John Mayer defended members of the Grateful Dead, whom he’ll be joining on tour this fall, for regrouping after the legendary band played what were billed as their final shows this summer, The Associated Press reports.
“I don’t know of any Deadhead in the world who said, ‘When I paid my money, I paid to see these guys finish this,'” said Mayer. The singer-songwriter is currently rehearsing for the trek in the Bay Area with three of the four surviving Grateful Dead members, guitarist and singer Bob Weir and percussionists Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.
The assembled crew will tour this fall under the name Dead & Company. While Phil Lesh is not involved, Weir suggested it was possible the bassist might join them for an upcoming show.
The Dead & Company tour comes on the heels of the Grateful Dead’s celebrated 50th anniversary “Fare Thee Well” shows, two in the San Francisco Bay Area and three at Chicago’s Soldier Field. The gigs featured Phish’s Trey Anastasio filling in for the late Jerry Garcia, and tickets sold out almost instantly, with some reselling for thousands of dollars.
But Weir too dismissed the notion of actually calling it quits with the Dead, especially after playing with Mayer: “[He] was answering back, and it was fun, and more fun than I was really going to be happy about just walking away from,” Weir said.
Dead & Company will kick off their fall trek on October 29th at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. The tour boasts three shows at Madison Square Garden, including a free November 7th gig that will be part of the American Express Unstaged Series (for those who can’t score tickets, the concert will be available online thanks to a Brett Ratner-directed livestream). Dead & Company will close out their run, and a two-night Los Angeles stand, with a show at the Forum on New Year’s Eve.