Expert Pitch: Grateful Dead to Perform Final Shows for 50th Anniversary

Rob Weiner is a pop culture expert and has authored several books about the band.

Pitch

The Grateful Dead will perform its “Fare Thee Well” shows this summer in celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary. Remaining members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart will reunite for the final time for two shows at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on June 27-28 and three shows at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 3-5. All five shows, which sold out within an hour, will be visually broadcast-streamed online.

In addition, the band’s merchandising recently announced “Thirty Trips Around the Sun,” a 50th anniversary box set of 80 CDs with 30 complete, previously unissued shows, one from each year of the Grateful Dead’s touring career.

Rob Weiner, librarian at Texas Tech University, has written several works on The Grateful Dead. His projects include an article in the magazine Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead, pieces in the books “If the Head Fits Wear It: Contemporary Art and the Grateful Dead” and “Studying the Dead,” as well as three books on the band: “The Grateful Dead and the Deadheads: An Annotated Bibliography,” “Perspectives on the Grateful Dead: Critical Writings” and “The Storyteller Speaks: Rare and Different Fictions of the Grateful Dead.” Additionally, Weiner founded the Grateful Dead area at the Southwestern Popular Culture Association in 1988.

Expert

Rob Weiner, librarian and pop culture expert, Texas Tech University Library, (806) 834-5126 or rob.weiner@ttu.edu

Quotes

  • “There are only five shows and that’s it. While the former members will probably continue to perform on their own, this is the last time the core four will perform together. It is the hottest ticket on the planet right now. They were being offered on StubHub at one time for $100,000.”
  • “It’s a celebration of 50 years of Grateful Dead music. They’re doing this for the fans. They only added the two extra shows in California because the demand was so high. They don’t need to tour; they’re all nearly in their 70s, and they really don’t owe anything to anybody, so the fact that they’re doing these concerts says a lot.”
  • “At 80 discs, this is a box set that covers every single year of the band’s existence. From 1966 to 1995 we have recordings every single year, which blows your mind. The Dead played something like 500 different songs in their 30-year history. And no two songs were ever played the same way. It’s unparalleled.”
  • “The Grateful Dead were the biggest American rock band in the history of popular culture, and that’s not a false statement. The Grateful Dead are an American institution.”
  • “There’s certainly something fundamentally American that is the Grateful Dead. The Dead exemplifies the American experience. There’s no greater band that represents America than the Grateful Dead.”
  • “The Grateful Dead’s actual music comes straight from America’s heartland as well. Everything about it is America at its finest: blues, folk, traditional ballads, pop ballads, classic rock n’ roll, jazz, avant-garde classical, country and everything in between including their original material. Their lyrics tell stories about characters that are as American as apple pie and baseball.”

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