As expected, the Grateful Dead have added two Northern California stadium shows to their Fare Thee Well string of concerts. The two shows, to be held on June 27th and 28th at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, precede the final three shows already on the books for the following month at Chicago’s Soldier’s field. In addition to surviving Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart, joining the band for the Fare Thee Well shows will be Phish’s Trey Anastasio, early-’90s Grateful Dead pianist Bruce Hornsby, and RatDog, Furthur, and Dead keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
The band posted an open letter on its official tour site http://www.dead50.net, which reads in part:
“Since we made the decision to go back to Chicago to say our final goodbye, it has become clear to us that we first need to return to our beginnings, where we first said hello — to each other and to all of you. . .
From the moment these shows were first talked about, we have been thinking about what we could do to honor the roots of our Deadhead experience, even in the face of changing technologies. (Remember: Ticketmaster didn’t even go online until we got out of the game.) These shows were always intended as an expression of our gratitude, to both the music and the fans, so it’s important that we get things as right as we can. . .
We have always been proud of our in-house mail order ticketing process, and the phenomenal way our fans have built a tradition out of turning a standard envelope into a frame-worthy piece of art. Some 60,000 mail order tickets were issued for the Soldier Field shows by the good folks at Grateful Dead Ticket Sales — yet we were still crushed to see how many of your beautifully designed envelopes did not get tickets. . .
For shows of this magnitude, it’s impossible to eliminate every scalper. However, we offer you this: Working with our partners, we are using an online ticketing platform for the Levi’s shows that will help ensure that the tickets for these shows will get into the right hands, the hands of our true fans. We believe that this process is the best way to give each of you an equal opportunity to obtain tickets at the most affordable possible prices. We are proud to announce that 65,000 tickets per night will be available via the ‘online mail order’ for the Levi’s shows. For the nuts and bolts, go to Dead50.net. . .
We will not be adding any more Fare Thee Well shows. The three Chicago shows will still be our final stand. We decided to add these two Santa Clara shows to enable more of our fans to celebrate with us one more time. But this is it.”
UPDATED: The Grateful Dead tour dates (subject to change):
June 27 – Santa Clara, CA – Levi’s Stadium
June 28 – Santa Clara, CA – Levi’s Stadium
July 3 – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field
July 4 – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field
July 5 – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field
IN OTHER GRATEFUL DEAD NEWS
Phil Lesh & Friends will pay tribute to the Grateful Dead’s 1973 and 1974 material at his San Rafael, California club, Terrapin Crossroads. Jambase.com reported that the gigs will be played in honor of the Dead’s 50th anniversary, with the 1973 tribute show taking place on April 27th and the 1974 show the following night (April 28th). Joining Lesh will be guitarists Stu Allen and Rob Eaton, keyboardist Rob Barraco, vocalist Eliot Peck and drummer Ezra Lipp.
The Dead’s two albums — 1973’s Wake Of The Flood and 1974’s From The Mars Hotel — featured the first official studio work by the group’s then-latest members, vocalist Donna Godchaux and her husband pianist Keith Godchaux.
During a recent chat at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Donna Godchaux recalled she and her late husband first connecting with the great Jerry Garcia: “Garcia’s band was playing at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco. When Jerry came off the stage, y’know, I tapped him on the arm and said, ‘My husband and I have something we want to talk to you about.’ And he looked at me and he said, ‘Okay. . . (Laughter) . . . You wanna come backstage?’ (I said) ‘Alright.’ And so, Keith and I were so scared and we didn’t go backstage — we were too afraid. And Garcia saw something and he came from backstage and sat down at out table. And so, I said, ‘Okay, well here it is; I need your home phone number (laughter) so that we can call you, because Keith is your next piano player.”
Keith Godchaux joined the Dead in 1971 with Donna following the next year. The couple quit the group in 1979 with Keith dying in a car crash on July 23rd, 1980 in Marin County, California, at the age of 32.
The couple was replaced by Bob Weir’s keyboardist Brent Mydland.
Photo Courtesy of PRPhotos.com