This summer, the Grateful Dead staged five Fare Thee Well shows — two in Santa Clara, California and three at Chicago’s Soldier Field — that marked the final performances of the remaining founders of the band, known as the Core Four. For the closing number of the second set at the last of the three Chicago concerts, the Dead tore through their classic cover of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” a performance that’s streaming below.
The “Not Fade Away” clip, along with the rest of the band’s final performance from July 5, will be available on the Blu-ray and DVD editions of the show that come out Friday. The Grateful Dead will sell packages containing audio and video of the final gig, as well as a 2-CD “Best Of” collection compiling highlights from the three Chicago shows and another set containing full audio from all three Chicago concerts.
The Fare Thee Well concerts commemorated the band’s 50th anniversary, as well as the 20 years since it played its final shows with singer and guitarist Jerry Garcia at Soldier Field in July 1995. In addition to the Core Four — guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann — Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio and keyboardists Jeff Chimenti and Bruce Hornsby joined the band for the shows.
Despite staging their final shows as the Grateful Dead, all four members of the Core Four have continued to perform since the July gigs. Lesh, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October, has played at the Lockn’ Festival and Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre in recent months. Meanwhile, Weir, Hart, and Kreutzmann recruited John Mayer and formed Dead & Company, which is now touring the country.
For more on the Grateful Dead’s massive year, check out Andy Cohen’s account of traveling to one of the band’s Santa Clara shows with Mayer, as well as our essential albums from the band.
“Not Fade Away,” from the band’s final Soldier Field show and the upcoming Fare Thee Well box set, is streaming below.