Sunday, April 12, 2015

New York, Got the Ways and Means - More Dead to Come!

As we predicted, the Grateful Dead have announced two additional shows at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, south of San Francisco, on June 27th and 28th. Now what about those additional tourdates we predicted that were not announced with them? Well hold on, Dead fans, more are coming!

To be sure, the Santa Clara shows will be the only additional shows to feature the "Fare Thee Well" lineup featuring all four surviving members of the Dead with Trey Anastasio. But, as said previously, we expect additional shows featuring a slightly different lineup to be announced later this month, and that they will include some or all of the following previously-mentioned dates:

6/13 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, TN 
6/15-16 Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
6/18 Live Earth: Road to Paris, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
6/19-21 (2 shows) Citi Field, New York, NY
6/22-25 (3 shows) Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO

These shows will feature at least two and probably three members of the Dead - Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and perhaps Mickey Hart - but in most or all cases not the fourth member, Phil Lesh, who will be replaced by a rotating cast of Dead-inspired fill-ins. Anastasio will also be absent from most of these shows, we believe, though keyboards will remain handled by one or both of the Fare Thee Well team of Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. 

So who else will fill Garcia (and Lesh)'s big shoes? Bonnaroo, which reportedly unsuccessfully offered $3 million for an appearance by the full Dead, might instead land a Lesh-less lineup with members of Southern favorites like the Allman Brothers, the Black Crowes, and Widespread Panic filling in as part of a "superjam". If the band plays smaller shows in Philly and perhaps elsewhere in the Northeast, meanwhile, look for a smaller-time lineup that may feature Weir and Lesh's Furthur sideman John Kadlecik on lead guitar, backed by members of his Golden Gate Wingmen band, which includes Chimenti. As for Colorado we are more confident of a stand there than an appearance at either of the above, and expect the Red Rocks lineup to feature pop star John Mayer (who may feature in earlier shows as well), Phish's Mike Gordon, and long-time Dead-world guitarist Steve Kimock. 

The New York area is the only additional location that might see an appearance from all four members of the band, more likely at the big Live Earth event than at any shows that may follow over the weekend. We expect Mayer to join the band at Live Earth and perhaps Citi Field as well, though again we would not be shocked if Anastasio joined there too. If Lesh does not play New York, we could see the bass being handed to Aaron Dessner of Brooklyn's The National.  

And that may not be all. As we have said for weeks, we expect more tribute events akin to May's "Dear Jerry" concert in Maryland to take place this year, including after the Soldier Field shows. While we are relying very heavily on our spidey sense for this one, we believe that one of these may be an all-star tribute to the Grateful Dead at New York's Central Park Summerstage on June 22, possibly featuring Phil Lesh and Friends, plus big names like Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Sean Lennon, Los Lobos (whose David Hidalgo could appear on guitar at one of the Dead events), Dwight Yoakam, the Indigo Girls, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Todd Snider, one or more members of Sonic Youth and The National, and more.

One final note on all of the above. Some have expressed great skepticism about the notion that additional dates will be announced. We note that similar skepticism was expressed before the Santa Clara shows were announced, and even before the Soldier Field shows we predicted became public. We make no promises and acknowledge an element of guesswork in our predictions, but we do not post them without serious indications that something of the sort is in fact going to happen. While we won't share precisely what we've been told, or by whom, we will note a few supporting tea leaves, including the fact that Hornsby has recently canceled performances planned for June 19th-26th, that Gordon's recently-announced solo tour includes a conspicuous break from June 22nd-25th, that Kadlecik and Chimenti warm up together in the Northeast the weekend of the 12th-14th, and that many of the artists above have rehearsed with one or more members of the Dead in recent weeks. 

Look for various additional shows above to be announced within the next few weeks, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, but more likely after the Santa Clara shows sell out. The week of April 20th seems like a good bet.

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