The Grateful Dead will close out their storied five-decade career next month with three shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field, but that’s not the only way they’re celebrating their 50th anniversary as a band. The counterculture legends announced 30 Trips Around the Sun today, an extensive 80-disc box set that features 30 unreleased performances by the band—one for every year they were active from 1965 to 1995.
“For those who listen to the entire box straight through, chronologically, the narrative of the Grateful Dead’s live legacy will be seen as second to none in the pantheon of music history,” band archivist David Lemieux said in a press release. “When we began discussing audio projects to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead back in 2012, we knew we wanted to do something completely unprecedented. We could think of nothing more exciting or ambitious than a career-spanning overview of the band’s live legacy focused on what best tells the story: complete concerts.”
So far the Dead have only announced four of the thirty shows—11/10/67 (Shrine Auditorium; Los Angeles, Calif.), 10/27/79 (Cape Cod Coliseum; South Yarmouth, Mass.), 9/18/87 (Madison Square Garden; New York, N.Y.), and 10/1/94 (Boston Garden; Boston)—but promise to announce the other 26 shows in the coming weeks. Though none of the shows will be available for individual purchase, the Dead will offer a condensed, four-disc version of the set featuring a song from each of its shows for considerably less than the box’s $699.98 price tag.
In a nifty touch, 30 Trips Around The Sun will also include a gold-colored 7-inch vinyl single that includes the first music the band ever recorded—”Caution (Do Not Step On The Tracks),” from a 1965 studio session—as Side A and the encore from the Dead’s final 1995 performance at Soldier Field, “Box of Rain,” as Side B.
This is the Grateful Dead’s largest box set to date, but not by as much of a margin as one might expect. In 2011, the band compiled all 22 shows from its 1972 European spring tour for a 73-disc offering.
Check out album artwork below.