Fare Thee Well Promoter Meets with Chicago Mayor, Thanks Him 'For Letting Us Bring the Circus to Town'

Jay Blakesberg

Soldier Field in Chicago on July 2, 2015.

Dead-aggedon is on as the first of a three-night stand starts July 3.

The Grateful Dead's Fare Thee Well shows have touched down in Chicago. The first of a three-night stand starts tonight, July 3, and the city's downtown is already jam-packed with heads making their way to Soldier Field.

Some 180,000 are expected to attend the three shows, with thousands more in town for the hang and to watch performances taking place at dozens of satellite shows.

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So far, downtown's Dead-aggedon has been smooth sailing, says promoter Peter Shapiro, who met with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday morning. "I thanked him for letting us bring the circus to town," Shapiro tells Billboard. "It was a good meeting."

Jay Blakesberg

Shapiro adds that those watching simulcasts on Pay Per View, the web or in theaters will not be left out thanks to a new skycam being used for the Chicago run. "It's going to be a game-changer for people watching at home," adds Shapiro.

Little else is known about the Friday set. According to sharp-eared fans, "The Music Never Stopped" was rehearsed along with "Box of Rain" on Thursday afternoon, but those songs are unconfirmed.

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The Dead did, however, release a batch of photos of their July 2 rehearsal. You can see guitarist-singer Bob Weir and drummer Mickey Hart warming up their gear, along with guest guitarist Trey Anastasio of Phish and keyboardists Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. Also taking the stage tonight: "core four" members Bill Kreutzmann and Phil Lesh

On the guest list of various shows this weekend: senator Al Franken is expected on Saturday and Sunday, members of Phish are in town along with Dead superfan John Mayer.

More to come...

Jay Blakesberg
Mickey Hart