After months of fan speculation bolstered by an October 2008 performance at the Change Rocks concert/rally for Barack Obama in State College, PA, and three recent viral internet videos with band interviews and performance footage, the DEAD have officially announced tour dates for 2009. This marks their first trek since 2004’s Wave That Flag tour.
Kicking off April 12 in Greensboro, NC, and wrapping May 10 near San Francisco, the tour will encompass 19 shows--all to be performed as "An Evening With"--in 16 cities. Pre-sale tickets go on sale Tuesday, January 13, and nationwide beginning Friday, January 23. All the concerts are set for indoor arenas except for the final show at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA.
Original Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart will be joined by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and Allman Brothers Band/Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes, both of whom played with the band at the Change Rocks concert. The group first formed with lead guitarist Jerry Garcia as the Grateful Dead in 1965 and are legendary for their live performances. The Grammy-winning Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group always toured relentlessly, allowing their Dead Head fans to tape and trade their exploratory, free-flowing concerts.
"We've got some unfinished business," says guitarist/singer Bob Weir. "Everybody has a whole new bag of tricks; we have the body of material we worked up over the years and we have a mind meld going on here and it would be a sin to let that just wither and die." Drummer Mickey Hart adds, "A mind meld is a terrible thing to waste." Bassist Phil Lesh says, "For me, it's the question mark that's really pulling me in...what's gonna happen? When you walk out on the stage the possibilities are infinite every time. The musical possibilities are infinite: there is no end to it, there's no back wall and there's no ceiling, there's no floor. It's infinite and therefore you can still explore it till the day that you die." Drummer Bill Kreutzmann says, "I get goose bumps just thinking about the possibilities."
Seeds of the idea of touring again were first planted in February of this year when Hart, Lesh and Weir played a“Dead Heads for Obama show at the Warfield in their native San Francisco, and last year Weir, Kreutzmann and Hart performed at a post-inauguration for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Always sonic and technological adventurers, the Grateful Dead formed in San Francisco's electric Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in the mid-'60s, combining their love of bluegrass, country, electric rock and jazz to create one of the most iconic repertoires in rock music. By touring continuously and never relying on radio hits or latest trends, the Dead and Dead Heads created an unparalleled bond. Fans were turned on to the group by live bootlegs and word of mouth, with many following the band on the road for whole tours.
Sun 4/12 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
Tue 4/14 Washington, DC Verizon Center
Wed 4/15 Charlottesville, VA John Paul Jones Arena
Fri 4/17 Albany, NY Times Union Center
Sat 4/18 Worcester, MA DCU Center
Sun 4/19 Worcester, MA DCU Center
Tue 4/21 Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena
Wed 4/22 Wilkes-Barre, PA Wachovia Arena @ Casey Plaza
Fri 4/24 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
Sat 4/25 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
Sun 4/26 Hartford, CT XL Center
Tue 4/28 E. Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center
Wed 4/29 E. Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center
Fri 5/1 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum
Sat 5/2 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum
Tue 5/5 Chicago, IL All State Arena
Thu 5/7 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
Sat 5/9 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
Sun 5/10 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheater