Grateful Dead get farewell from Obama

US president Barack Obama paid tribute to the Grateful Dead just before they played their last-ever show.

He spoke of the late Jerry Garcia and his colleagues’ cultural contribution as they brought their career to an end in Chicago over the weekend.

Surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir bowed out on Sunday after three final appearances to mark their 50th anniversary.

Obama said: “Here’s to 50 years of the Grateful Dead – an iconic American band that embodies the creativity, passion, and ability to bring people together that makes American music so great.

“Enjoy this weekend’s celebration of your fans and legacy. And as Jerry would say, ‘Let there be songs to fill the air.’”

In another salute, the Empire State Building was lit up in sync with the Dead’s performance of US Blues in Chicago. Their set included material from throughout their career, and it was the only time they’d ever played 80s and 90s music alongside material from the 60s and 70s.

The Fare Thee Well shows – with some tickets sold for as much as $10,000 – were recorded with a release planned for November.

The Grateful Dead final setlist

Shakedown Street (1978)

Liberty (1999)

Standing on the Moon (1989)

Me and My Uncle (1971)

Tennessee Jed (1972)

Cumberland Blues (1970)

Little Red Rooster (1981)

Friend of the Devil (1970)

Deal (1971)

Bird Song (1981)

The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) (1967)

Lost Sailor (1980)

Saint of Circumstance (1980)

West LA Fadeaway (1987)

Foolish Heart (1989)

Stella Blue (1973)

One More Saturday Night (1972)

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.