Grateful Dead: July 3, 2015 Chicago – Flac/MP3/Streaming

July 4, 2015

gd screenie 3
[screen capture from video stream]

If you follow my twitter or read my taperssection posts, you are abundantly aware that I have been brutally honest about these five “Fare Thee Well” shows. There are clear problems with this twenty-years-removed version of the “Grateful Dead” beyond the obvious absence of the band’s deceased emotional core — the tempo is way too slow, the aged players are making way too many simple mistakes, and there is no way on Earth that Phil Lesh should be permitted to sing lead vocals, particularly on Jerry Garcia’s songs. All that being said, the first two shows in Santa Clara did have some serious high points. Trey Anastasio’s lead guitar work has been thoroughly inspired and engaged and he seems completely committed to these performances. Additionally, the band’s setlist selections have been quite imaginative — perhaps the worst aspect of the late-era Garcia-led Grateful Dead was their predictable sets. These 2015 selections are both diverse and unpredictable. At the first night in Santa Clara, the threesome of primal Dead “Born Cross-Eyed”, “Cream Puff War” and “Viola Lee Blues” was my own personal highlight of last weekend and not coincidentally featured Trey on both lead vocals and extended lead guitar work.

But that was Santa Clara. These Chicago shows have a different feel from the outset. Early views of the crowd pre-show indicates a significantly more rowdy and celebratory air. As the show begins, there is definitely an East Coast/MidWest vibe and the band is pretty much into a groove from the beginning. The set begins with the song that ended the band’s last show ever, “Box of Rain”, in a nice bit of synchronicity which also shows that these guys are both aware and willing the celebrate the history. Trey is engaged throughout and actually takes the lead vocal on Bertha and is centerstage for all of Crazy Fingers. Its also nice to hear that the keyboards are right there in the mix and both Chimenti and Hornsby are playing well. The first set ends in typical fashion, but Bobby is also seemingly focused and the song is tight. A nice set, albeit with a fairly standard setlist.

The second set began with another one of those breakout numbers, the early 70’s unreleased and obscure track “Mason’s Children”. From there, it was another instance of Trey dominating the day, with a superb take on Garcia’s “Scarlet/Fire”. The early drums and space segment left much room for the “post-Drums” and the band did not disappoint. The primal “New Potato Caboose” was unfortunately a vocal lead for Lesh despite that Bob sang the song on the Anthem of the Sun album and all of the late-60’s live versions. Trey again shone during the “Help On The Way” and with his guitar throughout the entire Help/Slip/Frank suite. The band completed the night with a very sweet “Ripple” that featured a full crowd sing-along.

This show was recorded by friend of the site Bill who was in the taper’s section. He produced a 6-microphone mix that included a pair of Busman BSC2 mics, two AKG 480/CK61 mics and my Sennheiser cardioids that I sent to him especially for the occasion. The sound in the section is quite nice and this ambitious mix of microphones is indeed excellent. Enjoy!

Download the First Set [MP3] / [FLAC]

Download the Second Set [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream “Passenger”:

Grateful Dead
Soldier Field
Chicago IL

Digital Master Audience Recording
Recorded from Taper’s Section

Sennheiser MKH-8040s > Tascam DR-680 > 24bit 48kHz wav file > Soundforge (level adjustments, mixdown, set fades) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Please support this legendary band:

Recorded by Bill Walker
Produced by nyctaper

Set 1
[Total Time 1:11:01]
01 Box of Rain
02 Jack Straw
03 Bertha
04 Passenger
05 The Wheel
06 Crazy Fingers
07 The Music Never Stopped

Set 2
[Total Time 1:53:58]
01 Mason’s Children
02 Scarlet Begonias
03 Fire On The Mountain
04 Drums-Space
05 New Potato Caboose
06 Playing In The Band
07 Let It Grow
08 Help On The Way
09 Slipknot
10 Franklin’s Tower
11 [encore break / donor request]
12 Ripple

If you download this show from NYCTaper, please support the band and buy anything from the plethora of available music and merch at

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61 Responses to Grateful Dead: July 3, 2015 Chicago – Flac/MP3/Streaming

  1. Sturgis
    July 16, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to see an honest appraisal of the final Grateful Dead shows (if, in fact, these are to be the final shows). It seems most Dead fans I talk to just say glowing things about the Dead and these last five concerts. I went to Santa Clara Sunday night and saw all three Chicago shows on pay-per-view. I spoke with many people who went to the show on Saturday night. All I heard was “Epic, man!”; “Great show!”; “One for the ages!”. When I heard people saying the same thing about Sunday’s show, I just wanted to tell them that the Emperor has no clothes.

    The pacing of Santa Clara’s Sunday show was splotchy and mismanaged. I am a drummer and I could do without “Drumz”. “Space” is nice because all of them get to stretch, but “Drumz” just turns into a wankfest with Bill and Micky.

    I am of the school of thought that Jerry Garcia’s songs deserve to be given the best by anyone who is performing them. I would have hoped that this “Grateful Dead” would have taken the same approach to the songs. Unfortunately, they did not. Bruce or Trey should have sang EVERY Jerry song. Phil singing “Eyes of the World” was atrocious and disrespectful of Jerry. The simple mistakes being made I would have expected from a garage band, not from the musicians who have been playing some of the songs FOR FIFTY YEARS!

    I traveled recently to Portland and was privileged and honored to have been the second drummer in a Dead cover band. We played over three hours of Dead/Jerry songs and not once did we make the simple mistakes that this band did. I had never played with the musicians before in my life but we all know the songs and all want to play them as well as possible.

