"Now we've arrived at this point. Who thought we'd ever get this far? I like to think of it as a crossroads rather than an ending. I know everybody here is gonna walk out of here and move on with their lives in different directions. And hopefully, as I am, be energized from all the love we've seen here in these shows. God Bless you." ~ Phil Lesh
The Grateful Dead have released a complete soundboard recording of their final Fare Thee Well performance from July 5, 2015. Above, you can stream that night's magical performance.
Celebrating 50 years of the Grateful Dead, the band announced that three 4th of July weekend concerts in Chicago would be their last as a band, 20 years after Jerry Garcia's death and what everyone had previously thought would go down in history as the band's last shows.
The lineup for these Fare Thee Well concerts included original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzmann with longtime on-and-off drummer Mickey Hart, Bruce Hornsby, and a couple of familiar faces who became first-time official members: Trey Anastasio of Phish (who was a member of Phil Lesh's original "Friends" lineup in 1999), and Jeff Chimenti, who's become the go-to keyboardist for Dead-related projects Ratdog, Furthur, and now Dead & Company.
Coming out of the gate with high a energy version of "China Cat Sunflower" into "I Know You Rider," the band slow it down for a relaxing "Estimated Prophet." Keyboardist Bruce Hornsby sounds like a natural fit as he commands the vocal duties for the 1989 track "Built to Last." An exciting and drum heavy version of "Samson And Delilah" gives way to a trippy "Mountains Of The Moon" with bassist Phil Lesh giving a warm vocal delivery. Closing out the first set was the Bob Weir-led political track "Throwing Stones."
With fireworks blasting off in the background, the Grateful Dead kicked off the second set with four well-known cuts: "Truckin'," "Cassidy," "Althea," and a nearly 15 minute version of "Terrapin Station." Drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, also known as the "Rhythm Devils," take the audience on a sonic journey with "Drums" into "Space," before the rest of the band get back into the music with "Unbroken Chain," featuring sublime keyboard playing from Chimenti and Hornsby.
A grand version of "Days Between" follows, perhaps a subtle nod to the band's former member, Jerry Garcia (who was born August 1, 1942 and passed away on August 9, 1995). The vibe lightens up a bit as a rollicking version of "Not Fade Away" lifts up fans' spirits, who can be heard clapping and singing the song's chorus midway through as the band wrapped up their second set.
Treating fans with a two encore set, the Grateful Dead launched into their biggest commercial hit, 1987's "Touch of Grey" with its reassuring lyrics "We will get by / We will survive" followed by a somber version of Robert Hunter's penned classic, "Attics Of My Life."
In addition to the audio, the band has shared official Fare Thee Well online videos of "Shakedown Street," "Not Fade Away," "China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider," "Truckin'" and "West L.A. Fadeaway," which you can watch for free here on Zumic.
You can get Fare Thee Well: July 5, 2015 on the Grateful Dead official website.
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