This past summer, the Grateful Dead played a series of Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago, with Phish’s Trey Anastasio standing in for the late Jerry Garcia. These were supposedly the last Dead shows ever, and people went to enormous lengths to get into them. So when the band announced, almost immediately after those shows ended, that they’d be touring again — this time with John Mayer, of all people — some fans were understandably pissed off. To be fair, this time they’re touring without the Dead’s Phil Lesh, and they’re using the name Dead & Company rather than the Grateful Dead moniker. And if you ask John Mayer, though, it’s not that big a deal.
Talking to the Associated Press, Mayer calls himself a Deadhead and says, “I don’t know of any Deadhead in the world who said, ‘When I paid my money, I paid to see these guys finish this.'”
During a practice with Mayer, the Dead’s Bob Weir says he came together with Mayer organically, meeting him when they played together on The Late Late Show in 2011. Weir says that Mayer “was answering back, and it was fun, and more fun than I was really going to be happy about just walking away from.” And Weir also won’t “rule out the possibility” of Lesh joining the band onstage.
I don’t know. From the outside, as a non-fan, this seems like an obvious cash-grab. But then, I can’t imagine any of these people are hurting for money. And if they’re enjoying the experience and there are still people happy to pay to go see them play, is it really hurting anyone? Do these guys need to sit at home and do nothing because we want them to preserve their nebulous legacies? Let these guys cook.