manager.

This is a huge deal for fans of the band (or Deadheads, for those who closely follow the group) and the rock music genre. The Grateful Dead are going to celebrate 50 years of music by giving a gift to their fans. The Grateful Dead are arguably one of the original bands to cumulate a ‘cult-like’ following and many poked fun at this ‘hippie-ish’ behavior. In the fans defense, the Dead were founded in the 1960s and had an early peak in the 70s and 80s, decades known for hippies and a feel-good era. They were also one of the first widely successful jam band groups. Though the Allman Brothers were also popular at the time, they didn’t have the cult following of the Dead.

Despite only having one successful radio hit, “Touch of Grey”, the band produced 13 major studio albums and 74 various studio albums, claimed a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and had a concert preserved in the Library of Congress’s National Registry. The Grateful Dead are known across the world for their concerts and shows.

While fans debate (sometimes viciously) whether or not Anastasio should take place of Jerry. Some see the new member as a chance to relive some old memories of following the band and listening to their favorite songs while for others Jerry Garcia’s absence is a deal breaker. Despite fan disputes, it will be a historic moment for the core-four to reunite, along with other talented artists.