Grateful Dead job no walk in park for Anastasio

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Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio admits he had some concerns when he was asked to join the Grateful Dead for their farewell shows.

He was asked by bassist Phil Lesh to join the group for their upcoming reunion concerts marking the band’s 50th anniversary.

And while he says it was “a thrill and an honour,” he was filled with some trepidation about filling in for late founding member Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995.

Anastasio tells Rolling Stone: “I thought about it for a minute, tried to think about the implications. Phil said all four of them thought it was the right thing.

“He talked about the healthy relationships between the band members and said it was going to be a real positive experience. And Phil said, ‘This is the last time I’m doing this.’ He seemed pretty definitive about that.”

The July gigs are dubbed Fare Thee Well and are on track to become the biggest concert event of the year in the US – with more than 400,000 enquiring about tickets.

Lifelong Dead fan Anastasio is excited to be filling in on guitar, despite the massive challenge presented by recreating Garcia’s parts.

He adds: “The flow of the whole thing is in my DNA. I never sat down and studied what Jerry played until the last two weeks.

“Based on the number of ideas Jerry had in any one-minute period, he was very much a musician first, a guitar player second. The music was coming out, and the guitar was a vehicle, a transparent filter.”

The concerts will take place at Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 3, 4 and 5.