Members of Grateful Dead to tour with John Mayer | EW.com

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Members of Grateful Dead to tour with John Mayer

(Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

So much for Fare Thee Well. After a string of five shows in Santa Clara and Chicago earlier this summer that the Grateful Dead said were its last—and that by some estimates generated $55 million in profits—members of the iconic band will take the stage together again this fall. They’ll also have a new friend joining them: John Mayer, who jammed with guitarist Bob Weir and was rumored to be in talks about a Dead tour, has signed on to perform with the band’s latest iteration, Dead & Company, according to a Billboard report.

After Jerry Garcia’s 1995 death, members of the Grateful Dead toured under various different names—The Other Ones, The Dead, Furthur, and more—but didn’t return to the stage under their normal moniker until the 2015 reunion shows. Comprised of Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, the group known as the Core Four promised this year’s concerts would be their last together. And, while the the name change might seem like semantics to “keep” that commitment, Dead & Company won’t include Lesh, a musician who many Deadheads see as integral to the ensemble’s character and sound. 

Dead & Company will make its debut on Halloween at New York’s Madison Square Garden, with a lineup rounded out by Weir, Hart, Kreutzmann, Mayer, Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge, and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, who played in the Fare Thee Well shows and has been a fixture of previous Dead legacy acts. “Those songs weren’t done with us,” Weir told Billboard adding that the band isn’t a one-off. “It’s kind of late in the year to put toether a tour, but we’re gonna try.”

Perhaps as a response to the Fare Thee Well prices some saw as exorbitant, premium tickets for the Madison Square Garden gig will go for $100; in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary, $50 tickets will also be available.

Mayer will have big shoes to fill. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio covered many of Jerry Garcia’s guitar and vocal parts at the Fare Thee Well shows, a performance Mayer called “so brilliant.” “He did something incredible to the legacy—and didn’t leave it any easier for me to pick up the baton.”

Read Billboard’s full report here.

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