Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic2015 marked the 50th anniversary of The Grateful Dead‘s formation, and the band’s surviving core members — singer/guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart — celebrated the milestone with a series of hugely successful reunion shows called the “Fare Thee Well” concerts. The group initially announced that three performances would take place at Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 3, 4 and 5, and then added gigs on June 27 and 28 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Phish singer/guitarist Trey Anastasio was tapped to step in for late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia at the shows, while one-time Dead keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti rounded out the lineup. The band announced that the July 5 concert in Chicago would be the final Grateful Dead show ever. Soldier Field was chosen as the site of the concert because it also was the last venue Garcia played with the Dead, on July 9, 1995; he died of a heart attack a month later.

Demand for tickets to the Fare Thee Well gigs was unprecedented, and they quickly sold out. However, fans unable to score tickets were given a variety of options to watch the concerts, which were screened live in theaters across the U.S., and shown as a high-definition pay-per-view broadcast online, via satellite and cable providers, and on mobile devices.

The Grateful Dead’s sold-out stand in Chicago ended up winning the 2015 Billboard Touring Awards’ Top Boxscore prize, which honors the highest-grossing single engagement by an artist. The July 3-5 run grossed $30.6 million and was attended by more than 210,000 fans.

Meanwhile, although the July 5 concert was billed as The Grateful Dead’s final show, various band members have continued to perform together at a number of other events throughout the year. Weir, Lesh, Kreutzmann and Hart all were part of the lineup of the 2015 Lockn’ Music Festival, which was held September 11-13 in Arrington, Virginia. Weir played with Kreutzmann’s new group Billy & the Kids, Lesh performed with two incarnations of his Phil Lesh & Friends collective and Hart served as curator of two percussion-heavy sets dubbed “Deep Rhythm Experience.”

Then, in the fall, Weir, Kreutzmann and Hart teamed up with pop-blues singer/guitarist John Mayer and other musicians to tour under the moniker Dead & Company. The trek got underway on October 29 in Albany, New York, and is mapped out through a December 30-31 stand in the Los Angeles area.

On another note, Lesh revealed in October that he’d undergone bladder cancer surgery earlier that month. However, Phil also reported that doctors found that the cancer hadn’t spread, and he was back on the road playing shows with Phil Lesh & Friends by the end of October. Phil will close out 2015 with a December 29-31 engagement in Port Chester, New York, where he and members of the group JRAD will perform as PhilRAD.

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