The Grateful Dead will issue CDs and video of their upcoming “Fare Thee Well” concerts under the title Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead this fall. The concerts, scheduled to take place over July 3rd, 4th and 5th at Chicago’s Soldier Field, will find the band’s surviving members – drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh and guitarist Bob Weir – playing two sets of music each night alongside guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and pianist Bruce Hornsby. A limited-edition release will offer audio and video of the complete event via the band’s website.
The Fare Thee Well release, slated to come out on November 20th, will be available in a variety of formats. The most basic versions is a two-CD “best of” collection, featuring highlights from all three nights, which will also be available digitally. A two-disc DVD and Blu-ray release will contain full video from the band’s final concert. The group is also issuing a four-CD set with either double-disc DVD or Blu-ray, which will contain full audio and video from the final performance.
The most extravagant versions – the ones available only via Dead.net – will comprise 12 CDs and either seven DVDs or Blu-rays; these contain the full audio and video from all three shows in individually numbered packaging, which has been limited to 20,000 copies each. One of the DVDs or Blu-rays in these editions is a bonus disc containing unique footage from the shows: a behind-the-scenes look filmed by Kreutzmann’s son Justin, shots of the band’s ticketing office documenting the more than 350,000 ticket requests it received, a peek at what went on in the parking lot of Soldier Field outside the shows and backstage material from the gigs.
As previously reported, fans who are too impatient to wait for the box sets will be able to tune in to Sirius XM’s Grateful Dead station (channel 23) to hear the shows broadcast live. Each show will also be broadcast the day after it originally aired. The concerts will also be available to watch live via pay per view and in select movie theaters. The shows, along with the group’s two Bay Area warm-up sets, will also be available to listen to via a yet-to-be-announced streaming platform.
The group and its reunion were recently the subject of a Rolling Stone cover story. In it, Weir said he expected the shows to play out like the band’s good old days. “It’s going to be a work in progress until we walk off the stage that last night in July,” he said. “Just like always.”