Tuesday, July 07, 2015


"In final concert, Grateful Dead bids farewell to faithful followers" PBS NewsHour 7/6/2015


SUMMARY:  Over three days, the legendary, era-defining Grateful Dead offered a series of final concerts at Chicago's Soldier Field.  Jeffrey Brown reports on the rock band's long, strange musical trip that has inspired an almost cult-like following among its fans.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  What a long, strange trip it’s been.  After 50 years, the legendary rock band the Grateful Dead bowed out in a series of concerts this weekend.  There was history, some controversy, and a whole lot more in the air.  And it was, no surprise, one of the summer’s toughest tickets.

Our Jeffrey Brown was there.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  It was a weekend of extended guitar solos, era-evoking sounds, and “High Times” images updated into the digital graphics age.

There were good vibes of the multigenerational time.

MAN:  It’s the last show.  We have got to see it.  I have got to pass that on to him.

JEFFREY BROWN:  And a certain amount of nostalgia, including from band members looking back 50 years.

BILL KREUTZMANN, Grateful Dead:  We were just really gung-ho, wanting to play.  And that’s what — that’s how you feel about every day.  Any day you had a chance to play music, you got together and played.

JEFFREY BROWN:  It was all part of a major happening that played out over three days and into long nights.

It’s called “Fare Thee Well,” a series of final concerts for a band that blazed its own path on the way to becoming part of rock ‘n’ roll history.  We got here to Soldier Field in Chicago ahead of the celebration to talk to some of the people who are putting it on and taking part.
GREG KOT, The Chicago Tribune:  I think the Grateful Dead were a social phenomenon as much as a musical phenomenon, and that the combination made them truly unique in rock history.  I don’t there’s ever been a band quite like them.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Greg Kot is music critic for The Chicago Tribune.

GREG KOT:  It was a caravan.  It wasn’t just a band.  It was about the band and the fans.  Most bands, when they go out on tour, they basically establish a set list and play the same songs in the same order every night.

The Grateful Dead never played the same songs in the same order, much less even in the same way.  They reinterpreted their catalogue constantly, so every show was different.

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