Almost two years of being a band, Dead & Company makes its Chicago debut this weekend -- the first time Grateful Dead members have played at Wrigley Field. Guess the Cubs had to win the World Series first.
As you can imagine there's no shortage of hoopla, both bad and good surrounding the event.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, we're offering a quick reference for some of the other stuff that's going around town. It's actually amazing how much can get squeezed into Chicago, especially given that there are other arena shows (Red Hot Chili Peppers), stadium plays (Blake Shelton at Solider) and other concerts and festivals.
Wrigleyville has no shortage of places to eat and drink, but these in the chart below have a distinct Dead feel -- either programmed to be complimentary, or feel right nonetheless. You can catch the orange events in the daytime before the shows, or the blue in the evening after the shows. A bit more info about some of them below.
Dead & Company Eve
Lots going on Thursday night. Want to go big? Wrigley itself will host Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with Chris Stapleton.
Go small? Chicago funk band Low Spark will perform at a live one and they'll give away Dead & Company tickets to a lucky attendee.
The folk/roots side of the Dead, with a bit of Chicago flavor, will be on display at Joe's on Weed Street with Chicagoans Old Shoe and Henhouse Prowlers featuring support from with noted radio host David Gans and Clusterpuck.
For a more intense experience, try Shred is Dead with noted former Chicago guitar player Marcus Rezak will play at Emporium Arcade Bar -- progressive instrumental interpretations of the GD. Forgotten Space will do the more traditional Dead cover thing at Martyrs'.
Right across the street from Wrigley, Cubby Bear will host a free art show produced by PhanArt from 12 to 5 on Friday. It will showcase art and products from many inspiring artists.
If you'll be closer to downtown, check out Holly Bowling whose solo piano renditions of Grateful Dead (and Phish) songs have become their own thing. She performs daytime shows both Friday and Saturday.
Chicago's Mr. Blotto will grace the new Park at Wrigley for an outdoor performance that is free for ticketholders on Saturday.
And a pair of festivals Live On Lincoln (close-to-Wrigley) and Fitzgerald's American Music Festival (not-so-close) will also provide daytime live music on Saturday. They continue into Sunday with top-notch talent (including a jam heavy lineup for Live On Lincoln) for your "day after" fix.
On Friday, Steve Kimock makes a Chicago appearance backed by Reed Mathis & Electric Beethoven just a stone's throw from Wrigley at the venerable Metro, while Metro's sister bar G-Man Tavern (a few doors down) has a pair of interesting post-show events. Friday: a Grateful Disco event called PROMISE LAND. Saturday: a group of Dead-cover band vets coming together as Cats Down Under Wrigleyville.
South on Clark street is HVAC. Friday, former JGB organist Melvin Seals joins Chicago tribute juggernaut Terrapin Flyer at the relatively new club. Saturday promises more fireworks, with local guitar slinger Joe Marcinek hosting a superjam of sorts with members of The Neville Brothers, Soulive, Dumpstaphunk, and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. While the Melvin show is sold out, you can still catch him on a freaking yacht on Saturday afternoon.
Two more shows round out Saturday. The biggest post-show is Pink Talking Fish, who combine covers of three different bands (guess who) and have been known to work in some Dead on occasion. They will perform post-show at The Vic Theater. Meanwhile, on the smaller side, hile TV favorites Genome will funk up Lincoln Park's Tonic Room.