The pioneering jam band adds two reunion dates to foil scalpers and appease shut-out fans. With a haul nearing $50 million, is the end really near, or will a new group appear?

When the "core four" ­surviving members of The Grateful Dead -- Bob Weir, 67; Phil Lesh, 75; Mickey Hart, 71; and Bill Kreutzmann, 68 -- announced Fare Thee Well, a trio of final shows in Chicago set for July 4-6, no one expected a backlash from fans. After all, The Dead had pioneered the ­complicated craft of preferred ticketing, ­launching its own Grateful Dead Ticket Services in the 1970s to ­accommodate tapers, fan club members and Deadheads looking to attend shows in multiple cities, a ­common rite of passage for the band's followers.

Subscribe to billboard biz to continue reading this article and thousands more.

Billboard.biz subscribers get:
  • 24/7 coverage of every genre and sector of the business with over 150 exclusive charts
  • Bulletin: Breaking stories, chart info and analysis sent directly to your inbox every weekday
  • Billboard Magazine iPad Edition: An enhanced version of the magazine with video, photo galleries and playable charts
  • Archives: A rich history of Billboard.biz articles and exclusive charts

Join now or Log In