The annual Meet-Up at the Movies isn’t until next week (May 4) but the Grateful Dead are teasing the event by releasing a video of the band jamming on “Sugaree” from their July 1989 concert in East Troy, Wisconsin. (The entire concert will be broadcast at the Meet-Up.) The song was originally a Jerry Garcia solo, appearing on the late singer’s 1972 collection Garcia—with the exception of drums, which the Dead’s own Bill Kreutzman played, Garcia performed all the instruments in the studio recording. The track was written by Robert Hunter, the longtime Dead lyricist, occasional Bob Dylan collaborator, and infrequent recording artist.
The band is marching toward its Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago to commemorate the band’s 50th anniversary. Guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Kreutzman and Mickey Hart will be joined by Phish singer-guitarist Trey Anastasio, who will fill in for Garcia. The shows also mark the 20th anniversary of Garcia’s last Dead performance, which took place a month before his death. Bruce Hornsby (who toured with the band in the ’90s) and Jeff Chimenti will represent other deceased members, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Keith Godchaux, Brent Mydland, and Vince Welnick, on keyboards.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Anastasio discussed his recent Dead crash course, saying, “I’m providing a service. There are no Jerry Garcias coming down the pike, anymore than there is a Jimi Hendrix or Bob Marley. Me and my friends—we’ll all be long dead, people will still be trying to dig into what Jerry Garcia did. Just like I am today.”