The Grateful Dead Say “Fare Thee Well” in New Orleans Style

After setting the music world abuzz this January when they announced a 50th Anniversary tour, the Grateful Dead, reunited in Chicago after a near-two decade hiatus, are gearing up to “Fare Thee Well.” For good this time, it would seem.

In a fitting curtain-close, they’ll play three shows (July 3rd, 4th, and 5th) at Soldier Field, the scene of their last show as the Dead in 1995. Before they bid us all goodnight one last time though, the Windy City is gonna get dosed. With New Orleans music, that is.

WWOZ has hit the road for “Busted on Bourbon Street: A Journey to New Orleans,” a musical pre-party in Chicago that OZ is presenting in conjunction with Dead drummer Mickey Hart.

It will feature local super stars Marc “Buddha” Balsam, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Willie Green, Tony Hall, Papa Mali, and Ivan Neville.

Strolling over to OZ’s French Quarter station well past midnight last night to discuss the shows on-air, Balsam (a master percussionist and devoted Deadhead) was ecstatic to be boarding a plane this morning to take part in the historic reunion.

“Busted on Bourbon Street” takes place Thursday, July 2, at The Metro (3730 N. Clark St., Chicago.)

Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $41, and proceeds benefit WWOZ.

Here’s a short video from OZ in which Hart, a long-time New Orleans enthusiast, explains exactly how important the city has been for American music at large and the ways in which the Crescent City sound has influenced the Dead.