(I guess Levi's Stadium is substantially bigger than Soldier Field nowadays; the last time I was in Soldier Field was in 1984, before the renovation, and I understand the updated stadium is nicer, but smaller.)
Everybody seemed to agree that it was a delightful finale. Billboard reports that they handled my wife's personal favorite (Terrapin Station) well: Grateful Dead, Trey Anastasio Bid Final Fare Thee Well at Third Chicago Show: Concert Review
Anastasio seemed to be channeling Bob Dylan with his vocal lead, and launching into the three-act "Terrapin Station," a Dead anthem if ever there was one, brought the vibe right back to 1977 with the unmistakable intro that is "Lady With a Fan."
"Terrapin," of course, is treacherous territory, not only because of its complex key changes and tricky time signatures, but it’s the sort of psychedlia that could easily veer into Spinal Tap "Stonehenge" territory if not handled the right way -- which is to say, delicately.
To that end, the band did pull it off
Over at Ultimate Classic Rock, Ben Djarum even finds nice things to say about late-era songs: Grateful Dead Hit Emotional Peak for Final ‘Fare Thee Well’ Concert: Set List and Photos
The first real surprise of the night came in the form of pianist Bruce Hornsby’s delightful take on the song “Built to Last,” the title cut of the Grateful Dead’s final studio album. Up to this point, the song has had a relatively brief track record, played only in 1989 and 1990, but its inclusion last night was a revelation.
Although I'm surprised they didn't play Brokedown Palace at all, over all five nights, there's no way to complain with last night's setlist: Althea, Truckin', Not Fade Away, Terrapin Station, I Know You Rider, Throwing Stones, and Touch of Grey.
And, something I surely wish I had seen, China Cat Sunflower, perhaps even more of a "Jerry" song than Saturday night's Friend of the Devil. I guess that modern technology has helped a bit:
Anastasio utilized a Mu-Tron envelope filter to nail the tone Garcia favored during the composed sections of the song
And a full fireworks show during the intermission!
It was fun going to the show, it was fun following the shows from afar, and it certainly gave me the excuse to drag some of my old albums out from underneath the pile of books on the shelf and re-spin them (yes, they're CDs now, but ...).
But it's Monday morning, and I've got plenty to do, so off we go...