Obama Pays Tribute to ‘Iconic American’ Grateful Dead Before Celebrity-Studded Final Concerts


President Obama paid tribute to the Grateful Dead ahead of the band’s final performances during their “Fare Thee Well” 50th anniversary reunion on July 4.

The Dead are in the middle of a three-show July 4 weekend run at Soldier Field in the President’s hometown of Chicago.

“Here’s to fifty years of the Grateful Dead, an iconic American band that embodies the creativity, passion and ability to bring people together that makes American music so great,” Obama wrote in a special dispatch from the White House. “Enjoy this weekend’s celebration of your fans and legacy. And as Jerry would say, ‘Let there be songs to fill the air.'”


The special memo includes a photo of the band posing with the President at the White House in 2009.

The Grateful Dead have a history with Obama; in 2008, Dead guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Mickey Hart reunited for the first time in four years to throw a fundraiser concert for then-Sen. Obama called “Deadheads for Obama.”

Saturday’s concert at Soldier Field was a star-studded affair: John Mayer and Katy Perry attended, as did actress Chloe Sevigny, Woody Harrelson, Liz Phair, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and former NBA legend Bill Walton (a huge Deadhead who also attended last weekend’s shows in Santa Clara, California.)

Ushers at Soldier Field reportedly handed out tie-dyed bouquets of roses to celebrate the performance, and Perry posted a photo of them to her Instagram account, captioning it “Grateful.”

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Also Saturday night, New York City’s Empire State Building was lit up with special tie-dyed, red, white and blue lights to honor the band’s performance. The lights were synced up to the band’s song “U.S. Blues,” which was the encore at Saturday night’s show:

“The lights were incorporated into the Chicago show on the screens as a huge video-tribute to watch while they performed,” lighting designer Marc Brickman told Billboard. “It was specifically designed for this show as a gift since it’s a special night and it’s never been done before for a rock band of this magnitude. We also had some iconic Dead graphics dancing in the mast of the building.”

The band performs their final concert at Soldier Field on Sunday night.

Read Breitbart’s review of the band’s second “Fare Thee Well” performance here.


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