For the penultimate show of the Fare Thee Well run, the core surviving members of the Grateful Dead along with Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti continued the momentum created on the opening night with another impressive performance of Grateful Dead favorites.
The theme, as one would expect, was centered around the Fourth of July holiday, as the group peppered both sets with some nods to America’s birthday. To start, however, the band came out to a “Shakedown Street” that got the crowd moving almost instantly. Led by Bob Weir on vocals with Anastasio adding harmonies, the upbeat performance set the tone for the night before the group slipped into a tune from the Dead’s 90s catalog—“Liberty.”
Anastasio handled vocals on another nod to Independence Day when the group dipped into “Standing on the Moon.” The emotional performance culminated with an extended solo from the Phish guitarist, who was once again decidedly more involved tonight much like he was on opening night. Weir took lead vocals on the following “Me & My Uncle” as well as “Tennessee Jed,” which turned into a venue-wide singalong.
“Cumberland Blues” provided the run’s first repeat before Weir showcased his slide guitar skills on the “Little Red Rooster” that followed. As the set wound to a close, the band displayed their cohesiveness as they rolled through tight versions of “Friend of the Devil,” led by Lesh on vocals, and a duet between Anastasio and Hornsby on the set-closing “Deal.”
After another hour-long setbreak, the band returned as night fell on the Fourth of July to the opening notes of “Bird Song.” Led by Lesh on vocals, the tune stretched into some of the best interplay of the night, with Anastasio teaming up with Weir, Hornsby and Chimenti to create a particularly compelling soundscape.
Hornsby and Anastasio teamed up vocally yet again on the following “Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion” before Mickey Hart broke out a sailor’s hat for “Lost Sailor.” A slow-developing jam led by Weir on vocals dissolved into a quality performance of “Saint of Circumstance.”
The energy picked up yet again when Hornsby took the lead on “West LA Fadeaway,” which also showcased a solo from Hornsby. Anastasio stepped to the lead on a tune from the band’s final album, Built to Last, in “Foolish Heart.” Another slow-burner, the performance featured more of a blissful, spacey jam than had been seen throughout the set.
After a lengthy “Drums” and “Space” segment, the group returned for the final two songs of the set, starting with an emotional performance of “Stella Blue.” Featuring some of the best playing of the night, Weir showcased some of his most powerful vocals of the night while Anastasio dug into a pair of solos that mesmerized the crowd before the predictable “One More Saturday Night” set closer.
As it was the Fourth of July, the band came out to a “U.S. Blues” encore with a special video montage during the tune featuring the Empire State Building. According to a press release, the production, which synchronized the lights on the iconic building to the tune, was specifically designed for the Soldier Field run. Marc Brickman, the lighting designed for the Empire State Building, teamed up with the band to create the design. Watch the performance below.
The band exited the stage following the performance to a large fireworks display over the venue. The group will return to the stage tonight to close out the Fare Thee Well run.
Here’s a look at the setlist as it appears in our Box Scores section:
Fare Thee Well
Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
Set I: Shakedown Street, Liberty, Standing On The Moon, Me & My Uncle, Tennessee Jed, Cumberland Blues, Little Red Rooster, Friend Of The Devil, Deal
Set II: Bird Song, The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), Lost Sailor > Saint Of Circumstance, West L.A. Fadeaway, Foolish Heart, Drums > Space > Stella Blue > One More Saturday Night
Enc: U.S. Blues