    I know this is sacrilege to most people but, I would rather here Dark Star Orchestra or Furthur than this incarnation of the Dead. DSO reveres and honors Grateful Dead every show they play. Their execution of the Dead songs is so much better than the Dead, it is sad. No one will ever reach the highs that the Dead did. No one will ever take the place of Jerry. But night after night, show after show, DSO delivers a great product. I wish I could say that for the Grateful Dead in this 50th year.

  2. kaygee
    July 16, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    U lucky,lucky guys from the US of A…..just soak it in,good or bad.

  3. kaygee
    July 16, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Reminds me of the gig they put up in Lewiston-Auburn(Connecticut?)way back in ’85,last time I saw them with Godcheaux,et al.Such nostalgia.Anyways,many thanx from this old man from India

  4. July 16, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Dude, Keith Godchaux died in 1980, a little more than a year after he left the band.

  5. Rojimmy
    July 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed all 5 shows and I agree with a lot of what nyctaper (thanks for the tunes) and Sturgis have to say but I think some of the disappointments with the band are based on foggy memories and unrealistically high expectations.
    The tempo too slow, they made a lot of mistakes, Phil sang songs he shouldn’t have.
    The Grateful Dead have always been about taking the music to new places, consequently, they have always made a lot of mistakes (Pigpen completely missing the one beat when coming in with his rap is an easy example, I am sure if you think about it you will find it hard to find a show where they didn’t make mistakes).
    Why can’t Phil sing any song he wants. Come on, Jerry’s singing was rarely deserved of a night at the Met.
    The tempo too slow, too loose, not steady enough. These guys are in their 60s and 70s. To me the best part about these concerts is what was the worst thing they could have done. “What 80 or 90 songs are they going to choose for their last shows?”
    Let’s face it, as soon as they made up complete setlists they became a cover band. And you know, they had to do it otherwise we would be going crazy over potential repeats or omissions etc. The thing that always made the Dead the Dead to me was their freedom to explore and then the band trying to find where the music has taken them when they land.
    Their set lists were incredible, yes there were a hundred songs I wanted to hear and a few i saw which weren’t my favorites, but they picked those songs, so if that is what they felt they should play, then that’s good enough for me. Unfortunately, a scripted “show” to me is contrary to a Grateful Dead show.
    I wish Pigpen, or Keith or Brent didn’t die and darn it, it sucks Jerry couldn’t play. None the less, I thank the guys for staging a show and, even if fleetingly, reminding us of some of the places we’ve been together.

  6. July 30, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I think the shows were at the least,better than fair.They all had ups & downs.I’am with Sturgis on the set lists.But they’re old and that was Jerrys job.I used to prey that Phil would sing.They say watch what you pray for you might get it.I thought Trey did a good job.Those are some big shoes to fill.And all ears are on you!Should they have called themselfs Grateful Dead, Absolutely not!!That pissed me off the most.They didn;t play anything like the Grateful Dead.The whole tix,media bullshit.Thats not the guys I followed around for decades.I was dissapointed in the band not the shows.I’d like to think Jerry would have never aloud all the bullshit.That’s my honest opion.But I still love them and will contiue to support them in everything they do.Thank you for a real” goodtime”

  7. Alaska Jimmy
    September 19, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Since the 60’s I have seen over 300 shows. (The Grateful Dead, The Dead, The Other One’s, Further, Ratdog and the Jerry Garcia Band). I went to one Santa Clara show and if I hadn’t already bought my plane ticket, tickets for all 3 Chicago shows, hotel…etc, etc, etc I would have stayed home and watched the pay per view. Short first sets, extended intermissions and mediocre second sets. These shows seemed to be more flash with a fancy stage & fireworks rather than substance. I love the GD, but I’m a realist and a sound engineer. POOOOOOOR SOUND. Short sets and an overwhelming viewpoint that we all should have given them a break because they are getting old are excuses for the stupid and brain fried. WTF???? If they didn’t want do substantive shows, then stay the fuck at home and drink your Geritol. I have all 5 shows in high quality direct from the boards and after formatting them and reworking the audio in several formats I will be uploading them to for free. Nobody should have to pay the out of bounds prices for the upcoming CD’s….I’ll give it to you for free.

  8. DeadFan69
    October 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I wish I would have read this before I dropped 200 on the BluRay discs. I was in ‘stan for the Fare Thee Well shows and last saw The Boys in June ’95. I thought it would be good to reconnect with the music via home theater but…er….well, it’s sad to resurrect a project that passed away 20 years ago. I will enjoy my videos for what they are, I suppose: a continuing adventure in a Real American Institution.

  9. Jeff Briggs
    December 22, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    downloaded the Flacs and just burned. Sound is quite muddy, vocals seem buried- great appreciation to the taper as always, but I got 07/05 and 07/04 off of etree and much better sound. don’t know what happened. will go to the archive and try something else.
    By the way I was at all three. am a 40 year deadhead with several hundred shows under my belt. Chicago was off the charts- one of the highlights of my 40 years with this band.

  10. December 22, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Its really not “great appreciation” if you post a comment for the sole purpose of criticizing the guy who lugged tons of equipment to all three shows from his home in New Orleans to Chicago, taped all three shows, and then paid for extra wifi to be able to send me the raw files to post here.

    What you’re hearing is a recording from the taper’s section made with excellent equipment and captured by Bill, one of the best tapers and best guys around. Its not what you got “off of etree”, because that was likely something that was ripped from the streaming broadcast and is pretty much illegal.

    “[W]ill go to the archive and try something else”. Make sure you post your ungrateful critiques there too.

    And for 40 years of following the band, if you thought Chicago was a highlight, you were never really listening to begin with.

  11. John
    December 23, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Music aside (I’m not a “deadhead” but I listened to these shows and found them kind of listless but excellently recorded), nyctaper’s comments are what makes all this so much fun.

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