Fare Thee Well Jul 4, 2015 17:57:43 GMT -5
Post by mark on Jul 4, 2015 17:57:43 GMT -5
CHICAGO–Friday night was the beginning of the end: the first of the Grateful Dead’s final three concerts at Soldier Field, for 70,764 people here and untold numbers more at theater simulcasts, pay-per-view web streams and the free concert replay immediately after the show by WXRT. Even with a handful of the Dead’s inevitable stumbles, the music was strong.
Let’s get it out of the way: Here’s the set list.
“Box of Rain,” “Jack Straw,” “Bertha,” “Passenger,” “The Wheel/Crazy Fingers” and “The Music Never Stopped” in the first set; for the second, “Mason’s Children,” “Scarlet Begonias/Fire on the Mountain,” “Drums/Space,” “New Potato Caboose,” “Playing in the Band,” “Let It Grow,” “Help on the Way/Slipknot!/Franklin’s Tower” and, as an encore, “Ripple.”
As I joined the entering throng, it occurred to me that this weekend is also the last stand for the pre-show rituals of Dead shows: the people pointing a finger skyward hoping for a “miracle” ticket to a sold-out show, the increasingly grizzled fans making their tie-dyed stand in decades-old concert T-shirts, the guy with the STILL DEAD license plate (California, of course) hanging around his neck, the one displaying a “Let Donna Sing” sticker (it’s a long story). Okay, the “miracle” people are already at Phish concerts, but a big part of Grateful Dead fandom won’t follow them there. For dead set Dead Heads, these are their last stadium shows, too. Everyone entering was offered an American Beauty rose—a nice gesture, although it came with a sponsor’s plug.
There has been ample contention over the size, price, profitability and appropriateness of “Fare Thee Well”— not to mention over a band lineup billed as the Grateful Dead for the first time since 1995, including Trey Anastasio of Phish on lead guitar as well as Bruce Hornsby on piano and Jeff Chimenti on keyboards along with Grateful Dead members Bob Weir (rhythm guitar), Phil Lesh (bass) and Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart (percussion). But at Soldier Field it was, as it always was with the Grateful Dead, down to the music.
For the rest of the article: artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/04/grateful-dead-fare-thee-well-tour-gets-down-to-the-music/