Oh “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” For 50 years, the Grateful Dead have entertained audiences with their live splendor and inimitable virtuosity, despite the untimely death of their legendary frontman, Jerry Garcia, in 1995.
In July, the band will reconvene at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. for three final performances dubbed “Fare Thee Well.” Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart have enlisted the help of Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, pianist Bruce Hornsby, and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti to send off the band in proper fashion.
On Saturday, March 28, Grateful Dead archivist, Nicholas Meriwether will be the keynote speaker at Fairfield University’s third annual American Studies Conference and will discuss the legacy of the Grateful Dead from the 1960’s to today as well as the various aspects that surround the Grateful Dead archive. Meriwether founded the Grateful Dead archive at the University of California-Santa Cruz and has written many dissertations on the Grateful Dead including “Studying the Dead,
An Informal History of the Grateful Dead Scholars Caucus” and “All Graceful Instruments: The Contexts of the Grateful Dead Phenomenon.”
The return of the Grateful Dead to live music is significant in that the counterculture of the 1960s is merging with the present and allowing for a whole new generation of “Deadheads” to experience the live bliss of the Grateful Dead. While the band has existed in various incarnations that range from Furthur to the Rhythm Devils, this is the first time since 1995 that the band has played together under the name of the Grateful Dead.
The talk is part of a whole conference that revolves around the theme of “Race, Protest, and American Culture.”
Dr. Philip Eliasoph, art professor at Fairfield University, helped chair a four-day conference this past November regarding the Grateful Dead and has helped to bring the influence of the Grateful Dead to the campus community through the passionate Nicholas Meriwether. To these gentlemen, the impact of the Grateful Dead in our present culture is profound.
The conference will take place Saturday, March 28 from 12-6 p.m. at the Aloysius P. Kelley Center and will feature presentations from undergraduates, graduates, and alumni.
Meriwether’s speech will take place at 4pm with a following reception at 5:15 p.m., featuring The Phantom Pluckers, a band organized by Fairfield University professor, Brian Torff. Registration is free.