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.

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