2015 is going to be a wonderful summer for music fans — not only are the Rolling Stones on tour, but we’ll also be seeing the final performances of the Grateful Dead. Let’s take a closer look.
The Rolling Stones
It’s hard to miss one of the biggest bands in history, so it’s probably worth heading out to buy tickets for a Rolling Stones concert if a leg of their tour is coming through your town. They still have a few more dates left in the US from 30 May (when they play Ohio) until they wrap up the current tour on 11 July in Buffalo, New York. While the Stones haven’t shown any desire to quit just yet, you never know when you’ll get another chance to see them — or if they’ll last that long at this age.
The Grateful Dead
Summer 2015 will be a summer to remember for Deadheads. They’ll celebrate their 50th anniversary with not one but two sets worth of major concerts, the first from June 27-29 at Santa Clara, CA’s Levi’s Stadium and the second from July 3-5 at Chicago’s Soldier Field. The concerts are being billed as the “final performances” together by the band, and, though while this announcement has been met with some controversy and skepticism, Deadheads are still coming out in large numbers to get a last dance in with the band.
The Fourth of July weekend concert in Chicago, in fact, will end up being more like a music festival stretching across Chicago. Why? When the shows were taking shape, the promoter considered renting out venues across the city in order to bring in more jam bands. But the plans were dropped — they thought the fans would think they were taking a mercenary attitude, and they didn’t want to lose their focus on the main Soldier Field shows. As a result, venues and booking agents took matters into their own hands, and now Chicago will see more than 50 concerts happening across the city that weekend — everyone from Ween’s Gene Ween to David Grisman, a Jerry Garcia collaborator.
In fact, this is the first time these Dead-inspired bands will get to perform in the same time and place as the real Grateful Dead, which were technically disbanded back in 1995 (though the surviving members have all stayed in music). For example, Dark Star Orchestra, which performs historic Dead shows’ set lists and has actually played more shows than the Dead ever did, will be coming in to play at the Vic Theatre in Chicago from July 2-3. According to keyboardist Rob Barraco, they don’t think they could have done what they did had Jerry Garcia still been alive. Garcia’s passing away really “blew up” the scene in his view, since people still really wanted to get that experience.
Organizers on the other hand are still not quite sure how they’ll manage the parking lot situation. According to promoter Peter Shapiro, they’re looking at a mix of the organic, traditional models and a more “curated” one. The familiar Dead approach, with the “Shakedown Street” free form market and tailgating, will be in the outer lot. But there will be a number of checkpoints to keep fans without tickets off the main part of the Soldier Field campus, which will have crafts and food vendors.
Overall they’re not sure either exactly how many fans will be converging on Chicago for this “Super Bowl” of Dead shows, since people who are rejected for tickets don’t note whether they’re planning to come into town anyway.