‘Fare Thee Well’ Concludes With Emotional ‘Attics Of My Life’ In 2015

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Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart and Bob Weir first shared the stage together at San Francisco’s Straight Theatre on September 29, 1967; when Kreutzmann invited Hart to sit-in for the Grateful Dead’s second set. Hart quickly joined the band and the four wound up sharing the stage thousands of times up until July 5, 2015 when the Grateful Dead’s “core four” performed together for the last time at Soldier Field in Chicago to bring the Fare Thee Well – Celebrating 50 Years Of Grateful Dead run to a close. The “core four” were joined by Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio as well as keyboardists Jeff Chimenti and Bruce Hornsby for the run.

A capacity crowd that included celebrities Bill Murray, Perry Farrell, George R.R. Martin and Bill Walton watched on as the septet said farewell with a career-spanning show pulling from nearly every era of the Grateful Dead’s illustrious career. The show came to a close with two encores, the first of which saw Trey sing “Touch Of Grey” while Bobby sported a “Let Trey Sing” t-shirt. Then, the seven-piece left few dry eyes in the house with a beautiful rendition of “Attics Of My Life.” While “Attics Of My Life” was performed, images of each of the past Grateful Dead members, as well as portraits of all of the Fare Thee Well musicians shot by photographer Jay Blakesberg were cycled through in a video shown on the big screens at the venue. The below clip shot by Scott Gibson lets us see the video montage as well as the band taking a final bow and hugging on stage and Mickey Hart’s message encouraging kindness. Watch how it went down:

In an interview with Guitar World Anastasio explained how the “Attics” finale came together:

“Here’s one that even Bobby [Weir] and Phil [Lesh] don’t know. The three of us sat down to discuss what to play and Phil said, ‘All I know is, I want to end with ‘Attics of My Life.’ I’m like, ‘Great, I’m crying already, but when are we gonna learn the harmonies?’ Because that song modulates and it’s a capella three-part harmony! I offered to write a chart and they were like, ‘That’s kind of geeky. We’ll figure it out.’ We sat down at a piano and it was cool but I knew everyone would forget his parts and lo and behold, we tried it again and nobody was taking Jerry’s melody.”

These guys don’t rehearse much because they don’t really hang out, so we had five days for five shows and never got to ‘Attics.’ Phil said ‘We’ll sing it in soundcheck every day.’ Soundchecks came and went, and we still didn’t know it. So I called [Trey collaborator] Jeff [Tanski] and said, ‘I need an exact transcription of the album version.’ I didn’t even tell the guys. I just handed a copy to Bruce: ‘This is your part and this is my part. I’ll hit the highs and the other guys will fill in the notes.’ I was reading off the chart because I wanted someone to sing the melody!”

Here’s another angle of the “Attics” finale captured by aerofan2007 and as you can see it came off well thanks in part to Trey’s work:

[Originally Published: July 5, 2016]