by Rockin' Randi Starrett

Set One - Shakedown Street, Liberty, Standing on the Moon, Me and My Uncle, Tennessee Jed, Cumberland Blues, Little Red Rooster, Friend of the Devil, Deal

The morning of day three, and final, Grateful Dead “Fare Thee Well” shows has dawned (well nooned).  More detailed reviews are forthcoming, along with many pictures, but we are off to the Grisman Brunch.  Suffice it to say that waking up today with our hearts full is a grateful, grateful feeling.  

Tonight is the last show and all I really wish for is a time machine to go back thirty years or so to go on tour and follow The Grateful Dead (I do make awesome grilled cheese sandwiches).  Until those technologically savvy musicians invent that device (see cool article about the Dead being technological pioneers in Wired magazine) tonight is, well tonight is....I'm having a hard time putting it in black and white....the last show.  The last show.

Sadness and excitement combined equals a bittersweet but happy melancholy.  Some fans who already know they are missing out (not fear of, fomo, but "kimo" -  know I'm missing out) are even now headed for Chicago hoping for that one last miracle.  And there are miracles to be found, although I saw more fingers in the air in the crowds gathered in the parking lots and on the grassy hills  yesterday than tickets being waved.   One attendee even posted online that he found his miracle on the ground.  I just hope whoever lost it purposely planned this "best ground score ever!"

Last night was, although there are really no adequate words to describe the best family holiday reunion  showcasing a special musical performance by several well-known and truly well-loved musicians — well here's one word,  amazing.  Just amazing.  Yes, I called the opener (along with several thousands of you I'm sure ) including our cool row mates.  Awesome neighbors are enhancing this amazing ride — thank you neighbors!

The opening notes of....what else but “Shakedown Street” energized all 70,000 plus of us, all dancing happily to start the Fourth of July celebration.  “Liberty”, yes another good call given the holiday. Oooh  Liberty we all chorused, truly feeling for one last time we had found our way home.  The tears expected for the last of the “Fare Thee Well” shows on Sunday now began in earnest as Anastasio's vocals on “Standing on the Moon” seared our souls, filling those spots held for those we dearly miss. 

By “Tennessee Jed” this largest sing-a-long was loud.  And happy.  A true collaboration shared equally by the band and fans.  Then finally, a “Cumberland Blues”.  (I lost my bet that there would be no repeats in any of these final shows, first played this tour the first night in Santa Clara .)

“Little Red Rooster”, a real surprise to many but nicely vocalized by Weir, especially  after the band had shared the leads in the previous tune, was unexpected, unlike the Lesh-led “Friend of the Devil”.  Sleep had already become a bit of a commodity this weekend as many other musicians were hosting streaming shows and performing late night shows at venues across Chicago.  

Hornsby and Anastasia led this grateful train on the rails to set break with “Deal”, showcasing the collaborative interplay on stage.  Fans jokingly calling  the band  "Treyful Dead" as Anastasio skillfully filled the parts de Jerome.  

Although Friday night's show, night one of the tour, was also at sold out capacity, Saturday's crowd had seemingly multiplied.  The pit, well pits as the Field was blocked off into several of them, contained thousands of fans (my guesstimate maybe 25,000?) most of whom were decked out in the red, white and blue finery including sparkled top hats and flag.

Stay tuned for Set Two!!