photos by Jay Blakesberg

Grateful Dead

After a show focused on the '70s and a performance that leaned on the Dead's later years, the Fare Thee Well septet pulled from nearly every era of the Grateful Dead's touring career on Sunday.

The energy at the sold-out football stadium was through the roof as the band took the stage and assembled for a deep bow. They then huddled at the middle of the stage for a group hug. Each member took their spots and "China Cat Sunflower" began. Bruce Hornsby and Trey Anastasio shared lead vocals on "China Cat," which the Grateful Dead played over 500 times between 1968 and 1995. A few of Robert Hunter's lyrics tripped up Anastasio, but he had no problems instrumentally as the guitarist added his own signature flourishes to the iconic transition that leads into "I Know You Rider." All four main vocalists shared the "I wish I was a headlight" verse which Garcia always sang so powerfully at Grateful Dead performances. Hornsby provided a perky, upbeat piano solo in "Rider" as a crowd including celebrities Bill Murray, Perry Farrell, George R.R. Martin and Bill Walton roared its approval.

...Show organizers had one more setbreak surprise in store on Sunday as a full fireworks display was fired above Soldier Field.

The band returned to the stage towards the end of the fireworks show to open the second set with "Truckin," the first song they performed eight days earlier at their Santa Clara debut. A repeat of "Truckin" gave the audience of Deadheads a final chance to scream and shout the "what a long strange trip it's been" lyric. [Jambase]

After the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary 'Fare Thee Well' shows in Santa Clara, they played their three final shows at Chicago's Soldier Field this past weekend. Like in California, surviving members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann were joined by Phish's Trey Anastasio, former Dead collaborator Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti of Bob Weir's band RatDog. As the above review points out, each night had a different theme setlist-wise, and you can browse all three setlists below. Pictures from the first night are also in this post.

The second night, July 4th included projected footage of the Empire State Building on the screen at Soldier Field as the Dead played "U.S. Blues." The building's light show, mostly in red, white and blue, was synced to the song. Video of that is below too.

Grateful Dead

NYC Taper was in attendance, and he's got audio to stream/download of the first two shows at his site (July 3 and July 4). You can stream "Passenger" from the first night and "The Golden Road" from the second, below. Dead.net has you covered if you're looking to buy the official CDs and DVDs.

Did you make it to any of the shows? If so, did you get one of the 100,000 roses FTD gave out? Was it tie-dyed? What about a balloon? Did you visit any other historical Dead sites while you were out there? How did you get your ticket?

Levi's Stadium photos HERE and HERE.

More pictures from Chicago night one, along with the three Chicago setlists, song streams and video, below...

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Sitting back to rest my bones #gd50

A photo posted by Scott Attman (@atts15) on

#latergram #dead50 #chicago #iseedeadpeople #faretheewell

A photo posted by Anna Miller (@agmiller89) on

#latergram #dead50 #showtime #chicago #faretheewell

A photo posted by Anna Miller (@agmiller89) on

3 night ChiTown run! #GD50 #KDNTbackontour

A photo posted by Kenji Sytz (@pookiemofo) on

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NIGHT 1 SETLIST (July 3)
Set One: Box Of Rain, Jack Straw, Bertha > Passenger, The Wheel > Crazy Fingers > The Music Never Stopped

Set Two: 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

Encore: Ripple

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NIGHT 2 SETLIST (July 4)
Set One: Shakedown Street, Liberty, Standing On The Moon, Me & My Uncle, Tennessee Jed, Cumberland Blues, Little Red Rooster, Friend Of The Devil, Deal

Set Two: Bird Song, The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), Lost Sailor > Saint Of Circumstance, West L.A. Fadeaway, Foolish Heart, Drums > Space > Stella Blue > One More Saturday Night

Encore: U.S. Blues

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NIGHT 3 SETLIST (July 5)
Set One: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Estimated Prophet, Built To Last, Samson & Delilah, Mountains Of The Moon > Throwing Stones

Set Two: Truckin', Cassidy, Althea, Terrapin Station > Drums > Space > Unbroken Chain, Days Between > Not Fade Away

Encore: Touch Of Grey

Encore 2: Attics Of My Life